Just because you've been diagnosed with a neurological condition, don't rule out the possibility of travelling and seeing the world. Of course, you may have limitations in terms of where you travel, how you travel, where you go and what you do on your trip.
It's a good idea to see your GP and/or neurologist when you begin to plan your journey, and shortly before you go. They will be able to advise you of preparations and precautions and any special arrangements you might need to make for a safe and comfortable holiday.
Your travel plans will be guided by the nature of your disability and your mobility situation.
It is a good idea to take out travel insurance. To ensure you can access the best insurance for your specific travel plans you should talk to the insurance company to check their policies for any health restrictions relating to pre-existing medication conditions or extra fees.
If you're travelling by air, you'll need to check with your airline's disability access plan to find out things like:
Do you need 'fitness to travel' clearance?
What mobility aids can you take with you?
Can the airline help you with special dietary requirements?
What assistance is available to embark and disembark, if you should need it?
Air travel can be very dehydrating, so be sure to drink enough fluid before, during and after your flight to avoid dehydration.
In the air
It is important to be aware of the risk of deep vein thrombosis while flying. Most airlines will have information on exercises to do whilst in flight. This is especially relevant if you have mobility restrictions.
You may like to purchase pressure stockings to help reduce swelling of feet and ankles. These can also be helpful while travelling for extended times standing or walking while sightseeing.
In the airport
Sometimes there are long distances to walk between terminals at the airports. If necessary, you can arrange beforehand to access a hire scooter or manual wheelchair. You can discuss this with your travel agent.
You may like to investigate taking your own small fold up scooter for long distances. The MSWA occupational therapy department can help with some advice regarding these, contacts us on 9365 4888 or email email@example.com.
When booking your flights, you may like to check the seating arrangement on the plane and ask your travel agent, or check online, if you need special access to the toilets etc.
A number of travel companies specialise in cruises for people with disabilities.
You can find these online by searching terms like 'cruising with a disability'.
Disability-friendly cruise ships offer wheelchair-accessible cabins, ramps and other features to make your cruise comfortable and safe.
Ensure that you take adequate supplies of medication for your travel, especially to a foreign country. If you are using injectable medication you may need to take the syringes in your hand luggage.
Drug companies usually supply a small travel kit which contains a cool pack to keep the medication at the correct temperature. You can take the script, or obtain a letter from your neurologist, GP or MSWA nurse, to confirm that it is your personal medication and must be kept with you at all times.
Hot or humid climates
If you travel to an area with a different climate to your home country, you may experience an increase in your symptoms.
This could feel like a relapse. Be aware of the possibility that the symptoms are related to the climate, but if they are severe or if you are unsure, please contact a medical professional.
If you do experience a relapse while travelling seek medical intervention as soon as possible.
Check your travel insurance. You may have a brochure or phone number to call to check on your specific cover
You may like to contact the Australian Embassy in the country you are visiting. You can get the contact details from your local accommodation, tourist information or online.
Every country has different requirements for vaccinations. Some vaccinations are not recommended with some MS treatments. Speak with your neurologist or MSWA nurse for information.
If you are planning travel to a foreign country, you should contact your travel agent and/or GP in advance to ensure that you are adequately covered for the country you visit.