7 destinations in 9 months and over a year without any hospital admissions … ISSA CELEBRATION!! 🥂
Since I’ve finally been able to travel again and have been doing so without any issues, I feel like me writing this blog post now, makes it more honest, relevant and accurate.
I’m going to keep this one short and straight to the point. Here are a few travel tips that have enabled me to travel to 7 destinations recently without any sickle cell complications:
1. Rest & Recuperation
Holidays are fun once you arrive at your destination but the journey there and back is not always glamorous. Travelling can be a long and draining process for anyone and as warriors we know by now that rest is a vital part of us being able to get through any day. So you can imagine what a day of travelling might do.
To counteract this I try my very best to have —at least— one full day of absolute rest the day before I travel. I also then try to allow myself some time to chill and adjust once I arrive at my destination; I usually don’t plan to do any activities until the following day.
On my return home. I give myself —at least— two days to rest and recover; and even longer if there’s a big time difference.
Now, I’ve tried and tested this tip out over the past few months and I can honestly say I’ve noticed the difference it makes when I stick to it. So even if it sounds extreme, please, just trust me on this one:
- Pack a few days before to avoid a last minute run around.
- Leave from the closest airport if you can and select a comfortable method of transport to and from the airport.
- Incorporate your rest time into the length of your holiday, i.e. only let selected individuals know the exact date you leave/return, tell others a couple days earlier/later so you have time to rest without being interrupted.
2. Stay Hydrated
The high altitudes and low humidity on flights causes everyone to lose more fluids. In our case, dehydration can be the onset of a sickle cell crisis so staying hydrated is imperative. It is recommended that drinking 250ml of water per hour on a flight should keep your body hydrated – I challenge myself to double this. Mainly because I feel that I’ll need that little bit extra than what is recommended for someone who doesn’t have sickle cell. And also because it helps with my next tip…
3. Stay Active
Taking regular stretch breaks is hugely important for me as I have had several blood clots in the past. If you follow my previous tip when on a flight, then you should without a doubt be staying active everytime you need to empty your bladder – and if someone’s already in the wc, march on the spot while you wait for it to become available. There are also exercises you can do whilst sitting in your seat like ankle circles, heel and toe raises, leg lifts etc. Basically, anything is better than nothing.
I also try and keep more active than normal if I travel to somewhere hot, in particular if it’s dry heat with little humidity in the air. With dry heat, I find that my legs and feet swell excessively. Again, drinking plenty, which is a given for us warrriors anyway, always keeps me active for the obvious reasons.
4. Be Mindful of Drastic Temperature Changes
If you travel to a hot country and you love the water like me then this one is definitely something to keep in mind. Going in and out of the water constantly has caused me to have a crisis many times in the past. Overtime, I realised it happens when I do it continuously and without letting my body adjust to the temperature of my environment.
For example, shocking my body by jumping into a cold swimming pool and then coming straight back out into the heat. Also something to be mindful of is the time you are going into the water; hot countries get cool too. If you are wet and the sun has gone down or the sea breeze is strong, without realising, your wet clothes will become very cold and cold can lead to a crisis.
To avoid this, I check the weather and sunset times and try to only go into the water when I know I will have enough time to completely dry off and warm back up.
Another time sudden temperature change can be an issue for us is with air conditioning. Most places you go to, if it’s hot outside, you know that ac will be on blast inside. If bringing a cardigan or hoody is just too much, I always bring a little scarf / shawl with me as it’s small enough to fit in my bag but enough to cover my shoulders if the ac gets too much. If you’ve read my ‘Cold War’ post that I wrote earlier this year then you will know that my shoulders are one of my weaker points.
I hope these few tips have been helpful. Let me know your thoughts and if you have any questions in the comments 🙂