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by Ashley Boynes-Shuck, Medically Reviewed by Dr. C.H. Weaver M.D. 4/2022

I recently got back from a trip to Florida and have many other trips planned in 2019 (NYC, Hawaii, Hilton Head, Florida again, possibly Vegas, plus trips to my family’s camp in Ohio,) and one thing that always makes travel a little stressful for me is my RA (and other health problems.)

I have a routine down — make sure I have meds in my carry-on, alert the TSA agents about my knee implant, board the plane early if I’m flying alone, and if we are traveling by car, I make sure we stop frequently to stretch. I bring neck pillows, a lumbar cushion, and even pack things like heating pads, KT tape, ACE bandages, and so on. I’m always aware of where the closest hospital and pharmacy are, just in case.

But — there are always things I can’t or don’t prepare for. This past trip, a medication made me photosensitive — my 50 SPF sunblock just was not cutting it, and I got super-burnt. This particular drug used to have a warning label on it, but no longer does. I’d just gone back on it after years of being off of it, so I forgot that it made me more sensitive to the sun: well, I learned the hard way!

Then there’s the “travel hangover.” Often, I feel GREAT on vacation! Warm, sunny weather and fresh ocean air do wonders for me and my RA. So, I often feel good … but then, I come home and CRASH! I don’t know about you guys, but it takes me like a full week to “recover” from traveling, especially when traveling by air. Something about airport travel is so stressful to me, and my poor body. I often have a cold when I return home from traveling by air, and I often flare the last day of vacation or upon returning home.

That said, I’ll take the stress and the “comedown” of traveling if it means nice weather, relaxation, and fun … and especially if it means, possibly, a few stress-free days.

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How about you guys? What are your best travel tips OR your biggest travel hassles?

Love & light,

– Ashley