Travel is much trumpeted as one of the most exciting things you can ever do, but there’s no denying that it can also get pretty stressful. Stress might be easy enough to ignore if you’re a bouncy, healthy type, but if you’re travelling with an illness – temporary or chronic – you genuinely have to watch out for it. Illness makes you more prone to stress, and stress plays havoc with the immune system; if you’re not careful, a feedback loop develops. From quick relaxation techniques to finding medical travel insurance that won’t bankrupt you; these tips should help ease your concerns:
Illness doesn’t have to stop you from travelling, but you will need to save more money than the average backpacker before you do it. You mustn’t force yourself through the discomforts of genuinely shoestring travel if you’re unwell – you need a bed on that sleeper train, and to escape those noisy hostel dorms for a proper night’s sleep every now and then. You’ll also need to pay a little more for specialised insurance, taxis, and sometimes staying an extra day to rest here and there. Although it may feel annoying to accept that you just need to save more money than the average traveller, it will be far easier to relax knowing that you can afford to take of yourself when you need to.
Give yourself time
Rushing at the last minute is a huge stressor, especially if your health won’t let you sprint up stairs. If you’re prone to lateness, it’s time to reform – even if you’re not, add half an hour or so to recommended travel and transfer times. This will let you hang back while the crowds surge out first, and dawdle when you need to. Don’t add too much, as waiting around in drafty transport hubs is wearying too – just an extra 30-40 minutes should be enough.
Stressful situations can catch us out – in fact they’re most likely to affect us when we’re unprepared, and you can’t always just escape the situation. So it’s always useful to have a technique on hand to instantly calm you down. A good method is to stimulate one of your senses. Start experimenting now, to see which works best for you. You could try: a scarf scented with aromatherapy oils; looking for the nearest colourful plant, cake, car, or outfit; favourite music, via your earphones; a soft piece of fabric in your pocket, which you can touch without anyone noticing. These methods may sound ritualistic but you’ll be surprised how rapidly they can ground you during moments of tension.
Avoiding the guidebook frenzy
Although it’s tempting to stuff your itinerary with “must sees”, remember that these aren’t set in stone. Visiting a country, absorbing its atmosphere and seeing what you can when you’re able will make for a far more fulfilling journey than overwhelming yourself, risking a relapse, and the subsequent disappointment when you don’t meet your own overly high expectations. Give yourself a break, and stay realistic.
This post was written by Tristan, who is the face of the World First travel blog. He writes about global goings-on and helps keep travel-lovers up to date with breaking news and travel tips.