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The Ultimate Travel Checklist for MSers

The Ultimate Travel Checklist for MSers

I love to travel. It makes no matter if the trip is regional, national, or international. It makes no matter if the trip is via bicycle, car, train, boat, or plane. Business or pleasure, exploring a new place or revisiting an old one is part of my DNA. It’s compulsory. I. Must. Travel.

Yet, preparing for trips can be stressful for me because I tend to worry quite a bit during the days, nights, and hours leading up to departure. Mostly, I niggle about remembering all the things I have to do before I jet out. For example, I may worry about what to pack (did I pack an umbrella? Is it even going to rain? Will a rain jacket suffice?), setting the alarm if I’m taking a dreadful 6AM flight (I’ve been known to double, triple check the clock), or charging my phone (do I have enough battery power to get a Lyft when I arrive at my destination?). To minimize these worries, I utilize a fairly comprehensive travel checklist.

Introducing “The Ultimate Travel Checklist for MSers”

This checklist is arranged in several sections yet really consists of two main parts. First, the pre-planning (the “before leaving stuff to do”) and the actual packing list. I compartmentalize fairly well so my list sections out medicine, health and beauty, electronics, clothing, documents, etc.


Download a printable copy


Because I’m a list maker and love taking pen to paper to emphatically check things off as I complete stuff, the format of “The Ultimate Travel Checklist for MSers” works particularly well for me; each task is preceded with a check box. Arranged a cat sitter? Check the box. Feelings of complete satisfaction ensue. Packed an umbrella? Check the box. No more stress. Bonus? It’s just 2 pages so no straggling papers to get lost as I get ready for a trip. I simply print and carry the checklist around with me as I grab my stuff, checking off boxes as I go. Sometimes I tape the checklist to the bedroom door or bathroom mirror and work from there.

The Benefits of “The Ultimate Travel Checklist for MSers”

There are a few benefits to having and using a checklist before leaving town. I find that using “The Ultimate Travel Checklist for MSers” helps with the following:

  • It reduces stress. As we all know, stress is no bueno for those of us living with Multiple Sclerosis. With travel comes stress, with stress comes possible MS flare-ups*, with a flare-up comes feeling really, really badly. Hopefully, you will find that using a list like this will help minimize the stress of preparing for a trip and make for feeling good while you’re away.
  • It conserves energy. For me, stressing out takes up a lot of my energy. I need as many spoons as possible and I find that using this travel checklist reserves some energy for the fun stuff – traveling and exploring!
  • It makes for a better night’s sleep. Completing this checklist helps give me a more restful slumber before heading out on my next adventure which, in turn, sometimes helps alleviate my symptoms (e.g. fatigue, brain fog, etc.). I find that if I get a good night’s sleep, I’m better focused for a big travel day.

Download and Customize “The Ultimate Travel Checklist for MSers”

Would you like to have a copy of this checklist? Download it by clicking the button “Download a Printable Copy” above. This checklist is tailored to what I pack and it is very likely that you would want to adjust this to suit your specific needs. I invite you to download this, review it, and adjust accordingly, especially the “medical” tasks as we all have different prescriptions to manage and organize. Make this your own. It may be that some things to add to the “before leaving” section include a lot of research in advance for accessibility options, how to deal with a wheelchair or other specialized equipment, pre-boarding routines, care partner needs, and more. Simply add these important tasks to your own traveling checklist. And, as things change, just update. I am constantly retouching mine.

  • Bonus Tip – consider using packing cubes. I do and I absolutely love them. I find them super useful because I can keep like items together (great in minimizing frustrations in trying to find things) and compress everything for suitcase space savings.

Of course, there may be many things missing from this list. What are some things included in your travel checklist? What should be added to “The Ultimate Travel Checklist for MSers”? Let us know. We’d love to hear from you.

