Traveling is supposed to be a pleasurable activity. We all dream of relaxing on warm sandy beaches, curling up by a cozy fire in a mountain-top chalet, or touring historic locations. Unfortunately, the harsh reality of traveling with fibromyalgia (FM) is that often, just getting to our destination is so stressful and exhausting, we spend most of our vacation in bed, trying to recover enough strength to make the trip home.
Take heart! It does not have to be that way. With a little pre-planning, you can actually enjoy traveling again. Planning ahead reduces the stress caused by last minute rushing, essential items left behind, inadequate facilities and long lines. Because stress frequently triggers a flare of fibromyalgia symptoms, planning ahead can be the key to making your trip an enjoyable experience.
Evaluate where you are going and what you will be doing. Do not set unrealistic expectations for yourself. Choose a destination that you will be physically comfortable with. If you are highly sensitive to cold weather, do not plan a trip to Alaska in the middle of winter. If you have difficulty climbing stairs, do not plan a walking tour of historic homes that feature high porches and multiple floors.
Be realistic about how much activity you can handle each day. It is natural to want to see and do all you can with the few vacation days you have available, but if you try to do too much, you will not enjoy any of it. Schedule rest periods into your itinerary that allow you to take a nap. If it is not possible to return to your hotel at regular intervals, at least allow yourself time to sit down in a quaint cafe and leisurely sip your favorite beverage while your body rests and revives. Make your first day a short one. Avoid scheduling any sightseeing the day you arrive. Traveling is tiring at best, so just plan to settle in, rest and maybe go out for a nice dinner.
If possible, plan at least one day of rest after you return home before going back to work or resuming other activities. Although vacations are enjoyable, they can also be tiring.