3 Ways To Travel With An Illness

If you travel with an illness, you may find yourself avoiding travels because of the hassle or stress. But learning to travel with an illness is possible!

I know I’ve basically been AWOL for about a month or two and for that I sincerely apologize! However, things have been totally crazy for me recently. For those of you who may not know, I just moved back to the States a few weeks ago from Berlin, Germany so it’s been a bit of an adjustment. Not least because I haven’t lived in the US for several years now, but it’s also been weird living with my parents with Michael still in Germany.

We’ve started his Green Card application, but until then we’ll be doing long distance once again. I’m now job searching here so wish me luck!

Anyway, moving on to why you came to this post in the first place!

How To Travel With An Illness

Learning to travel with an illness can be really challenging. There are things you need to plan for, extra items you may need to take with you and maybe it prohibits you from doing some of the same stuff that other people can do. Even if you have to travel with an illness though doesn’t mean you get any less of the traveling experience. Sadly, a lot of people think that because they have some sort of illness, it means traveling is too hard or difficult and it can be a scary thought, so they just don’t do it.

Because this blog is all about promoting authenticity and a love for travel, I’m going to talk about how you can overcome traveling with an illness.

What illness do I travel with?

Ever since we spent a year in Australia, I have had terrible dermatitis. I know, gross. Weirdly, my issue is only with my hands and they can get really dry and splotchy, itchy, bumpy and a million other things. This is not only incredibly painful at times, but it’s exacerbated when it’s especially hot or cold, which is… well, pretty much everywhere.

It can flare up at any time without warning and I was completely caught off guard when we went on our Asia trip because I wasn’t expecting it and was totally unprepared. It got so bad I could barely use my hand. I had these huge blisters all over it and I could barely hold onto anything. On top of that, it was insanely itchy and I could pretty much think of nothing else.

Ubud, Indonesia
Beautiful scenery, painful hand.

This was something I’d never want to wish on anyone ever so regardless of what illness you have to travel with, these few tips should help you adequately prepare so you don’t have a health scare thousands of miles from home.

Never Leave Medication Behind

If you’re going to travel with an illness, the worst thing you can do is to leave behind any medication that you may need. This is exactly what I did on our Asia trip; I didn’t bring my steroid cream because this dermatitis was new to me and it had seemed to go away so I thought I didn’t need it. Big mistake!

Travel with an illness

Regardless of whether you think you’re going to need this medication or not, bring it. Depending on what it is, make sure you have a doctor’s note explaining what it is and why you need it should you get asked further questions about your medication at customs.

Bring Creams And Items You’re Familiar With

If you are like me an have dermatitis or another illness that requires creams, gels or anything else, it’s best to bring the ones you’re familiar with. Along with my steroid cream, I also use Neutrogena Norwegian Formula hand cream because it’s the best way to keep my skin hydrated.

Unfortunately, in the past I’ve left this behind because although it’s under the 100ml travel liquid rule, the tube is too large for my liquid bag. While I can always buy stuff if I desperately need it, it’s always good to have something your body is familiar with.

Travel with an illness

Not least because you know it works and you won’t waste your money, but also because you don’t want to run the risk of whatever you buy causing a bigger problem than you had in the first place. Learning to travel with an illness takes some practice and thought, but simple things like this can make a huge difference.

Plan Accordingly Around Your Illness

Ultimately, when you travel with an illness you need to be aware of your limitations. Don’t push yourself if it’s going to hurt you. Don’t feel pressured to do things you think might cause an issue because other people want to do them.

If you’re afraid to travel with an illness alone, find a travel buddy and be sure to pick one who’s happy to accommodate your limitations.

I know that hot climates tend to make my dermatitis worse so I don’t necessarily avoid them, but if I am traveling to one I make sure to bring everything I could possibly need to treat myself.

Regardless of what illness you travel with, don’t feel put out by it. You aren’t your illness and you’re more than your limitations. Whether you’re dealing with dermatitis like me or a more severe issue like diabetes, osteoporosis or any number of other things, know that there are simple steps you can take to ensure your travels go smoothly.

Do you research on the destination, plan as much as possible and prepare for all scenarios. If you do this, you’ll be ready to face anything that may come your way.

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  • This is such a helpful post. I am sure traveling with an illness can be intimidating at first but you’re right, an illness doesn’t always need to hold you back. Good luck getting Michael’s green card!

    • Thanks so much! Hopefully it goes smoothly 🙂

      But yes, traveling with any kind of condition or illness can be super intimidating but it really doesn’t have to be scary as long as you plan!

  • Great points! I can’t imagine how tough it would be to forget medication at home when traveling – especially somewhere out of country!

    • It’s no fun, Rachel! Luckily for me, in Indonesia (where I was at the time) you can get steroid cream over the counter, which helped me a bit. But now I just make sure to bring mine whenever I go somewhere to avoid that problem since that’s not the case in all places!

  • Kristina @ The Nerdventurists

    This is SO important. I wish more people wrote about traveling with their illnesses. Bravo to you, and great tips. Always double triple check your meds, oh my gosh.

    • I’m so glad you liked it, Kristina! But YES checking meds is so important! As I said, I was so dumb to leave behind my steroid cream when we went to Asia, but with it being a new condition I didn’t really know that it would come back. Lesson learned, for sure!

  • Great tips! Theres nothing worse than having an outbreak and not having the right medication, or not knowing where to find it! Its awesome that you have figured out how to keep traveling!

  • Suzie Kelsey

    That’s such a shame, is your case treatable? Also good luck with the job hunt 🙂

  • Janine Good

    This is very helpful! I know what it’s like to have unplanned flare ups or issues with illness or disorders. . It is so important to prepare for these types of episodes especially while abroad.