Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Traveling Solo

Recently I posted about a road trip that hubby and I went on to visit our friends and family in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.  Having prepared and really thought this out ahead of time- I had a "minor" flare when I came back but it was nothing compared to the last trip. 

Today I am off again, this time on a business trip to Orlando.  I enjoy this trip every year- I look forward to it on a business and social level.  On an "I have RA and Fibro" level- not so much.  We spend quite a bit of time learning new things and networking with our peers but we also spend more than a full (long) day on the trade show floor and also walking all over the resort back and forth.  I am actually wearing my pedometer this year to see how many miles I log but I am sure it will be a lot.  I am also flying there and back.  Though the dress is "business casual" for the most part, last year by the end of the third day I had to buy flip flops (have you seen resort prices for flip flops? Insane!)  because my feet would not fit into my shoes.  On Friday, when I flew home, I ended up having to take my shoes off when I went through airport security and never put them back on.  Not even to walk to my car.  That trip was the straw that broke the camel's back in terms of breaking down and needing a handicap plate because my car was on the far side of the long term lot.  I learned a lot from that trip and am applying it this time.  Here is what I learned:

1-  Fly non-stop if at all possible.  Last year I had connections.  I was already exhausted and hurting and walking around and sitting in an airport for an extra several hours just stunk.  Non-stop from Louisville to Orlando is only 2h 10m rather than the 6 hours it took to get there and back when connecting flights.

2- If you have an assistive advice- no matter how "good" you feel before you leave- bring it!  I am, to put it gently- not a fan of my cane.  However, since I have a nagging pain in my hips and knees and know that by the end of the week it will be more than nagging- I am bringing it.  In addition to the fact that it will help with my stability and mobility but Southwest will also issue me a blue "sleeve" for my boarding pass that will allow me to pre-board early so that I can find a seat that will allow me to really be able to stretch my legs out when no one is in the aisle and move around a little more than if I boarded "late" and end up in a middle seat. 

3- No matter where you are going- bring your comfies.  I am going on a business trip and though I am packing professional clothing, I am also bringing my croc sandals and a pair of flip flops.  My boss is aware of my medical condition and actually has RA as well.  She completely understands it if I need to change into something more comfortable on my feet as long as it enables me to do what I need to do.

4- Take your downtime and rest.  We are scheduled literally morning to night- but if we really need to, we can bow out in the evening to rest, we can.  So when we are doing our networking events, if I have to, I will just excuse myself and go to my room and put my feet up or head to the hot tub to soak my aches.  I won't be the only one who leaves early- and if I am the first- well, I will start a trend because believe me- once the first person goes- others will follow suit.

5- Don't hesitate to bring along anything that you may need to keep you going.  I have packed along muscle rub for, my muscles-natch.  I have dried mangos, sugar free hard candies and rice crackers to keep me on track with my diet since they feed us CONSTANTLY but they aren't always the best choices.  I have a box of Snapple lite half tea/half lemonade to add to my water so that I WILL switch to water after lunch rather than coffee all day and night as our choices are usually coffee, hot tea, water or soda.   I have my spa socks to comfort my feet at the end of the long days.  

6- Check everything that you can.  Despite my hubby's misgivings- I am not only checking my bag but my laptop as well.  I have a bag that doesn't necessarily look like a laptop bag and have all of my materials that I need to bring with me "padding" my laptop it lessens the chance of damage.  I used to bring it as a carryon, and if I need to on the way home I will but for the way down- it's being checked in with my luggage.  On the plane I will have my purse, my cane and my Nook.  I can read once we are in the air that way and getting settled on the plane and getting off the plane will be easier.  I am also bringing a bungy cord to strap the laptop bag to the suitcase so that I can roll them both with one hand leaving the other free for my cane.

7- Finally- Use your airport services.  For less than $5.00 per bag (depending on your airport), you can have your luggaged checked through the skycap before you ever step foot inside the airport.  This service is invaluable, especially in larger airports.

That's all I've got!  I hope that if you are traveling soon, some of these tips will make your trip more managable and less painful in the long run.   

1 comment:

Stacia said...

I travel often, at least 3 times per year for work and once a year for me. I agree with your tips! Fabulous! I have check your bags with the skycap, check them all and check them all the way through as my no. 1,2, & 3. My fourth one was to get the bag with four wheels instead of two. The spinners are so much easier. My number 5 is get a room near the elevator. I'm not wasting my precious energy walking from the elevator to my room. I might need that energy for sight seeing. I'm off to L.A. next week!!