Living well with lupus

How can traveling be made easier?

If you enjoy traveling, you may worry that those days are over because you have lupus. After all, the stress of travel is just the opposite of what someone with lupus needs when seeking rest and recreation!

Getting there: Making the flight easier

  • Explore advanced airline check-in, which allows you to print your boarding pass in advance. Most airlines offer it within 24 hours of takeoff.
  • Select a seat in advance either online or through an agent.
  • Plan your trip in advance. This increases the chances of getting a seat with extended leg room.
  • Consider taking a mild sleeping pill to help you rest on long flights.
  • Get up, stretch, and walk around during a long trip—regardless of how you travel—to improve blood circulation.

Getting around: Wheelchairs and motorized scooters

Airports today have wheelchairs, motorized transporters, and attendants to help you if you have difficulty walking or carrying luggage. Wheelchairs may also be available at museums and other public institutions. If you have joint pain or any difficulty walking, you should not hesitate to ask for these services, even if you might not regularly ask for any kind of help at home or work. You may also want to look into renting a motorized scooter or wheelchair for the duration of your trip.

Staying there: Hotel tips

When making hotel accommodations, you may want to request a room that conforms to ADA standards. These wheelchair accessible-rooms feature grab bars for the bathtub, wider access for the shower, elevated toilet seats, and less furniture.

Staying healthy: Managing medications

Make arrangements to have your prescribed medications available when you are traveling. Either take your medicines with you or carry prescription orders that you can fill at a pharmacy at your final destination. You can send medicine ahead to a hotel or residence or pack it in your luggage. However, because mail can be misplaced and checked bags damaged, delayed, or lost, it’s always a good idea to pack at least a two-day supply of medicine in your carry-on luggage.

If you carry medication with you, use original, marked containers to avoid unnecessary questions and possible confiscation. If the original, labeled medication containers are not available, carry a doctor’s note confirming that the prescriptions are for you. Keep all medication containers together in a clear zip-lock bag to make things easier at security checkpoints.

Explore different travel options

There are alternatives to air travel and hotel stays. Ocean cruises offer a chance to relax and travel, with a room whenever a nap is needed, readily available medical care, and choices of meal times. Some cruises also are wheelchair- and scooter-accessible. Short bus trips or train rides to areas of interest also offer comfort for travelers. Even local events and day trips can provide the enrichment of traveling without going far from home.

When vacationing, try not to over-schedule your days with too many events. Be sure to set aside time for rest -- just as you do at home.

Medically reviewed on July 15, 2013

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