Welcome to the third blog post in the PossesstheWorld.com Travelling with a Chronic Illness series.
Living with a chronic illness can be challenging in ways that many of us never even think about. Just imagine how challenging that can make travelling.
We asked a group of travellers and bloggers about their illness, challenges and travel tips.
By sharing the stories of travellers with chronic illness we hope that you will find inspiration, travel tips and resources which might help you or someone you know to experience the wonderful world of travel.
You can read more about health and travel in the HEALTH section of this website, just click on the link.
Without further ado, let’s introduce our third Traveller-Aireona from the Nightborn Travel blog.
The Nightborn Travel blog provides responsible travel guides for seeing nature and learning about history around the world.
Aireona recently graduated with a PhD, proof that even with anxiety and other chronic conditions, you can live your dreams!
Aireona is now working to establish her blog as her career, she is currently writing and exploring options to provide ecotourism consulting.
She travels both with friends and solo, her travels have seen her visit New Zealand, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and South Korea.
How does your chronic illness affect your life and travel?
I have a few different issues that I am dealing with, but the main ones are migraines with auras, anxiety, and chronic ulcerative proctitis.
Of these, anxiety is the biggest hurdle for me, especially because it makes the other two worse. Unfortunately, unlike many travel bloggers that I see out there, traveling doesn’t make my anxiety go away. If anything, being on the road makes me feel more anxious.
Anyone with migraines also knows that travel can be difficult, and I have had to develop a few different methods of coping with them when I am outside of my comfort zone.
Luckily, my digestive problems have been a part of my life for so long, I can usually deal with them, but the real stress there is having to deal with getting the needlessly expensive medication that I need here in the US.
Kind of seems like the cards are stacked against me when it comes to traveling! But despite how hard it can be sometimes with occasional anxiety attacks, migraines, and digestive hiccups, I am just so passionate about exploring that I insist on finding ways to take care of myself so that I can get out in the world.
Are there any special considerations you take when travelling?
I don’t use any apps or anything like that to manage my conditions while traveling or at home, but I have a few suggestions for fellow travelers with any of these conditions or other medical hurdles.
Are there any travel tips you would like to share?
First off, plan ahead! This is advice that you get all the time, but I have to say it anyway.
Make sure that you have your meds with you, and try to have an idea of what you will do if any of your normal problems arise. For me, this means keeping my prescriptions with me as well as over the counter stuff like Advil, Excedrin and Imodium. But it also means thinking about what I will need to do, and what resources will be available if something goes wrong.
Second, do have travel insurance. It really isn’t that expensive if you shop around, and it helps put my mind at ease while I am out there. There are also plenty of stories about how important travel insurance is, so even if you aren’t an anxious person, it is good to have.
Finally, and most importantly, for travelers with chronic conditions, remember, put yourself first. Prioritize your happiness and your health. I have had lots of people express doubt about my travels because of my health issues (and being female). But only I know what I am capable of, and the same goes for you. No matter what other people think, if you want to travel, do it.
On the other hand, I have also traveled with people who are really uneducated about what living with chronic illness is like, and I have had to be really insistent with them when I need to take a break or make special arrangements for myself.
Sometimes this is really hard, and can even make me feel a little weak, but it is always important to make your health number one, even if that might be disappointing to your travel partner.
Traveling doesn’t solve my chronic conditions, but any extra challenges that I face while being on the road are worth the adventure.
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If you would like any information relating to this post please contact us or leave a message below.
If you would like more information about any of the conditions in this post you can contact:
beyondblue- Australian Depression and Anxiety organisation
The American Anxiety and Depression Association- ADAA
If you would like to add further resources to share with others please contact us to do so.
You can read more articles about Staying fit and Healthy while you travel in the HEALTH section of this website.
These links are not paid or sponsored, they are a trusted credible resource researched by the author.
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I love this series, so empowering! And I think it’s incredible that Aireona continues to travel and follow her passion without letting anything get in her way. Great post.
Hi Erica, we agree Aireona is a wonderful inspiration for other people
Wow…. good for you! I get migraines occasionally but certainly not to this extent. I do however always have my meds when I travel to just in case. Esepcially when I’m jet lagged, not slept enough or simple over indulging on food can trigger headaches for me. Well done on managing it and continue to pursue a life of travel!
Hi Amy, thanks for reading and sharing your own experience
You’ve wrote a very interesting article. We have read something about this kind of topic and for people who have similar illnesses this post will be very helpful. Thanks for sharing!!
Hi, thanks for reading and commenting. We hope sharing stories does help destigmatise mental health challenges
I love the insight that this series gives! Much respect to those who travel despite their hardships
Hi Elijah, thanks for reading and commenting. It is so true much respect to those who share their story to empower others
This is a very important thing to think and talk about. I also have a chronic disease and i need to be more careful, specially during the flights. But, i learned to live like this and everything is ok know 😉
Hi Catarina, thanks for reading and sharing your own experience. We would love to hear more about your story, if you would like to share please send us an email to feature in this series too
This is really great to hear! I too suffer from different issues I cannot resolve such as horrible digestive issues. With these issues, I always have to be cautious of where a bathroom is located to ensure I can get there when I can. Or making sure I don’t eat things that will set it off. I’m glad this story was able to be told.
Hi Marquita, thanks for your comments and for reading. I have been thinking about writing a post about women and finding a toilet as it is not only for IBS but for some of us older women, it is urinary incontinence. Would you be interested in writing about your experience?
Hi, I read the articles about traveling with a chronic illness. They were interesting and informative. I do have a question around travel insurance. How did you manage coverage with a pre existing medical condition. I’m just starting to investigate. I have always been covered with Covermore. They have been amazing in the past. With my chronic illness they won’t insure me. Thoughts?
I’ve been looking forward to reading this as I also have some chronic ailments that I have to plan around when travelling. Like Aireona, one of my problems is migraines, these are often debilitating and I know I may lose an entire day or more if a really bad one hits. And I also have suffered from chronic IBS in years past, though miraculously, it’s been far more reduced in the last few years. I make sure I have any necessary medications with me, in my hand luggage during flights rather than in checked luggage, just in case. I make sure I pay attention to the warning signs as taking meds earlier on helps to reduce the severity of a migraine for me. I also build extra time into our itineraries now so that if we lose a few hours or even a whole day, we don’t miss out quite as much. That isn’t possible for every destination, but it helps to have some slower travel between the occasional single night stops.
Hi Kavita, thanks for reading and your insightful comments. We would love to share some of your tips for travelling slower to deal with your health challenges. Let us know if you would like to be involved
This is such an interesting post – Such an empowering series you’ve created! It is such an important topic and I have no doubt that this post will help many people struggling with similar illnesses.
Hi Alice, thank you for reading and your comments. There is lots of evidence that sharing stories can be therapeutic for both those sharing and reading, we would love it if you could share this with your family and friends.