Traveling by Airplane
by Margurite Blair McKee
Flying can be a quicker way of getting to your destination, but can present you with new challenges. When booking your flight, try to get seating on rows where there is more leg room to allow for more room to stretch. If you can’t afford first class, try to get an aisle seat in economy. Get a seat close to the restroom, so if needed you won’t have to walk too far.
When I fly, I check online or by calling the airline to find out their rules on carry ons. (They sometimes limit the size of bottles, tubes and items such as nail files, lighters etc). It’s nice for me to put my carry on under my seat instead of the overhead bin where I can’t access it. I usually take a small snack, some gum to chew to relieve ear pressure, my Kindle or book to read. I also take my medications, just in case they lose my luggage and my luggage has been delayed in the past. I always take my medications in the original prescription bottles. Always do this no matter how you travel because when you go through the security check points, any medications not in their original bottles may be confiscated and you don’t want to be without your meds. I usually put the bottles in a ziplock bag along with a list of the medications in case security needs to review (this is also a good idea in case you get sick and go to the hospital). I always carry in my purse, an updated medication list and an updated list of my medical conditions and past surgeries and diseases.
Traveling with a powerchair presents challenges for me. The airlines always put wheelchairs and walkers in the cargo compartment. An airline staffer will wheel you into the airplane. Always check with your particular airline because of Homeland Security, they don’t always allow canes. Preplanning is important because when I fly to visit relatives, I must take my foldable wheelchair because my family doesn’t have any vehicles equipped with a chair lift for my powerchair and there is no way it would fit in the trunk of their vehicle because of its weight and size.
With a little preplanning, traveling by airplane can be comfortable and doable.
The RV Experience
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be an RVer, but with persistent encouragement from my husband, a couple of years ago I finally went to look at them. We ended up buying a 35ft – two slides motor home and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It has opened up a new world of travel for me.
Here are some of the positive things I have found out about traveling in an RV. My passenger seat is very comfortable and there is lots of room for my legs, so traveling is much more comfortable.
We have a full bathroom on board. When I need to use the restroom, it is right there and sometimes I need to get to the restroom very quickly. We have a full kitchen with sink, stove, microwave and refrigerator freezer and can keep food, snacks and drinks handy. We stop at rest stops and have a leisurely breakfast and lunch. Again, not getting in and out of a vehicle to overtire me. Our RV also has a bedroom with a queen size bed. If I don’t feel well, we can stop and get in bed and relax and rest. It’s our own bed with our own clean linens and very comfortable. Our bedroom also has a tv mounted on the wall with a DVD player and built in closets and drawers. (No unpacking luggage and easy access to clothing and personal items). In the evening we stay at RV resorts or parks or state parks. Usually both have a lot of amenities. We have a dinette by the kitchen opening into a living room with a queen size sofa bed with another flat screen tv over our fireplace. Can you believe a fireplace in a RV? It’s electric and I have been surprised how well it heats up the RV on cold nights. (We do have a furnace and air conditioning on the RV).
The dealership where we bought our RV sponsors a RV club. Our RV club is wonderful. It’s called the Gold Club. We go camping/rving one weekend a month. We stay at wonderful RV resorts around the state of Florida where we live. The owner of the dealership sponsors our dinners and we just bring food for breakfast and lunch. There is always so many activities planned and lots of entertainment at no cost to us (we just pay for our RV site usually at a discount). This way I know I will be going away at least one weekend a month and I have made so many good friends and have had such a good time socializing and partying. Everyone knows I have MS (some other club members have MS) and they are so helpful, friendly and accepting. Due to some of my physical limitations, I can’t always participate in all the activities, but I can do a lot of things. To give you an example of a weekend trip, we went to Stephen Foster State Park at White Springs, FL in January. Our club used one site as our hub. Friday night we had a cookout and two big bonfires. Our club even provides the drinks. After dinner and a glass of wine, we sat around two large bonfires (it was cold that weekend) and socialized and got up to date with all our fellow club members while listening to great music. On Saturday we toured the park, which is located on the Suwannee River, toured the cultural center and learned all kinds of interesting things. For example, Stephen Foster was never in White Springs or on the Suwannee River That night the club provided a chicken wings dinner with all the sides and dessert (along with drinks again). After dinner, we went back to cultural center’s coffee house to watch a concert of Florida style bluegrass music. Then back to the bonfires where some roasted marshmallows and we all socialized. This was one of the quieter weekends. We usually have a lot more activities and every month is so different. It is so much fun and I just ride around in my powerchair and can visit fellow club members of they come over and seat under our awning and visit. Some months, the girls get together and we go shopping. Sometimes our campouts are at the beach. It doesn’t matter where we go, we have a great time and anytime during the day I get tired, I just get back in the RV and rest and relax. If I’m having a bad day, everyone understands.
If you don’t know whether this would be right for you, you can always rent an RV for the weekend and try it out.
I hope that my personal experiences have given you some idea of some ways to make traveling with MS more accessible, more doable, more manageable and simpler. Please comment and tell me if you have any traveling tips you have learned so and experienced so we can share with all our readers!!!