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TIPS FOR TRAVELING WITH MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS

Posted by:

Johannes Sauer

Published at: May 28, 2024

Table of Contents
  1. Tips for Traveling with Multiple Sclerosis

  2. What is MS?

  3. Impact of MS on Travel

    1. MS Symptoms That Could Affect Travel

  4. MS Considerations to Make When Traveling

    1. Medications

    2. Doctor’s Note

    3. Travel Health Insurance

    4. Water Consumption

  5. Most Accessible Destinations for MS Patients

    1. National Parks

    2. Cruises

    3. Certain Major Amusement Parks

  6. How to Increase Comfort Levels When Traveling?

Tips for Traveling with Multiple Sclerosis

When you have multiple sclerosis (MS), traveling can sound daunting. But you can travel with MS if you prepare well in advance. This post will discuss the challenges you may need to work around, as well as effective tips for traveling with multiple sclerosis.

What is MS?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory autoimmune disease. If you have this disease, your immune system attacks the myelin sheaths that protect your nerves, leading to degradation of the nerve fibers. As a result, your brain and body may not communicate effectively, and your brain, spinal cord and central nervous system may not function as they should.

Traveller looking at timetable in airport

May 23, 2024

Impact of MS on Travel

Traveling with MS may feel difficult at first. The symptoms of this condition can be disruptive, and make the experience of travel more complicated and stressful. But many patients with MS can travel successfully if they take steps to plan ahead and manage their symptoms and risks. 

MS Symptoms That Could Affect Travel

Patients with multiple sclerosis can experience a range of different symptoms such as pain, numbness, tingling, fatigue and mood changes. Bladder and bowel issues can also be problematic when traveling, due to not always having immediate access to a toilet.

MS Considerations to Make When Traveling

The key to traveling well with MS is to make preparations that help you to manage your condition and increase your comfort and safety while you are in transit and staying at accommodations.

Medications

Bring along as much of each of your medications as you will need while you are traveling. If possible, pack some extra as well. You may experience unexpected delays while traveling that prevent you from getting back home on schedule. 

Note that your medications must be kept in their original containers. Here is a full list of rules from US Customs and Border Protection.

If you have injectable medications, you should keep them in an insulated bag in your carry-on, using an ice pack to keep them cool.

Doctor’s Note

There may be times during your trip when you need to verify to others that you have MS and certain medical requirements that go with it (i.e. bringing your medications and needles on flights). A note from your doctor is essential.

Travel Health Insurance

Most regular insurance policies only cover you within a specific geographical region. If you are traveling beyond that region, then you may want to take out a travel health insurance policy that will cover you beyond state or international borders.

Water Consumption

If you experience bladder issues, you may be tempted while traveling to minimize your water consumption in order to avoid having to go to the bathroom.

While that is an understandable thing to do, it can cause you to get dehydrated, which can then exacerbate and cause other symptoms.

Woman drinking from a glass of water

May 23, 2024

Try to strike a balance; you can try to reduce your water intake enough to minimize bathroom trips, but you need to make sure you are at least drinking enough not to get dehydrated.

Most Accessible Destinations for MS Patients

Now that you have some tips for traveling with multiple sclerosis, let’s talk about some types of destinations that may be readily accessible to those with this condition.

National Parks

National parks can be great destinations for MS patients. In fact, if you can prove you have a permanent disability, you may qualify for a free lifetime pass called the Access Pass. Most national parks have easy trails that are suitable for those who need to avoid strenuous activity, as well as plenty of road access if you prefer to drive. 

Just remember that when you are spending lots of time outdoors, it is easy to dehydrate! Drink plenty of water.

Cruises

A cruise is an ideal activity if you have MS, because you are surrounded by amenities and supportive staff. Not only that, but if you get tired, you can always head to your room to get some rest.

Certain Major Amusement Parks

Major amusement parks also tend to have plenty of amenities (food, readily accessible bathrooms, etc.). Plus, when you go on rides, that gives you a break from spending time on your feet.

How to Increase Comfort Levels When Traveling?

When you are traveling with MS, it is unavoidable that you are going to spend a lot of time walking or sitting. Both can be fatiguing in different ways.

Sitting for a long time in a car, bus, train or plane can be uncomfortable. Bring along any supplies that can help you stay more comfortable (i.e. a neck pillow so you can sit in a more ergonomic position, a TENS unit for pain, etc.). Try to take breaks to get up and move around.

What about increasing your comfort when you are on your feet? That comes down to choosing the right footwear.

Multiple sclerosis can affect your feet in a few different ways. First of all, the pain, numbness and tingling that are common with MS can manifest in your feet. Secondly, you may experience foot drop because these symptoms make it hard to lift your feet correctly as you walk. 

Thankfully, researchers have discovered that you can improve your balance and reduce the chances of falls and injuries by wearing suitable shoes.

Our top recommendation for travel shoes for multiple sclerosis are the Cadense Original Adaptive Shoes for men and women.

These shoes feature unique variable friction technology that can help you move smoothly over obstacles and uneven surfaces even if you have MS-related foot drop.

They also are made out of lightweight materials, which means that you can lift your feet with less effort, reducing fatigue. Putting them on and taking them off is easy as well, which can come as a relief if you experience pain or numbness that makes it a challenge to put on conventional footwear.

Once you have them on and adjusted, they will fit snugly, providing firm, cushioned support, without being too tight. 

After you have experienced the comfort and ease with which you can walk in Cadense Original Adaptive Shoes, you may very well decide to make them your go-to shoes at home, not just for traveling. View the full collection of shoes for MS.

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FAQ

How can I manage fatigue while traveling with MS?

The organization MS Research says that it can be helpful to pad your travel schedule with extra time so that you can take breaks and get some rest while on the move. If you are flying, the organization suggests you take advantage of wheelchair assistance, as it will decrease the amount of physical work you have to do to get around the airport.

What should I pack for a trip with MS?

When you travel with MS, you should bring as much medication as you will need, snacks, water, doctor’s notes, anything you use to increase your comfort or combat pain (i.e. a TENS unit, eye mask, etc.), and all the general-purpose supplies you would need for a trip (toiletries, technology, maps, identification and travel papers, etc.).

How can I make sure living accommodations fit my disability needs?

If you have concerns about the accommodations where you will be staying, you can call in advance and ask questions about accessibility and support. If you have any special requests, let the staff know so you can find out whether they can accommodate you or not.

How easy is it for someone with MS to travel?

The answer to that question is highly subjective, and depends on individual factors such as how mild or severe your symptoms are, what your personal psychological threshold is for dealing with the demands of traveling with MS, and the nature of your trip and what it entails.

Some people may find it relatively easy to travel with MS, while others may find it very difficult. Many will fall somewhere in between. 

Packing everything you need for your trip with MS can be a big help, as can carefully planning ahead for your activities and accommodations. You may also want to come up with some backup plans in case anything goes awry, and plan for some extra time in case you need breaks.

Posted by: Johannes Sauer

CEO and Co-Founder of Cadense As the CEO and Co-Founder of Cadense Inc., Johannes is proud to drive forward their mission of enhancing mobility and improving lives through innovative adaptive footwear.

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