by: Kara Friesen

From remembering your passport, to making sure you actually packed your toothpaste, traveling can stressful on it’s own. Combine it with the fact that you have MS, and the stress factor can be even higher!

Traveling and dealing with MS has had it’s fair share of trial and error. There are things now that I make sure I don’t forget, and things I make sure I have prepared, so that I’m not scrambling.

Medication! I’m on Copaxone – a DMD for Multiple Sclerosis – and yep, you guessed it! They are needles! Most airports have been really gracious and understanding, but some have never seen it before. I don’t want to cause any trouble or confusion, so I make sure I have it set on the top of my items, and mention it to them before they send it through their scanners. I also make sure I have a dated and signed note from my doctor, stating that this is the medication I’m taking, and that it’s been prescribed specifically to me. I would rather just cover all the bases, in case they have questions.

I make sure ALL of my medications are in my carry-on bag. It doesn’t happen that often, but luggage does get lost sometimes. If you have medications and important items (make-up is another important one for me!) with you in your carry-on, at least you won’t have to worry about missing doses, or feeling more sick because you don’t have your medication with you.

Use the pre-boarding privilege! Before boarding, airlines will offer pre-boarding – for those with young children, the elderly, and for those who may be disabled or need extra time getting to their seat. I highly recommend using this service. Nobody is going to judge you, especially not the airline staff, and anyone else can just think what they want. It’s so much less stressful for me if I can be one of the first ones on the plane, situate myself comfortably in the seat (I almost always choose a window seat, so that I don’t have to move around much before takeoff), and make sure my bag is in the overhead bin. There are flight attendants there to help as well, if you can’t lift your bag, and for me, it’s easier to ask for help while there aren’t hundreds of people on board!

Travel itineraries, hotel information, etc. – I always make sure that I have a printed, physical copy of my flight information, hotel information, and anything else I may be needing. I am famous for forgetting where we’re going, what time, etc., so it’s nice to have it on hand. Sometimes I’m able to have the information saved on my phone, and while that’s nice, somehow I like to also have a printed copy. Call me oldschool, I guess. 🙂

Traveling by car? That makes things a little bit different. I get very uncomfortable, very quickly, so taking a lot of breaks to stretch my legs is important for me. Traveling in summer with the AC cranked is nice, but my legs sometimes can’t handle the cold, and a thin blanket helps for that. I also use a pillow as a way to change seating positions in the car. Sometimes putting a small pillow behind my back will save me some grief and we don’t have to take as many breaks.

Using some of these easy tips and tricks, make things run a lot smoother! Hope it helps you, too!