As I'm away, woo hoo to that, I'm handing my blog over to two lovely ladies that have agreed to share their recent holiday experience with you. I love doing these interviews and finding out how others managed to balance illness and a trip away. As well as learning about different places and how they fare on the spoonoe criteria. I hope that in turn this gives you some ideas where might be good for you to travel should you wish and feel able to do so. It's a very big step to take and I believe that hearing from others that have experienced it can help you feel more confident in that decision. Remember though to always proritize your own health and what you personally can manage, as we are all different.
So today I am handing you over to the adorable Pippa, who is going to share her experiences about her recent trip to Benidorm.
Hey everyone! I was asked by the lovely Sian to share my experience of travelling as a spoonie, so I’m here to tell you a bit about my holiday and share some tips for any of you considering going away! I went to the very classy Benidorm (in Spain), and for those of you who have seen the TV show I can confirm it’s exactly like that in real life.
We flew with Jet2, and this was the first time I had asked for special assistance at the airport so I was a little nervous. I don’t use a wheelchair and didn't choose to use one of the airports, but as an ME sufferer I struggle to stand for long periods of time, and was nervous that queuing would drain all of my energy. However, by booking assistance it allowed me to queue jump at check-in (I got some real stink-eye from other travellers for that!) and get through security as fast and painless as possible. And although I chose to climb up the plane steps once again I was allowed to queue jump.
The flight itself was something I was worried about as flying has always made me physically unwell even before I got ill. And of course, Benidorm is a popular stag/hen do destination so the flight was…rowdy… to say the least. I think flying is one of the most uncontrollable aspects of going away, however one stellar tip is this: get special flight earplugs. They reduce noise and are specially adapted to help with painful ears during the flight. Eye-masks are a good shout too.
My spoonie hand luggage must haves are: earplugs and eye mask as mentioned above, lots of water to keep hydrated, mints or chewy sweets for helping ear popping and face swelling, extra socks in case the plane is cold, any meds you need plus extra painkillers, tissues and a good book/ something to do.
|Copyright: Sassy Spoonie|
We researched the hotel a lot before we booked and decided that all-inclusive would be the best option, so that food would always be in close proximity if I wasn’t well enough to go out. That was a good plan, though all-inclusive food is typically set out as a buffet. This is slightly less good if you have severe allergies like I do, as there’s a greater risk of cross-contamination. If you have any dietary requirements, enquire about this as early as possible so they know to expect you. One night I wasn’t able to eat really any of the food because of allergies, so the absolute babe of a chef basically cooked a whole chicken for me without me asking!
Another important aspect of your accommodation is the location, both of your room and the hotel itself. Some hotels let you specify a quiet room which is what we did, and I would definitely recommend that if you experience sensory overload or noise sensitivity. We were on the second floor but there was a lift so this wasn’t a problem for aching legs. A lot of the time we stayed in the hotel by the pool, but the beach was only 5 minutes away so we did this one day when I was feeling up to it.
My biggest fear before travelling was that I would end up really unwell and not be in a position to do anything about it; I wouldn’t want to go all that way and spend all that money to lie in a dark room for 5 days. There was one day where I was feeling extra rough and that was really hard, but it just reminded me of the need to pace properly. So my next tip would be: don’t overdo it on the first day. Take it easy whilst your body adapts before you start trying to be adventurous. This was a sore point for me as I was surrounded by people my age who were completely carefree and having a good time, and it was sometimes tough emotionally because that was me a few years ago. Therefore, it’s so important to get the balance right between being sensible and still having a good time. It’s tricky, but it’s possible!
At the airport on the way home I found them really efficient and respectful of my needs. Having an invisible illness as well as being young it can often be difficult for others to understand that you need help, so if you are in a foreign country and can't communicate this it can be a worry. However I experienced no problems, I even thought they were more efficient than in the UK.
I think my final advice to somebody with a chronic illness who was travelling would be this: thoroughly prepare, pace yourself and have a good time. After all, you deserve to! I have always loved to travel so I'm determined to keep seeing as much of the world as I can as long as my health allows me to :).
Thanks so much to Pippa for doing this blog post and sharing her experience. You can follow Pippa on instagram @sassyspoonie or her Tumblr. She also runs a great little business Spoonie Survival Kits, which are gift bags full of nice things to help anyone with a chronic illness keep a smile on their face. You can find out more on instagram @spooniesurvivalkits, and visit her etsy shop at www.etsy.com/uk/shop/spooniesurvivalkits.