30 Jun How to Effectively Travel with a Family Member with Medical Conditions
For so many of us, the thought of travel conjures images of adventure and fun. But for some, travel is a source of anxiety.
When you’re traveling with someone who has a medical condition, there’s always going to be more of a risk. But there are things you can do to help mitigate that risk — regardless of the condition.
Research your destination
If your family member might need medical intervention, research the nearest hospital and how you might get there in case of emergency. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it could be a challenge in some destinations.
You may have already checked an African safari off your list of possibilities, but there are other destinations that you may not have considered. For example, if you want to visit Italy’s Amalfi Coast, medical care may be a challenge. You’ll find no shortage of doctors, but if you need a hospital, you might need air transportation.
Let’s say you’re visiting Positano. You’ll find the nearest hospital in Salerno or Naples, which is quite a trek when you’re having an emergency.
Alert necessary personnel
Before you depart on your journey, make sure all necessary personnel is aware of your family member’s medical condition. In the case of an allergy, this may seem obvious. But it’s an important step to take regardless of the condition.
For example, if your family member is diabetic, it can be helpful for flight attendants to be aware, so they may know how to help in case of emergency. They may also be more attentive to your family member during the flight.
The same is true for a hotel stay, train ride or guided tour. Everyone will be better equipped to handle any potential emergencies or illnesses abroad if they’re aware of what to expect.
This is also a necessary step if you need any additional equipment, such as a wheelchair or walker.
Bring your own snacks
If your loved one has an allergy or a food-related illness, it’s probably a good idea to bring your own food whenever necessary. When you’re traveling, it can be especially difficult to figure out what’s in the food you’re eating. And this is especially true if you’re visiting a land where people speak a foreign language.
It’s always safest to bring your own food that has been prepared at home or otherwise vetted by you. If you have a favorite brand that adheres to your dietary requirements, be sure to pack plenty.
When the allergy is severe, be sure to notify everyone who may share food with your family member, especially if that person is a minor. It’s always better to be safe and seem a tad overprotective than to find yourself in an emergency life-or-death situation.
And if you are planning to travel somewhere where you don’t speak the language, bring a card that outlines the allergy in the native language. This way, you shouldn’t have any trouble communicating this important information.
Drive when possible
When you can drive to your destination, you have so much more control over the entire trip. You can bring snacks for the ride and map out safe destinations to stop for meals. You can also take emergency stops or breaks whenever necessary.
When you drive, you’re on your own schedule — and that can not only make it easier for medical emergencies, but it can take a lot of the stress away. And if your car isn’t up to the challenge, it may be a good time to consider that luxury vehicle you’ve been eyeing. A preowned Genesis would make a great road trip vehicle.
Once you’ve done everything you can to prepare, it’s time to manage your own personal expectations. Take a realistic view of your loved one’s conditions and the associated risks. Traveling with a severe peanut allergy presents many different risks than, say, traveling as a recovering alcoholic.
Remember that addiction is a disease. And like many diseases, the risks are not always immediately life-threatening. Still, you’ll want to do what you can to keep your family member safe and healthy for the duration of your trip.
It can be scary to travel with a family member who has serious medical conditions, but with the right preparation, you can definitely make it work.