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News Letter

Home Health Education Living With Joint Pain
Travel Tips for People Dealing with Arthritis and Arthritis Pain Print E-mail

Many people with arthritis are in their prime. Often people dream all their lives of making a trip, such as a second honeymoon, a retirement cruise, or a golden anniversary vacation. Arthritis can indeed make traveling more difficult. But don't let it stop you!

With some advance preparation and a few tips, you can overcome the obstacles and enjoy traveling. Many people - even those with advanced arthritis who have undergone total joint replacement - travel regularly. In fact, traveling can be good for your arthritis, allowing you to try new things while staying active and getting in some fun exercise. You're likely to come home rejuvenated, with a renewed appreciation for what you are able to do despite arthritis.

Here are a few tips for a vigorous vacation.

First, talk with your doctor. He or she knows your limitations. Tell your doctor what you plan to do and ask about any concerns you may have. Your doctor may have some good advice for making the most of your travels.

Begin the trip well rested. Don't try to do too much in one day. Allow plenty of time each day just for rest and relaxation.

It's a good idea to begin with short trips. Doing so allows you to "test the waters" and find out what types of assistance might be needed on longer trips. So begin with a weekend drive and work your way up to the African safari.

Expect the unexpected. Flights routinely get overbooked or delayed. May and the summer months are prime time for road construction and detours. So plan accordingly, and don't let delays frustrate you. Pack medications to last the entire trip - plus a few days' extra, in case a flight is canceled or your trip is unexpectedly extended.

Work with a good travel agent. Ask around until you find an agent who is accustomed to dealing with issues and barriers faced by arthritis sufferers. Be honest about your travel concerns, and work with him or her to select a destination and an itinerary that meet your needs. A good agent can help you plan trips with due consideration to such things as walking distance, the amount of stairs, hand rails in bathrooms, elevated toilet seats, and other accommodations.

Be sure to carry your medicines on board, so if your luggage is lost or delayed, you will not be without your medications when you arrive. (It's a good idea to carry on a set of clothes, too).

Reserve seats ahead and make requests for any special needs. Explain that you have arthritis, and ask for an aisle seat or a seat with maximum leg room. Request an airport cart if you have difficulty walking. Check your luggage at the curbside check-in.

Pack light. Use luggage with wheels. When possible ask airport staff to carry luggage for you, or use luggage carts.

When traveling by car, for a more comfortable ride, bring along pillows. If your car is not ideally suited for long trips, consider renting one with plenty of leg-room and adjustable seats. Most of all, take frequent breaks to stretch your muscles and "limber up."

With plenty of advance preparation and a moderate pace that allows for plenty of time for rest and relaxation, most people with arthritis can continue to enjoy the rewards of traveling.


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