Back From Seattle
I have recently returned from a trip to Seattle to see my son and his family. Traveling across the United States is tiring if you have a chronic disease or not. I've had to do things differently now since MS affects my mobility. Below are some wonderful resources for anyone looking for travel tips.
I have begun paying for travel insurance. I never know when something would flare up and I would have to cancel my flight. I definitely get a wheelchair. Going from North Carolina to Seattle, I go from a small airport to a large airport. At my home airport, it is small enough that I can walk with my cane and maneuver to the gate. And then when I return to the baggage claim.
However, as I go from the small airport to a larger one, the planes also change from small to large. Therefore they are usually not right next to each other in the terminal. I now get a wheelchair to get me from gate to gate. It has been a lifesaver for me! There is no way that I could walk with my cane, and thereby slowly, and make it to the next gate in time.
I typically dump all of my medications in a Ziploc bag and make sure that I take at least two days in my purse. After reading these articles, I realize that's probably not a good thing to do. I also never get a documentation from my doctor explaining my diagnosis and limitations. I will definitely ask that the next time I travel.
I have found services at airports to be widely different. The Seattle airport has a much more efficient system than the airport in Charlotte, North Carolina. As a whole I have found North Carolina to be less accommodating to persons with disabilities them the state of Washington. And this is definitely reflected through the services at the airport.
They say it takes one day to recover for each time zone you travel through. That would mean three days from North Carolina to Seattle. However, I can say that it doesn't quite take that long for me. I typically arrive later in the evening, so if I go to bed as soon as I get there, it seems to even out. However, I definitely take it easy the next day. When I come back home, after being with my ten and six-year-old granddaughters, that usually takes me two days to get back to "normal". But of course, it is well worth it.
I also make sure I get an aisle seat. It would be very difficult for me to maneuver from the aisle all the way to a window seat. And I have also noticed that American Airlines has a very good system for helping people with special needs. I would say as a whole, my experiences with airlines has been very positive. They show much care and compassion as they help people with special needs.
Another thing that I have changed when I travel, is that I check my bag. And then I only have a purse to carry onto the plane. It makes it much more easy for me to not have to lift a bag into the carry-on compartments. I have a purse that I can put over my head and cross my body that I carry my iPad in as well as a few other things. (A backpack would also be a good option.) And what little walking I do, I am not encumbered by a suitcase.
So, although it is different, it is still a priority for me to visit my family. And I am willing to deal with the complexities of air travel. I hope you find some great ideas from my own experiences and those listed below!! Happy Trails!!
National Multiple Sclerosis Society
Multiple Sclerosis Foundation
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