A woman putting on a sunhat, preparing to walk outside into the sun. A beach bag with a towel and sunscreen is on the ground beside her.

Cruising with Chronic Migraine

Come August, a group of us is going on a 6-day cruise! This is a birthday trip is for one of our friends.

Most people only feel excitement at the thought of a vacation. Since I am living with chronic migraine and other chronic health conditions, I feel stressed.

Why is going on a cruise more stressful?

Honestly, I am normally pretty picky about vacation destinations. I cannot control my chronic migraine, but I can control my destinations. Normally we make sure that we have a nice hotel room for me to have a nice escape if I need it. Unfortunately, I do not have control over the cruise.

I am in my 30s and I have never been on a cruise. The idea of going on a cruise for a vacation is extra stressful for me. I have some excitement but a lot of nerves. This is because of the location. Due to being on a cruise ship, I cannot go to the drugstore if I forget or run out of anything.

What am I doing to prepare?

Those of us with chronic health conditions must take much more into consideration when planning for a vacation. It is not just about making sure not to forget a swimsuit. We must make sure that we pack all medications and other aids in case we have a flare-up.

Where am I looking for tips?

I am doing my best to research cruise vacations. With the increase in social media platforms like Facebook and TikTok, there are many individuals who share cruise tips and tricks. Granted these tend to be perfectly healthy individuals but I am still acquiring as much information as possible.

What am I putting on my list?

Making a list is one of the most useful tips for planning a vacation. But instead of checking it twice, I check it a million times. I have already started making a list for my August cruise! I attempt to make a list of everything I need to pack. Then I cross it off my list as I pack. The earlier you start planning, the better, in my opinion.

What are my plans for drinking?

I do not normally drink much alcohol. The older I get, the less I enjoy the effects of alcohol on my body. I do know that during the cruise, our friends will be drinking. I am sure they will try to encourage me to drink as well.

While heavy drinking does not sound appealing to me, I have heard that cruise ships do a drink of the day special. This drink of the day special may be a fun way to try something new, vacation up the day, and remain in control of my alcohol consumption.

What will be the biggest challenge?

I am worried that sticking to my normal routine will be the hardest part of this cruise vacation. Despite the struggle, it is important for me to stick to as much of my routine as possible in order to keep a handle on my migraines.

How will my sleep be impacted?

I am normally in bed at a decent time. Since I have insomnia, I need to decompress prior to sleeping. I have a feeling that I will be kept out of my room much later than I normally would. This is something I am going to have to battle to keep realistic, so I do not get a severe migraine.

What about meals and hydration?

Another area that I will need to be mindful of is sticking to my meal routine. If I do not eat at the appropriate times, I can develop a severe migraine from my blood sugar dropping. Additionally, it is extremely important that I stay hydrated. Dehydration is a massive trigger.

How will I avoid migraine triggered by sun exposure?

I most definitely have to pack a bunch of sunscreens, good sunglasses, and a sun hat. Honestly, I am not a huge outdoorsy person; therefore, being on a cruise will subject me to a massive increase in sun exposure. While sun exposure may not be a trigger for everybody, it is for me.

Even after writing this, I am still nervous about my upcoming trip. I am hoping the more that I plan for the cruise, the less nervous I will be about it. Either way, at least I am aware of some possible triggers to avoid.

How do you plan for a vacation? Have you ever been on a cruise?

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