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6 Items I Travel With For Comfort with Chronic Illness

If you read, “4 Medical Items I Need to Travel with Chronic Illness”, you may want to supplement your travel items with these 6 items.

Just because you are afflicted with a chronic disease doesn’t mean you should not live life. It’s just a little more complicated. It’s a hard journey to travel with disease, but it’s worth it.

In my case, I want to get out when I can, before there comes a time I will be bedridden forever. When packing your bag, be sure to play the "just in case" or "what if?" game. Dump the extra clothes for the essentials needed to make your travel the best it can be.

Comfort items for travel

These are a few things in my arsenal that I make sure to have with me when I travel for the most comfort and enjoyment. I hope this helps you not to spin your wheels on what you may need on your travels or give you the confidence to try travel with lupus.


Yup, break out the stretchy pants. In the case of flares, I find what I am wearing to be critical. Yes, I am traveling, and I might want to be dressed up, but in this case, combatting swelling is critical even if it does not look cool. No one wants to flare and not be able to put their jeans back on. This has happened on a flight before. Due to pressure changes and lack of movement swelling is normal for the average person. I find swelling is extra for lupus patients. Save yourself by being prepared. I tend to wear tights because they stretch with swelling, but also hold close to my body to keep me warm.


If you have my luck, you may flare just due to the stress of travel or simply trip over a curb. Joint braces are easy and small to add to your luggage. They are supportive and aid in walks around town that you might not be used to. Why cut your trip short when you can simply carry some extra items?

Jackets, gloves, blankets

Jackets, gloves, blankets are critical with RA, lupus, and Raynaud’s syndrome. It’s important to stay heated and warm. I find no matter the time of year, travel is cold. Plane, trains, cars, etc.  tend to have the AC on excessively to kill bacteria in the air.  A little comfort is worth the extra carry. Plus, blankets used by others are a cesspool for diseases. I do not want to rub my face in a blanket someone else may have touched. This is true of the hotel room blankets too.

Pillow, neck pillows, footstool

I find that I am one size smaller than the average person. Assess your body. The extra haul will be worth it to prevent flares. Do your feet dangle when you sit? Travel with a backpack to support your feet. Your knees will thank you for taking the pressure off them. My back also tends to hurt sitting for too long. A pillow to lean on for the small of your back is helpful for reducing pain and can double for a pillow for a nap.

Comfy shoes

Remember when mom said to travel with clean undies and good shoes just in case? Take this to heart. I tend to wear compression socks during travel it helps with swelling. Compression socks also help when walking a lot to see the sites, especially when you are not used to walking often. These tend to eliminate swelling and joint pressure. I carry walking shoes and Uggs during travel. One to keep warm and the other to run in.

Getting around with lupus

Although travel rules have gotten pretty extreme, make friends with the flight attendants or train conductor. Explain your disease and that you need to move around every 30 mins. I have had great experiences with this. This way you do not seem suspicious. For example, I walk up and down aisles on planes and trains. Near the emergency window, I stretch and wiggle around, so I do not get stuck. This routine has dramatically helped with stiffness and joint pain.

I hope this list encourages you to get up and get out in comfort. Time is too short and there is so much of the world to see, family to visit and friends to frolic with. Try travel, and if you are prepared maybe it will open a world of excitement for you.

For those of you who travel, what are your travel secrets?

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