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Tips on comfortable traveling with arthritis

Mar 12, 2012, 7 a.m.

Living with arthritis is tough enough without letting it change the way you live your life. Sure, you're going to have to make accommodations -- in many ways, change is what life is all about and to expect otherwise would be folly. But if you think for a second that simply because you've developed signs of arthritis you're going to have to stop pursuing your love of travel, you've got another thing coming. Check out the following tips and information on arthritis friendly travel, then pack your bags.

  1. Plan ahead. This is usually bullet point number one for all travelers, even those whose movement isn't encumbered by limitations. If you're living with arthritis, it's even more important that you plan every step of your trip well in advance so that you can include necessary rest and relaxation. Also, planning every step will prevent you from packing too little medication.
  2. Anticipate delays in travel. Just because you've planned to be home by noon on the last day of the month doesn't mean you'll be there when the clock strikes twelve. These days, the reality of overbooked flights and other such annoying facts of life make it entirely possible that your vacation may have to be extended by a day here or a few hours there. Anticipate this possibility and bring along extra medication for this express purpose.
  3. Book hotel rooms that are on ground level and that are near handicapped-accessible facilities. If you've got difficulty walking for long stretches of time, this should play a key role in the choices that you make when arranging for lodgings while on vacation.
  4. If you're flying, book nonstop flights so that you don't have to put yourself through the rigmarole of having to off-board and re-board numerous flights. Sometimes nonstop flights can be more expensive, but consider the potential impacts to your joints and how overdoing it before you've even arrived at your destination could ruin your vacation. In the end, spending a few dollars more will be well worth it. While you're at it, reserve aisle seats so you'll have a less difficult time boarding and un-boarding.
  5. If you're traveling by car, pack plenty of extra cushioning to accommodate what could be a long, uncomfortable time on the road. Be reasonable with the times you've set yourself for travel, and add at least one to two hours per day of additional travel time to accommodate multiple stops to get out and stretch. Plan regular scheduled stops and stick to that schedule, regardless of how good you're feeling at the time. Car travel can be taxing even for those not living with arthritis.

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