It's Time For a Vacation

Last updated: November 2013

Vacation is one of those things we look forward to for many months in advance. Everyone loves getting out of their daily grind for a little while and enjoying the company of friends and family, whether it is a stay-cation or a chance to travel to somewhere new and exciting. I’m not sure it’s so much the destination or what you do so much as just getting a chance to have some time to relax and focus on what is truly important. Spending time with those we love and doing things together as families.

My husband and I went on an impromptu vacation recently. He is coming up on his busy season at work so we decided a few days away together would be nice. We had a fly by the seat of our pants style trip and just drove until we decided to stop, no destinations in mind, no hotels booked. It’s one of the best ways to travel in my opinion, as you just sort of end up somewhere and get to see new places you might never have thought to check out. As someone living with MS, I have learned over time that vacations and travel can be more stressful for us than it is for some other people. We have to consider accommodations to any special needs we may have with things like mobility or fatigue.

A huge thing to consider when traveling with MS is that sometimes we just are not able to do what we had planned, or set out to do initially. Just as we deal with in our regular, daily lives, sometimes we have to accommodate a side affect of medication or a symptom that rears its ugly head. With vacations this can be especially difficult since we usually attempt to jam as much as possible into a particularly short amount of time. Because of this, I find that it is extra important to know your body and your symptoms while you are out of town and away from your home. A great way to overcome some of this is to have a contingency plan so that you can still enjoy your time off, and so can those you are traveling with. Consider several things you may want to check out that require less walking, or energy, and keep them in your back pocket. Just in case you’re like me and you hugely overdo it doing something else, even though you just know you’ll pay for it later, (just ask my husband, I’m notorious for overexertion, especially when he tells me not to do something I want to do).

Another consideration we have to take when vacation planning is the temperature where we are planning to go. Many of us with MS are ill tolerant of heat, and long exposure to direct sunlight. I know of others whose symptoms are exacerbated by the cold as well. All of these things are important to take into account when deciding where to go and what time of year you will be there. If you can plan it appropriately and can travel at milder times of year such as spring or fall in the northern parts of the country that would of course be ideal. Obviously we cannot always plan to go when the weather would be just as we would like it, so we do what we can to combat the issues presented with temperature intolerances. Planning indoor activities in climates that are potentially hazardous, such as going to a museum or aquarium are good ideas. Also do make sure to bring the appropriate clothing for each situation.

If you plan well and know what you are getting into beforehand, vacation can be some of the best memories you will make with friends and family, and a much needed time away from the stressors of regular life. It is a time to enjoy, so with a little extra precaution, enjoy it as much as you can!

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