• Nicole Anderson

Traveling & Battling an Autoimmune

Updated: Sep 19, 2019

Traveling with an autoimmune disease can be nerve racking - not only for you - but for loved ones who are constantly worrying about you too, sorry mom. (;

While traveling with an autoimmune can be nerve racking - it is definitely possible AND lots of fun. Since having an autoimmune, I have been on many trips, both domestic and international! It is a learning experience and I take something new away from each trip I go on. I have put together some tips on how to have a successful trip while traveling.

First thing I want to point out before going into this, is that if you are going on vacation - don't beat yourself up if you do or eat something you aren't supposed to. We are only human and life is all about experiencing new things. With that, here are ten tips I have put together!

1. If possible, always try to leave at a time you feel comfortable with. For example, my symptoms usually show in the mornings, so if flying or hitting the road, I request to leave in the afternoon or evening. I know that is not always possible (it wasn't on my last trip!). When it isn't possible, try to wake up extra early so you can carry out your normal morning routine and if necessary, pop in an Imodium for a piece of mind. (;

2. If you are traveling with others, make sure they are aware of your situation. If you are traveling in a big group, no need to spill the beans to everyone, maybe just a close friend or two. This always gives me a piece of mind that someone will have my back and know what is going on if my symptoms hit.

3. Research restaurants you can eat at and are excited about before you leave!!! This is so important because 1) I don't know about you guys, but I think it's a blast and 2) it's easy when you're hungry to just go into the first place you see and it's hard when you sit down and realize there is nothing for you on the menu. Planning is a good thing!!!

4. PACK YOUR MEDICINE! It is an awful feeling when you get somewhere and realize you forgot a medicine you typically rely on. Triple check this. If you are traveling multiple places - make sure you have it before leaving each destination. I have forgotten mine mid-trip before and I was completely fine - but the panic of realizing it was not fun.

5. As I mentioned above, I always travel with Imodium as well as an extra pair of underwear and pants in my carry-on.

6. If you are a celery juice drinker like me, you probably also love road trips because it is easy to make ahead of time and pack up in a cooler. If you are flying to your destination, call your hotel ahead of time and see if this is something they can do for you. I have also gotten this at Whole Foods made in front of me, as well ordering it on a food-delivery app (this is the more expensive option). Pre-packaged celery juice sold on store shelves, doesn't have the same benefits as celery juice made yourself. Google it. (;

7. One thing that used to make me anxious at airports when I was more sick were the lines. I had the biggest fear of having an emergency and having to get and re get out of line multiple times to use the bathroom. To help myself out, I got CLEAR. With CLEAR I get to skip the line and getting through security goes ten times faster. A lot of companies pay for CLEAR or precheck too!

8. I try to avoid all airplane food because I don't even want to think about how many preservatives are in it. It likely won't make you feel good either. Sounds like a win-win to me!

9. Since airplane food is a no-go for me, it is super important to PACK SNACKS!! Snacks are key. My go-to is something salty and crunchy like Siete chips. I even found some at the airport on my last trip! :) Clean chicken or beef jerky is a good option too!

10. Last but not least - when flying, I always travel with wet wipes to wipe down my seat. I would HIGHLY recommend doing this even if you think you look like a crazy person - you would not believe how nasty that wipe is after the once over - YUCK!

Bonus tip: For me, it is really important to get adequate sleep when I am traveling. Flying lowers your immune system and staying up late and not getting enough sleep always seems to throw me under. If you prefer to stay out late, I would recommend if you can, to sleep in! I can almost guarantee you that you will feel ten times better the next day!

Bottom line is, traveling with an autoimmune may take some extra work, but it is SO possible. I would love to hear from you if you decide to implement any of these tips next time you travel and how it goes.



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