If you are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), it shouldn’t stop you doing the things that you enjoy. If you like to travel, why stop now? As long as you’re willing to plan ahead, take good care of yourself on the journey, and be flexible and creative once you’re there, you can still fulfil your travel dreams!
Travel can help top up your energy levels. Being away from the daily routine and doing something new can make a massive difference to your well-being.
The following tips on travelling with MS can help you conserve energy and save time and hassle. The main point to remember is that good preparation is vital for a successful holiday. Talking to your doctor about your plans as well as a realistic self-evaluation of your own personal health is important.
Travel insurance Multiple Sclerosis – cover and benefits
It is important to ensure you have specialist travel insurance, that covers your condition. At AllClear, we specialise in providing MS travel insurance. With our MS travel insurance, you will receive the following cover and much more:
- Medical expenses up to £10 million
- Cancellation cover up to £5,000 (Gold Plus policies)
- Personal property up to £2,500 (Gold Plus policies)
- 2 levels of travel insurance cover available
Policy details correct as of March 2012. We recommend that you read the Policy Wording for full details of our MS Travel insurance
Tips for Travelling with Multiple Sclerosis
- Preparation: Spend a little time scouting on the Internet for accessible options — whether it is a safari to Africa or a European tour. Don’t assume that you can’t do something because of your MS - just take the time to research it carefully.
- Pace yourself: You know your body better than anyone. And remember, you don't have to do everything in the guidebooks for your holiday to be called a success. Choose activities wisely and build in recovery time
- Take advantage of breaks. Seek shade, drink some ice cold drinks, and take a breather when you can.
- Dealing with heat:Two-thirds of people with MS suffer from heat intolerance – so if this applies to you consider avoiding countries with a hot or humid climate. Also, long periods of sunbathing can cause problems.
- Physical performance can fall significantly with heat. If possible, avoid rapid changes in climate. But everyone reacts differently. Therefore, your personal experience of your condition should be the basis of the decision on where you
- On road trips, take an ice chest with ice and bottled water.
- Vaccinations: Talk to your doctor well ahead of your departure date about any necessary vaccinations. In general, vaccinations should not be given during an acute relapse or steroid treatment.
- Planning: Book early if possible - the supply of special accommodation may be limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
- Arrange travel insurance: You will need to ensure you obtain specialist MS travel insurance, which covers you for your condition.
- Flying/Transport: Tell your airline of your needs in advance - airlines can arrange a wheelchair or special transport for use in the airport. Aircraft will carry standard size wheelchairs free of charge. Battery-powered chairs may need to be dismantled for carriage and assembly instructions should be with the chair.
- Some transport providers may require a ‘fitness to travel’ note from your doctor
- If your schedule permits, allow a little extra time between connecting flights so you’re not rushed from one gate to the next.
- Medication: Check that you have enough medication to last for the duration of your trip. If you carry your medication in your hand luggage, have relevant medical certification with it. Certain medication needs to be stored in a refrigerator - Arrange this with the hotel while you are staying there.
- For air travel, medication must be in their original containers provided by your pharmacist.
- Some airports have stringent security standards. So it is a good idea to have a doctor’s note certifying that you are on injectable prescription medication.
- Consider renting a wheelchair to take with you: even if you do not normally use a wheelchair but have some difficulty with walking or easily tire, it can be a good idea to take one with you. It will give you much greater flexibility while away.
- If you use a cane, consider taking a folding cane with you on your travels. It’s much easier to stow when you’re seated
- Hotel: Check that your hotel is suitable - Does it have wheelchair access if you need it? Is your room on the ground floor if you have difficulty with stairs and there is no lift? Does it have specially accessible rooms and can you book one of these?
- View your accommodation online before you make reservations. Note stairs, pool access, restrooms, exercise room, etc. Have questions? E-mail or call.
- What if you get ill? If your condition is exacerbated whilst you are away, seek medical evaluation, preferably by a neurologist. However, if you have a predictable response to steroids and you’ll be travelling in an area where medical help might not be available, your physician may give you a prescription for a brief (12 weeks) supply of oral prednisone to take with you just in case.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help: Give a stranger the opportunity to help you while you travel. Ask for directions. Get a restaurant recommendation and ask them to advise you on dietary restrictions. Let someone assist you
with your bags.
Sources of information on travelling with Multiple sclerosis:
Thanks to the following websites for information gathered on this page:
You can also take a look at the The Access-Able Travel Source for detailed information about travelling with a disability.