In the meanwhile, whether you are heading out on a Caribbean cruise, wine tasting through Napa Valley, climbing the ice packs of Patagonia, or taking a business trip, safe travels!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • georgi54
    7 months ago

    We travel with a 5th wheel rv and I have a printable list on my laptop that I can update whenever I need to. It’s nice to have the Master list to start with. But I can still overdo and wear myself out without really trying. I should be able to do that right? Wrong. On this last trip I ended up getting sick right before we left and missed some of the family reunion festivities that I really wanted to attend. Just couldn’t do it, I was sick in bed. So even with a good list, DON’T OVERDO so that you miss out on your trip!

  • Shelby Comito moderator
    7 months ago

    So important to remember! Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and experience and taking the time to help others here. – Shelby, Team Member

  • Karen M.
    8 months ago

    Do you have an editable copy of this form? I cannot make any changes to it, because I don’t have Adobe Acrobat. Do you have the original file in another editable format (MS Word, etc.) that you could post or email to me so I can make the necessary changes to make it *my* list? Thanks!

  • Bettybeem
    2 years ago

    Thank you for the terrific travel list! How timely it is as I leaving from Houston tomorrow to attend a Princeton University Ensemble Workshop at the University of Denver. This is my 3rd year participating in this incredible program. Sidney and Ladybug, my 2 chihuahuas, are my co-pilots. I feel driving is a better option than trying to fly with my violin, my stand, all my music supplies, stuff for the suite in the dorm we’re staying in(like bath mats for bathroom floor). After careful planning the first time, I’ve figured a safe way to drive there. We leave in the morning, travel a couple of hours, take a break, travel a couple of hours, eat lunch, travel a couple of hours, take a break, travel a little further, stop for the evening. The next day is not quite as long as we stop in Raton, NM, on Wednesday where we stay until Sunday. Why? It’s higher than Denver. It’s cooler than Denver. It has less traffic than Denver so it’s easier to get use to a more rugged terrain. This allows my violin and bow to get acclimated, also. I have found a delightful motel which has enormous rooms so that I can set up my stand and all my music supplies, and not have to put things up until I leave. I have time for uninterrupted practice here which I don’t have at home. When I take breaks, the pups and I go for walks. On Saturday I wash all the travel clothes. On Sunday we drive the 200 miles into Denver with plenty of time for the pups to meet the family they’ll be staying with and for me to arrive for our 3 PM check in. Traffic going into Denver is very light on the weekend before the 4th of July. It’s quite heavy going out of Denver. The pups have their own Denver bag with their food, treats, toys, and health info and documents, etc. I pack a larger 2nd bag for the workshop. Not only do I have clothes for rehearsals and concerts, but also additional ensemble music, the scores for the music already assigned, a stand light, other related supplies, etc. As we’re in suites, I bring a lot of my own food. This enables me to eat, rest, and practice before our rehearsals. I could eat at the main cafeteria on campus or one of the many nice restaurants near campus. But I’ve found it’s better for me to conserve my energy. I keep my on the road travel bag of clothes in the car the entire week. On the following Sunday, we check out. I pick the pups up and reverse my route. I feel quite safe with the pups. They do not let anyone get near us when we’re in the car. When at a motel, I know when anyone is near our room. They are quite protective.

    It does take a great deal more planning to take a trip when you’ve got MS. We learn we have to plan for a variety of possible health issues and problems in addition to a wide variety of possible travel related issues. I’ve learned to always request a handicap accessible room. Many regular rooms don’t have some of the safety features I feel are essential for my personal safety. I’ve learned to sleep in more presentable clothes so that I can take the dogs for middle of the night walks and/or early morning walks without having to change clothes. I travel with a plethora of cooling devices to use when walking the pups in the Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado heat. I had a remote starter put in my previous car and transferred to my current vehicle. This is invaluable for pre cooling the car in the Texas heat. I can activate the car starter from about 800 ft away. On trips with the pups. I can go into a restaurant to eat and have the car ac running and the car locked while the pups are inside. They’re cool and our things are safe. I also have my car windows tinted as dark as legally possible. Because I’ve had skin cancer, I also wear UV treated long cooling gloves to protect my arms from the direct sun.
    Again, thanks for the list. I’ll print it out and modify!

  • skcullers
    3 years ago

    So timely. Thank you. Leaving for 10 days on Monday and stressing. Woke up this morning thinking can I really do this??

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