The logistics for planning for a road trip can be daunting. But add a chronic illness to the mix, and it’s a whole new ball game. Whether you have an autoimmune disease, cancer, or another condition, we’ve got you covered with this all-inclusive list of what to pack for a road trip with a chronic illness.
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I remember my first “big girl” solo road trip. I flew to Las Vegas, rented a car, and hit the western desert for two weeks. I hiked the Grand Canyon, drove all through Death Valley, rock climbed at Joshua Tree, and ended up in Los Angeles for a work project. I made a spreadsheet of my daily itinerary, where I was staying, had a road trip playlist on my iPod, and packed the car with Twizzlers and pudding cups.
Times have since changed. I’m 10+ years older and dealing with a lot more restraints traveling with a chronic illness. Between the food and fatigue, I found that packing for a road trip is a little more challenging. Like everything else here at Pink Fortitude, I thought that if I was struggling with the logistics, then there are others who are too.
Just so we’re clear, I’m not going to cover the basics like your pj’s, underwear, and toothbrush. I’m also not going to cover emergency items to keep in your car. What I am sharing are the comfort and logistical items that will help to ease the pains of traveling with a chronic illness.
Also, this article is designed for road travel, but many are appropriate for air travel as well.
I’ve broken everything down into the following categories:
- Comfort Items
- Pain Management
- Medical Items
- Food and Drink
- Road Trip Necessities.
I know it goes without saying, but these are passenger items and never to be used while driving a vehicle. Always drive safely and never drive drunk or distracted.
Even with cars that have dual-climate control, I never go on a trip without a blanket. Hubby and I are on a good 10 degrees difference.
SHOP –> Travel Blanket
Neck Pillow – J Pillow
This J Pillow looks kinda silly, but it is the gold standard in neck pillow comfort.
SHOP –> J Pillow
Earplugs and Eye Mask
Earplugs and eye masks are a must for hotels, but also good if you want to take a nap while in the car. They are also crucial if you are an HSP (highly sensitive person) and need to decrease some stimulation.
Noise Canceling Headphones
If you want more than earplugs, noise canceling headphone will allow you to listen to music with high-quality sound and also block out sounds around you. Great for car travel, but a necessity on a plane.
SHOP –> Sony Noise Canceling Headphones
Blood clots and Deep vein thrombosis is a real concern, especially for those with limited mobility. While compression socks are more preferred for air travel, they are also great for car travel.
SHOP –> Compression Socks
Comfort + Practical. Bring along some slip-on shoes like Crocs for easy access.
SHOP –> Crocs
Blue Light Blocker Glasses
Late nights and bright lights can throw off your circadian rhythm. I don’t drive with Swannies Blue Light Blocker Glasses, but I always wear them when I’m the passenger.
Depending on where you go and what you are doing, Vogmask is the gold standard for those who have chemical sensitivities. And is it me or are all Uber’s a HAZMAT zone with those “good” smells?
SHOP –> Vogmask
For longer trips, it’s nice to have some solid lumbar and back support.
SHOP –> Lumbar Support
TENS stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation and is a pain treatment that uses low voltage electric current to relieve pain. Shocking, I know, right?!?!? I don’t recommend driving while being hooked up, but it’s great for the passenger who needs a pain management break and also for apre drive.
SHOP –> TENS Unit
I like this heating pad because it’s travel-friendly and you can easily plug it directly into the car.
SHOP –> Heating Pad
Lacrosse balls are small and work miracles for tired muscles and feet.
It’s always a good idea to have a list of:
- Your medical condition/s
- Doctors names and phone numbers
- All prescription and supplements you are taking
- Copy of your insurance information
- Emergency contact information – both someone traveling with you and someone who is back home.
For more information on what to keep in your medical files at home, READ –> How to Organize Your Medical Files and Why It’s Important.
Whether it’s insulin, a cane, nebulizer, CPAP mask, Epi-Pen, BP monitor, or another device, never leave home without your necessary medical items.
Medicine and Supplements
Always keep your meds in their original container, and always take more than you need. “Just in case.” I love these PillBags to carry my supplements.
If you have IBS, Celiac or gluten sensitivity, or other digestive issues, you may want to pack some BioActive Carbon BioTox and Digestive Enzymes in case of accidental ingestion.
Homeopathic Emergency Kit
I never leave home without a homeopathic emergency kit, as the all-natural “medicine” that I use isn’t available at most drug stores. Here are some of my favorite go-to’s and what they do:
- Nux Vomica for anti-nausea
- Arnica Montana for headaches, sore muscles, and pain
- Colloidal Silver Spray. I like the spray because it’s easier to use in both your nose and mouth.
- Flu Guard
- Sinus Rinse.
- Cough drops or throat lozenges.
- Bach Rescue Remedy to help maintain calm during stressful and crisis situations.
Food and Drink
We all know that plastic bottles aren’t good for us and the environment. And plastic plus increased heat from the sun causes even more toxins to be released. I love glass water bottles, but for travel, you want to make sure there it has a protective cover and silicone cap. The last thing you want is to drink with a bump in the car and chip a tooth. Safety first. Lifefactory glass bottles are my fave.
SHOP –> Lifefactory Glass Bottles
Food and Snacks
This is an entire article itself. Read How to Travel Safely with Food Allergies for great snack and whole-food ideas to pack, along with tips for eating safely at a hotel.
A cooler is a necessity for keeping fresh fruits and vegetables. But dealing with an ice pack or trying to keep it cold after the first few hours makes lugging one around completely pointless. Enter the Igloo Iceless Thermoelectric Cooler which you can easily plug into your car. Well played Igloo. Well played.
Road Trip Necessities
Energy Essential Oils
Public restrooms use the cheapest soap possible, with ingredients you don’t want on your skin. You can get the DIY here on how to make this easy and all-natural hand sanitizer.
More so when flying, but traveling, in general, seems to create an environment for dry skin. Don’t forget to pack your favorite Beautycounter skin care products.
SHOP –> Beautycounter
Rose Face Spray
Rose Face Spray is great for several reasons. First of all, it’s a refreshing pick-me-up. Also, the rose oils have centering properties that may help you to feel more balanced when out of your environment.
MAKE YOUR OWN –> Rose Face Spray DIY
PURCHASE –> Rose Face Spray
What’s a road trip without a travel journal? It’s always fun to capture your memories and look back on them later.
Chronic illness or not, I never travel without Duck Tape. You can use it for anything and everything. I always get made fun of packing it. Until someone needs it. Then who’s the hero?
Regardless of if you are staying with family, friends, or at a hotel, longer trips require laundry. There’s no need to use the grocery store toxic versions that other people use. Pick up a MyGreenFills sample pack. It travels small and flat. When you are ready to do laundry, fill it with water and you have 5 loads all ready to go!
SHOP –> MyGreenFills Sample Pack
That’s it, my friend. You have everything you need for a more comfortable and logistics-friendly trip for your road trip. There’s always a little extra worry when you travel with a chronic illness, but hopefully, these items will alleviate many of your concerns.
Be sure to share on social media and tag us @pinkfortitude and let us know what your favorite travel comfort items are!
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