Traveling with the family has never been easy, but now's the time to find ways to simplify! You don't have to give up your yearly treks to the campground or Disney World if you initiate some good planning strategies. In fact, any cherished family routines should be encouraged when possible. Making new memories is an important part of family life. Make sure you talk to your neurologist before making plans; she may have some good advice or concerns to share with you, too.
If you're looking for tips when traveling with young kids, check out The Rough Guide to Travel with Babies & Young Children. The book includes a variety of tips, including coping with road trips and plane travel, health concerns, entertaining kids on the road, and cultural issues. You'll find some great ways to save energy — and your sanity.
Before you head off to Yosemite, there are a few things you'll need to think about, such as what to do with your MS medications and how you can make traveling a bit easier for yourself. Here are a few good tips to consider:
Traveling with disease-modifying therapy medication can be tricky these days, so be sure to plan ahead. A doctor's note explaining that you have MS is useful in certain situations, especially getting through security with needles in your carryon luggage. Keep your meds in their original containers. Bring enough medication along to last you an extra week in case your stay is extended. Bring along the original prescription label and a photo ID that matches the name on the prescription.
Pack all of your medications in a carry-on bag. If any of your medications need to be refrigerated, ice packs in an insulated lunch pouch do a good job.
Your neurologist may give you a prescription for steroids in case you have an exacerbation while traveling. This is a good thing to consider requesting before you leave.
Use a travel agent to ensure safe travel. If mobility is an issue, a good travel agent can help you arrange for accessible flights and hotels. You don't want to leave anything to chance. There are travel agents that specialize in travel for folks with disabilities, too.
Flying is fraught with its own discomforts: cancelled planes, long delays, and layovers. Be realistic when booking your flight. Two layovers can make for a long day. Request an aisle seat so you can stand up and stretch or use the bathroom when you need to.
If you're headed somewhere new, research your destination. Know the average temperature for the time of year in which you're traveling. Some countries have laws pertaining to disability, but many do not. It's important to know what to expect. Make sure your hotel has air conditioning if you're headed somewhere warm.
Plan your activities carefully. Don't put yourself in a situation that you can't get out of, such as sitting in a boat under a blazing sun for eight hours. Bring along a commercial cooling vest, wear light-colored clothing, and try to plan your trip during the coolest season of the year, if possible.
Use your time wisely. It's important to schedule rest breaks during the day to conserve your energy. Have a “Top Five” list of the things you'd most like to do on vacation so you're not tempted to plan too many activities.
Families that live with MS sometimes have more than their share of issues to contend with, but education, support, and planning can ease a lot of your concerns. Kids are known to be resilient, but careful attention to their emotional health is a good way to assess their well-being and keep the family on track. Creative parenting is your greatest resource; it's one way to overcome some of the limitations some folks contend with and provides you with the opportunity to find new ways to do old things.