Traveling With Arthritis: 5 Tips

Traveling With Arthritis: 5 Tips

Whether you’re traveling by plane, train, or car, sitting for long periods of time can lead to arthritis flare-ups. And that, put simply, is no fun. Arthritis can make traveling difficult, so much so that you might avoid travelling. However, you deserve a vacation, too. So Kenneth Varley, MD, and his team at Southern Pain Specialists have put together this guide for traveling with arthritis.

1. Keep medicine and other essentials handy

This might sound obvious, but pack your medication where you can easily reach it. If you’re flying, put it in a carry-on, not a checked bag. If it needs to be refrigerated, bring a cooler with an ice pack. If you’re traveling by car or train, pack it in a place where you can get to it easily, such as a front pocket of a duffle bag. 

If you use other arthritis essentials, such as a cane, keep those handy, too. 

2. Time trips smartly

You can avoid excessive travel times by taking trips in the off-season ― such as in the spring or fall ― instead of the summer. Furthermore, you may get to your destination quicker by traveling in the middle of the week instead of on the weekend. This tip can help no matter if you’re traveling by plane or car.

3. Move as much as possible

It’s not always possible to move around in the middle of your travels, but here are a few ideas that can help get you moving: 

  1. Airport: Stand or walk laps around the terminal instead of sitting. 
  2. Plane: Get up to use the restroom, even if you only wash your hands.
  3. Train: Walk between train cars, if possible, or stand in the aisle and do gentle stretches.
  4. Driving: Stop every hour or so to walk a few steps and stretch. 

4. Eat anti-inflammatory foods

Leading up to your travels, eat a healthy diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods, such as the following:

  1. Strawberries
  2. Blueberries
  3. Salmon
  4. Sardines
  5. Broccoli 
  6. Avocados
  7. Bell peppers
  8. Mushrooms

Eating anti-inflammatory foods prior to your travel days can help keep flare-ups at bay. Of course, you shouldn’t abandon your diet the moment you step foot in paradise, but putting a strong focus on your diet a few days ahead of travelling can help get your body ready. 

5. Pack smartly

The last thing you want to do during an arthritis flare-up is carry a heavy duffle bag around. If possible, pack your belongings in a rolling suitcase, ideally a lightweight one. 

If you’re traveling by plane, check your bags whenever possible so you can avoid having to lift your belongings into an overhead compartment and get them down again. If you’re traveling by train, ask an attendant for the easiest place to store your luggage. And if you’re traveling by car, pack your belongings in a place that’s easily accessible.