It is officially summertime and for many people that means fun in the sun, vacations and travel. While many people give little thought to preparations beyond the basics like transportation, lodging and entertainment, people with neurological conditions have to put a bit more thought into their travel plans. With some planning, there is no reason why those with neurological conditions cannot enjoy their travel adventures just as much as anyone else.
Nearly one in every six people suffer from a neurological condition today. From epilepsy and Multiple Sclerosis to stroke and dementia and everything in between, people from all walks of life are experiencing the effects of daily life with a neurological condition. With many more avenues for treatment available today, they are also living happy, active and productive lives, and that includes many adventures away from home. Different types of travel can mean different types of preparation but there are some strategies that can help anyone who has a neurological condition to consider. To ensure you get the most out of your trip, here are some things to keep in mind.
When in the planning stages, make an appointment to visit with your doctor before heading out of town. In addition to discussing any adjusting or ensuring medications are up to date, you can talk about the specifics of your travel needs. For example, those with multiple sclerosis, or any condition where heat can make symptoms worse, weather preparation, how to avoid overheating or what to do in case you get overheated are all valuable bits of knowledge. Also, ask if your doctor knows any doctors or hospitals where you will be traveling in case of emergency.
Research! We have tons of information at our fingertips now and there are many resources available online with resources aimed at travel for those with disabilities. The Society for Accessible Travel and Hospitality and the Disabled Travelers Guide to the World are just two sites with extensive lists of travel sites. Call ahead to airlines, buses, hotels, restaurants, etc.. to discuss logistics and reserve options for special needs. The US State Department even provides a travel checklist with accessibility information for many countries on their website.
Travel with friends or family. That support group may be more than just a fun travel partner if you find yourself in need of help along the way. Be sure to pack all your important paperwork, medications and devices you might need. Although many airlines have things like wheelchairs available for guests, it never hurts to be prepared. If you are flying, signing up for a pre-check can be well worth the application. And finally, be sure to allow some extra time wherever you are going. All the planning will go a long way towards making sure that your trip is the best it can be.