A woman wearing a wide sunhat sits under an umbrella at the beach; she has a large bottle of water and a bag behind her with snacks and sunscreen

7 Tips for Avoiding Migraine on Vacation

I practice a lot of relaxation techniques living with migraine. Whenever I’m prompted to picture a peaceful, relaxing place, I always envision the beach.

What do I love about the beach?

I love the smell of the saltwater air, the sound of the seagulls and the waves crashing on the beach and the feel of the sand between my toes. I love it all! I love the freedom I feel swimming in the big ocean.

I love it all… until a migraine comes in and crashes the beach vacation.

What makes vacations so special?

Does anyone else have migraine conveniently show up on every single vacation?

It’s the pinnacle of inconvenience in my opinion. Taking a vacation is such a special treat and something we budget for all year. It’s also only a defined period of time, and then it’s over. There’s no raincheck for next weekend. That’s why I do everything possible to ward off migraine during my vacation as well.

How do I avoid migraine during vacation?

Here are some practical tips that work well for me. And please be sure to share your tips in the comments below so we can learn from you too. Afterall, we want to arm ourselves with as many tips as possible to enjoy our vacations this summer.

  1. Stay hydrated: This is something that I focus on year-round, but I become hyper focused during the summer and especially on vacation. Dehydration is a common trigger for migraine. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Personally, I am for half my body weight in ounces of water. I’m constantly toting around my reusable water bottle and refill it often.
  2. Stay cool:Heat can trigger migraine, so stay cool by using an umbrella or shade tent to create shade. I also started wearing a wide-brimmed hat and taking frequent dips in the ocean to cool off.
  3. Wear polarized sunglasses: Bright sunlight can be a trigger for migraine, so wear polarized sunglasses to reduce glare and protect your eyes from the sun. I wrote all about how to select the best sunglasses for migraine here.
  4. Use sunscreen: Did you know that sunburn can trigger migraine? Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. I personally opt for a fragrance free one too. Apply it liberally and frequently throughout the day.
  5. Avoid trigger foods: Certain foods and drinks can trigger migraine. Common triggers include processed meats, chocolate, aged cheeses, and alcohol, but there are many more and it varies from person to person. I’ve shared a lot about that in this community here. The more that you can identify and avoid your triggers, the better off you’ll be.
  6. Take breaks: If you're engaging in activities that may trigger migraine, take breaks as needed. Sit in a quiet, dark room for a few minutes to rest and relax. This maybe something that you factor in when planning your vacation. How can you set yourself up to have access to a quiet space on vacation. Taking breaks like this can help to manage stress as well, because even on vacation we can experience stress.
  7. Bring medication: Remember to bring your medications and any supplements that support you in managing migraine. Don’t take a vacation from either.

What's the bottom line?

Bottom line, managing migraine on vacation requires a combination of self-care, planning, and support. There is not magic formula but so don’t stress yourself out over every detail, just be thoughtful in your planning and do your best to enjoy your vacation.

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