Travel Tips From A Spoonie

For the crooked, tired, and distressed.

I absolutely love traveling, but it’s gotten a lot more difficult since becoming a Spoonie.

I used to travel every other month when my partner and I were doing long distance and my recent trip to Michigan sparked the idea for this article.

Throughout these travels I’ve gotten a good idea on what helps mitigate back pain and fibromyalgia; I thought I’d share with my fellow Spoonies.

Make a list.

I am the queen of lists and organization. I love/need it.

About two days prior to traveling, I start making a list of everything I want to bring. For this, I use the Google Keep app because I always lose paper lists. You can also recycle your Keep lists even after checking off all the boxes. Super handy!

Avoid early morning and late night flights.

I am not a morning person. Never have been and never will be.

Fibromyalgia has only worsened this, so I do everything possible to avoid flights that leave before 10 a.m. If you can’t get around an early morning flight, make sure you’re still getting enough sleep the night before.

Late night flights get in the way of a good night’s sleep and really mess up your circadian rhythm, especially when traveling to different time zones. I recommend flights that land before 1 a.m. local time (at the latest), so you can still get a full night’s sleep.

I also don’t leave much to do/pack before a flight, especially a morning flight, in order to reduce those pre-travel jitters.

Sleep is key.

A good night’s sleep is hard to come by, especially if you’re like me and get major anxiety before traveling. My not-so-secret weapon for sleep: melatonin. I take 10 mg about 90 minutes before I want to fall asleep and that usually does the trick.

If you’re traveling to different time zones, especially overseas, start adjusting to that time zone (if possible).

When I went to Spain from Miami, I slowly started adjusting my sleep schedule the week prior to departure so I wouldn’t be really jetlagged. I also took advantage of the fact that our 8.5 hour flight left at 5 p.m. (11 p.m. Spain time) and slept pretty much the whole way through. Thanks, melatonin. I also invested in some noise-canceling headphones and let me tell you, it is so worth it.

Make yourself comfortable.

Airplane seats are always tiny and uncomfortable, unless you fly first class, but that’s not happening on this budget. So, work with what you’ve got.

I usually book a window seat because I like to sleep on every flight. I always pack a sweater, pillow, eyemask, and blanket to keep warm and comfortable.

Here’s a little trick for my fellow low back pain sufferers: I bought one of those fleece travel blankets at the airport and it was huge. So, I cut it in half and use one half as a blanket like normal and the other as a back support.

Stick to your sleep, exercise, and diet regimen as closely as possible. It’ll help your pain and fatigue, especially once you get back home. But don’t be afraid to take all the naps you need.

If your feet and legs swell while flying like mine, wear loose, forgiving sneakers and pants. Leggings are always my go-to (weather permitting) but NEVER jeans.

Stick to a schedule.

Stick to your sleep, exercise, and diet regimen as closely as possible. It’ll help your pain and fatigue, especially once you get back home. But don’t be afraid to take all the naps you need.

Remember to stay active, eat well, and more importantly, stretch. It’ll help your aches and pains and make it easier to fall and stay asleep. Seriously, google it.

Don’t overexert.

We have a tendency to want to see every single point of interest in a city when we visit, which is normal; we don’t know if we’ll ever come back. But, this can be damaging.

A lack of sleep or overexertion will only cause more pain and fatigue so remind yourself that you can’t do it all and that’s okay. Pick the sites you want to see the most and give yourself adequate time to enjoy yourself.

Happy travels!