Travel is good for the soul. It can improve your outlook on life and get you away from your daily routines. Trips can even give you space away from your ongoing issues with MS.
But much of the fun is planning a trip in advance. With a little productive daydreaming, you CAN plan the trip of a lifetime.
Where to go, what to do?
The first step is deciding where you want to go. Let your imagination run wild. Think about places you’d like to visit or things you’d like to do. How about a camping trip? A fishing trip? A visit to another country? Sitting on a beach? Walt Disney World?
If only school assignments were like this…
Check out a few guidebooks from the library and spend an enjoyable evening or two browsing through them. Plan some time for a surfing session on the Internet. Some sites to start with for accessible travel are:
- Emerging Horizons—Accessible Travel News
- Handicapped Travel Club, Inc.
- Access-Able Travel Source
- SATH—Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality
Do you see any barriers to your travel plans? For instance, you want to go camping, but sleeping on the ground won’t work. Would car camping with a big tent, cot, camping chair, and a travel toilet be manageable? Or you want to go to the beach, but walking on sand is fatiguing? Look for beaches with boardwalks or ask someone to help you on the sand. Many state and national beaches provide beach wheelchair rentals; call ahead and inquire.
Traveling solo can be wonderfully freeing. But traveling with others can be safer and more convenient—especially when they help carry luggage! Travel can be a great way to reconnect with family members or old friends. Or a way to get to know new friends.
Have a plan B
If MS throws a curve ball, have a plan B. If you can’t make it to the Elephant Festival in Rajasthan, India, some easy-access activities at a nearby attraction may help soothe disappointment.
Once you’ve narrowed down some travel possibilities, call ahead. If you use a wheelchair, make sure hotels have accessible entranceways, elevators, and bathrooms. If you’re thinking about visiting a state or national park, ask if the trails are smooth and well-maintained. Another idea is to contact a travel agent who specializes in planning vacations for people with disabilities—that way, a lot of the phone work can be done for you.
Contributing editors: Patricia Kennedy, RN, CNP MSCN, Nurse Educator, Can Do Multiple Sclerosis; Momentum Magazine.