To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.Bill Bryson
Mr. Twitchy and I love to travel and see new places. Last December we decided it was time to start getting out again and took a cruise to Antarctica. We just returned home 2 days ago from a week long vacation with our family in Montana. We find traveling invigorating, and we have learned many tricks over the years to make travel easier for us as we get older.
After 2 years of staying at home, it seems that everyone else is also traveling this summer, making up for lost time during the Pandemic. Several people have asked me for travel tips for People with Parkinson’s. I have written about traveling with PD several times in the past, so some of this might sound familiar to many of you.
Meds while Traveling
This is by far the most common concern about traveling.
Since timing of our meds is so important, time changes while traveling can throw us off. What works for me is that I try to stay on my home medication schedule the day of travel. If you are traveling several time zones east, you may need to add an extra dose of Carbidopa/Levodopa to get you through the day. Traveling west, adjust accordingly, maybe skipping a C/L in the late afternoon, early evening. I take my night time meds at bedtime and then start the next day with my normal medication schedule, according to the local time zone. I always take 2 weekly medication boxes prefilled. One with Morning medications, the other with nighttime meds. I can set the alarm on my watch or phone to remind me to take the meds I need in between (usually just C/L). You should also carry a few extra doses with you when out touring for the day, just in case.
In addition, when I travel, I ALWAYS take my Aware in Care kit from the Parkinson’s Foundation. I pack all of my prescription medication bottles in the bag along with the prepacked AM and PM meds. NEVER put it in your checked luggage. You can’t take a chance on it getting lost.
What do you do if you do not have enough to get you through your trip? It is difficult to refill a prescription more than a few days before the refill date. Call your pharmacy and ask to get a vacation refill to get you through the extra number of days. You may have to contact your insurance company to get authorization. Alternatively, ask your doctor to give you a new prescription that you can have filled while you are traveling. I know that in the US, I have gone to a Walgreens or CVS while traveling to refill a prescription when needed. I am not sure if this will work outside of your home country. Again, check with your insurance company.
Walking Poles, Canes, Walkers
If you need an assistive device for walking, check the TSA website before flying to make sure you can take it on the airplane. This is a great website if you have questions about any medical devices that you need to take with you. Since I fractured my shoulder, I have been taking one walking pole to use at the airport as a cane. Because TSA does not allow you to take a pair of walking poles on board an airline, I can take the second one apart and put it in my suitcase. With a walking pole or cane, you can take advantage of preboarding the plane without being questioned. Same with a walker. If you have difficulty walking, wheelchairs are available near check-in at every airline. Call ahead to arrange for wheelchair assitance if you can.
There are two other reasons to take your walking poles with you when you travel. First, there are often cobblestone streets and sidewalks in many cities’ historic districts. Using even one pole or a cane will help prevent tripping and falls. Second, if you plan to do any hiking at your destination, walking poles are a must to help you get up and down steep paths.
Taking your phone with you? This article from the Wall Street Journal today has a lot of information about how you can save money on calls while traveling. Make sure that you set it up before your trip so that you do not have expensive unwanted charges for your phone.
Do you have any travel tips you would like to share with us? Please send to firstname.lastname@example.org
Enjoy the rest of your summer.
For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.Robert Louis Stevenson