7 Wellness Tips for Holidaying with a Physical Disability
A physical disability never takes a holiday — but you can still enjoy the vacation of your dreams. You just need to do a bit of extra planning.
You want to make the most of your time away, so start prepping for your trip a few weeks in advance. By making a list, checking it twice and arranging for modifications, you can ensure a relaxing getaway that's as hassle-free as possible.
1. Talk to Your Doctor Ahead of Time
Depending on the specific disability you suffer from, certain activities can exacerbate your condition. For example, those with a history of concussions or traumatic brain injury require a written release from their physician before they may participate in deep-sea diving.
Additionally, if you're flying, talk to your doctor about your prescriptions. Certain injectable medications such as those for Crohn's and rheumatoid arthritis require special travel cases for safe transport. While you will want to pack prescriptions in your carry-on bag, you can request extras if you worry about losing valuable pills during transport.
2. Make Arrangements with the Airline
Airports can prove tricky for those with physical disabilities. Even if you don't normally use a wheelchair, you may need to do so to tolerate the security line if you suffer from something like postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS).
Call your airline in advance to make arrangements for accommodations. For example, you'll want to pass on sitting in the emergency exit aisle if you can't physically assist others in an evacuation. You might also want an aisle seat to make getting to the restroom less problematic.
3. Select a Disabled-Friendly Destination
Some cruise lines and entertainment venues go the extra mile to show inclusion toward those with physical disabilities. Patronise these destinations if possible, as it shows you support their mission.
For example, the Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas cruise ship features accessible cabins with wide doors and no sills. Taking the kiddos along? Some places offer wheelchairs for rent and sensory rooms for those with autism spectrum disorders.
4. Pack Needed Items in Advance
Nearly every traveller knows the frustration of arriving at their destination without important items, like their toothbrush. But when you have a disability, forgetting an aid can mean a disappointing trip.
Pack any needed items well in advance. If you use a hearing aid, for example, pack extra batteries with you, especially if you're traveling overseas where finding replacements could prove difficult. Carry spare contact lenses and other visual aids, too. And make sure that you pack sufficient medication for your trip.
5. Maintain a Healthy Diet
You're on holiday, so you want to indulge in the occasional treat. And that's okay! However, too much fried or fatty food can leave you with tummy trouble.
Strive to make your breakfast and lunch healthy and high in vegetables in fruits. Let yourself indulge at dessert at dinner — after all, you're on vacation — but practice moderation to feel your best.
6. Get Some Exercise While Away
You don't need to join a gym while you're away, but you can pack some resistance bands in your luggage to help you take mild exercise on your holiday. To alleviate pain, experts recommend a balance of cardio, strength training and flexibility. If you can walk, try to do so daily, and take five minutes upon waking and before resting to stretch. Many hotel pools have mobility chairs to help you do some aquatic exercise if you're chair-bound.
7. Give Yourself Buffer Days
The rigors of travel can tax you if you have a disability. If possible, give yourself an extra day off after you return to recover. Use this time to do laundry, prep healthy meals and simply get some rest. Nap if need be, but try to return to good sleep hygiene techniques by going to bed at your usual hour.
Everyone needs to get away sometimes, especially when they face physical challenges. By preparing in advance, you can enjoy a lovely getaway regardless of physical limitations!
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Author: Kate Harveston, Health & Lifestyle Journalist.
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