Migraine & travel

Tomorrow morning–ahem, THIS morning–I’ll leave my house early to drive to the airport in rush hour traffic. My mom and I are flying to Virginia together to spend some time with my aunt and my cousins; it should be nice.

Despite my intense, feverish addiction to travel, I often dread the first day of it. Getting up on time, worrying that I have neglected to pack something, not sure if I’ll make it to the airport in time, sitting under fluorescent lights in the gate area, the air pressure shifts in the plane, etc., etc.–all of these factors combine and, more often than not, result in a Migraine attack.

For this trip, I didn’t follow step one of my own advice, but I think I’m doing well with the rest of it.


Tips for traveling migraineurs:

1. Get organized a couple of days before you go. This way, you’ll feel less stressed regarding the packing process and will remember to add forgotten items, as you’ll have more time to realize you’ve not packed them. For me, counting out all the pills and vitamins I’ll need during the trip (adding on an extra day’s worth for good measure!) is the first step I take. Too often I’ve been on vacation and reached for the medicine bottle only to remember it’s still in my cabinet hundreds of miles away!

2. For people like me who know fluorescent lighting is a trigger: If you’re staying in a hotel or with friends/family, ask your host about the lighting situation. Will there be fluorescent lights at the hotel? Request incandescent bulbs IN ADVANCE or else your home away from home won’t be as comforting and healthy as you’d like. Will there be fluorescents at your friend’s or family’s house? Ask them if they could pick up a few incandescents on their next shopping trip–you’ll pick up the tab. And remember: always have your eyewear to protect yourself from unavoidable lighting!

For those of you with phonophobia and/or trouble sleeping: bring earplugs! You never know what will be happening around you, and missing out on good sleep will drive any person crazy–and it will make it more likely you have a migraine episode.

3. Have all your medication packed in your CARRY-ON bag. In the rare chance your luggage is lost or delayed, you can’t afford to screw up your schedule, especially since your normal life routine has been shifted around for the day.

4. Have abortive meds nearby–in your pocket or in an easily accessible part of your carry-on bag. No worrying that you have to wake up the snoring man next to you in order to get your meds from the overhead bin–just keep them very close! Even if you don’t have an episode, you’ll be comforted by the proximity of your salvation.

5. Tell yourself (and your traveling companions, if applicable) you have Migraine disease, and tell them when you’re nearing your limit or when you won’t be able to participate. Don’t eat foods that are on your list of triggers just because a very charming hostess has offered them up to you. Don’t go to the amusement park if a long, hot day in the sun will make you sick. Be honest with yourself so you can best enjoy your free time, and don’t try to pack in too many things without scheduling in some down time.

6. Carry some granola bars or other healthy snack with you to combat low blood sugar. Most of us know by now that skipping meals is a sure-fire migraine trigger for most. Keeping a snack or three in your purse or carry-on bag could very well save you from having a Migraine attack when you’re rushing to and fro and have no time to get a meal.

I’m sure I could ramble on, but I’ll leave it at that. I was going to write another post for this here Migraine Blog Carnival, but since I’m leaving in a few hours’ time, I have travel on my mind.

Speaking of that, I need to take my own advice and remind myself that it’s time for bed. 😉

Don’t forget to read even more travel tips from Ellen!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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