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Useful Tips for Traveling With MS

By Maytee Ramos
June 23, 2022

If you are an enthusiastic traveler and live with MS, you might have to make certain adjustments and new needs may emerge, depending on what stage of the disease you are in.

Even so, having MS does not mean that you cannot continue enjoying the pleasures of life, among them traveling.

Here are some ideas from my personal experience to make your trip as comfortable as possible:

  1. First of all, make sure you have medical coverage during the trip. There are many companies that offer extended coverage abroad for a small fee.
  2. Travel light. Carry a handbag and perhaps a small suitcase with wheels. If you are going to visit more than one country or if you are going to transfer from one country to another by combining different means of transportation, carrying light luggage is the smartest and most practical option. There is nothing worse than dragging heavy suitcases everywhere you go.
  3. In the United States, transportation for people with disabilities is usually quite fast and efficient. Airlines tend to give access to the interior of the aircraft first to those with disabilities. Remember: when a passenger has a special need or any type of disability, they have the right to bring a companion with them to assist, sometimes more than one, and this companion will also have preferential access to the plane. In some countries of Europe, not all, it is the other way around. People in wheelchairs enter last and the boarding process can be a bit longer. A good book to cushion waiting time is always a good idea
  4. Energy conservation is essential when traveling. Therefore, allow yourself time to rest. Organize a slightly longer trip if possible so you don’t have to be in a hurry to visit a place or attraction. Consider time lost due to delays or that things don’t always go according to schedule. If you travel by plane, you can request a wheelchair for your transportation between terminals, since some airports are very large and walking long distances can be a challenge. This service is free. You can request the chair directly with your airline by phone or when you arrive at the airport. You can also bring your own personal wheelchair or your scooter. You just have to inform your airline in advance.
  5. When you bring your scooter or wheelchair on the plane, pay attention to the state in which your equipment is delivered to you. If you notice any damage or malfunction, request a damage claim sheet and complete it immediately. To do this, you will need to know the specifications in addition to the monetary value of your equipment. It is advisable to take a photo of it before and after boarding to serve as evidence in case of physical damage to your property. In case you travel by train, first ask the local office of tourism or the main railway office which train stations have an elevator, if any, since many of the railway lanes are underground and are accessed only by stairs, depending on the country.
  6. Time is of paramount importance. And so, if you plan to visit more than one country, traveling by land is very beautiful and everything, but it takes more time and can be exhausting. Taking a commercial plane between countries is more effective and someimtes less pricey. Buy a plane ticket just to cross the ocean. Once you land, use the local airlines to connect between the countries or cities that you are visiting. When using local airlines, you can find more frequent departures and they’re usually more affordable. Mind you, usually the luggage is not included in the cost of the ticket.
  7. Cruises can be a good option for people with limited mobility. The aisles are wide enough to ride your scooter, or wheelchair too. Usually, the cruise lines count with a special bus shuttle for people with limited mobility that are designed and/or modified so that you can take your personal transportation equipment with you when you tour your destination city or country by land.

Traveling itself requires a lot of coordination of details and logistics. And with MS, this can be a major challenge as the disease progresses. But still, it is more than possible. You just have to know your rights as a disabled traveler, inform yourself and ask questions before your trip. Discover available resources and use them. Make all the necessary arrangements before embarking on your trip to ensure that this new travel experience is pleasant, stress free and that everything flows in the most practical and effective way possible.

Happy travels!

Maytee Ramos

Maytee is a support group leader and vlogger who was diagnosed with RRMS in 2015. Her goal is to help others find the motivation to live their lives to the fullest despite MS. She loves to travel and enjoy a good meal. Follow her journey on Instagram, YouTube and Facebook.

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