Travelling with Fibromyalgia

One of my first fears after getting ill was whether it would change how I travelled. Chloe and I love exploring new cities on long weekend breaks and I didn’t want my illness to ruin that. But all I could think about was how tired I would probably be, or how much my hip would hurt. I just didn’t want to ruin our time away exploring and adventuring together.

Since I have been ill, we have been on two long weekend breaks, Copenhagen and Krakow. Both was complete successes, although I was a little symptomatic in Krakow.

My top tip has to be to travel at a time or day that works best for you; for me that is early morning. I like to get up early (say 4 or 5am) to travel to the airport (1.5hr journey) and catch an 8am flight. This means I can arrive in a new city, dump my bags off at the hotel or Airbnb and explore the city. I find I am most productive earlier on in the day and travelling this way makes the most of that. A typical first day on holiday for us will be 8am flight, get into the city around midday, afternoon of exploring, early dinner and then back to our accommodation to chill and get an early night. I can usually stick to my sleep routine and get up nice and early to enjoy our second (and usually only full day).

But if you are someone who struggles in the mornings, book a midday flight or someone who is exhausted from air travel then book an evening flight to allow yourself to best make use of the time you have.

Another thing I have found useful is to plan your trip. Have a look online and see what there is to do so you can plan and fit it into the time you have. I usually plan one big thing a day followed by strolling around or shopping to allow myself to go at my own pace and not rush to cram it all in. Chloe says I am the queen of planning but it really does help! It also means we avoid wandering back and forth all over a city because we didn’t realise something we wanted to do was near the place we were earlier.

Another biggie and probably more linked to being vegan than my fibro but always travel with snacks and water! Most airports have water filling taps the other side of security so take your reusable bottle with you to fill up. The same as most countries have no limit on how much ‘dry’ food you can bring through security. Having snacks with me helps aliviate some of the stress I get travelling as a vegan – krakow airport was a perfect example, other than pringles and oreos there were no vegan food options. Less stress means less chance of a flare up. Good things to bring are protein/cereal bars, nuts and seeds, fruit etc.

Next has to be dress appropriately for the weather or how you respond to the weather. At the moment, I really feel the cold so when travelling Copenhagen even at the beginning of October, I wore a winter coat, hat, scarf and gloves. I didn’t care that maybe I looked a little over dressed because I was warm. The same when we went to Krakow, it might have been 6 degrees (so not as cold as it could have been) but it felt freezing – I had thermal leggings on under my jeans, underlayers, jumpers, long socks as well as a thick winter coat, hat, scarf and gloves.

My final tip would be to go when the weather is best for you, I’d say it being 6 degrees in Krakow and spending a whole day at Auschwitz exposed to it all was probably too much for me. After that day my knee swelled up and gave me a little bit of trouble.

Travelling when chronically ill can be challenging but please do not let it stop you. Go and see the world, explore all it has to offer. We get one chance in life, don’t limit yourself. In one way or another you will be able to do it.

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