Whatever your arthritis, be it osteoarthritis or rheumatoid, don’t let it put you off taking that much needed holiday. There’s plenty to get organised for any trip, let alone when you have a medical condition, so we’ve pulled together some useful travel tips to set you on your way.
Flying with arthritis
If you use a wheelchair or find it hard to walk the long distances at airports, these ideas could make life easier:
- Fly direct – If possible, book yourself a non-stop flight to your destination. It may cost you a little more but you’ll save yourself the effort of getting on and off more than one aircraft and rushing to make connecting flights.
- Use the shuttles and transport carts – You may want to consider pre-booking mobility assistance to help you get around the airport. Make use of the airport’s shuttle cart service – that way you won’t feel tired before you even start your journey.
- Pay extra to board the plane early – By adding priority boarding to your booking you will be among the first to get settled on the plane before the other passengers arrive – and you’ll avoid the long queues at the gate.
- Stretch your legs – At check-in ask for an aisle seat so you can take a walk in the cabin without disturbing other passengers in your row.
Getting through airport security with arthritis
- Medical implants and replacement joints – Speak to your doctor and ask for a note confirming any implants/joint replacements. Your doctor should also advise whether it’s safe for you to walk through a metal detector. If unsafe, tell security staff and they’ll give you a pat-down inspection instead.
Where to holiday with arthritis
- The weather – If you have the luxury of being flexible on destination, consider the weather before you book. Depending on your type of arthritis, you may feel more discomfort in cold, wet conditions than in excessive heat and high humidity… or vice versa.
- Accommodation – Choosing accommodation close to local restaurants, shops and the beach will help to cut down on long walks that you’re likely to make more than once. A hotel with a swimming pool is ideal for cooling off and reducing any inflammation, whilst a hot tub is perfect for soothing aching joints after a day’s sightseeing!
- Lightweight luggage with wheels and padded handles
- Medications and/or injections (plus extra in case of loss, damage or flight delays) and a doctor’s list of medications you take along with dosages
- Travel-size heat and cool packs for any flare-ups
- Aids such as crutches, reachers and canes can come in handy on holiday, even if you don’t tend to use them at home
- Travel insurance providing cover for your arthritis