Travel Tips – Plan Ahead

Guest Blogger BrightLife Direct shares tips on how you can plan ahead for travel.

BrightLife Direct has put together a list of lymphedema tips to keep you healthy and comfortable for your travels, especially over the upcoming holidays. You can always ask your doctor or therapist for suggestions specific to you, especially when it comes to longer or more frequent travel periods. Here are our top travel tips:

Before you travel, it is always important to get a good night’s sleep, eat a healthy meal or so, and stay hydrated as much as possible. No matter how long the distance is, be sure to wear loose, comfortable clothing, especially shoes! Don’t wear new shoes (no matter how cute they are) in case they hurt your feet. Nothing’s worse than limping your way through a layover! 

Whether you fly occasionally or regularly, it can be a pain. As a frequent traveler myself, I’ve found some super helpful tips to stay comfortable during long flights and layovers. 

For starters, make a game plan for the compression garments you want to wear on the flight and what you want to pack. This is going to be dependent on your condition, but we recommend picking something for the flight that’s comfortable and breathable. Don’t test out a new garment that you haven’t worn before on the flight or on vacation – wear and pack items that you know fit and work well so you’re not stuck far from home without what you need. It’s smart to bring a back up pair just in case. If you usually use donning tools at home, consider more packable items like ALPS fitting lotions and Easy Slides. But don’t forget your smaller everyday necessities – if you use glue to hold up thigh highs, bring it, but remember to put it in a plastic ziplock bag in case it spills.If you plan to do laundry, pack a laundry bag to put your garments in to keep them safe in the wash.

Hydration is incredibly important. Bring an empty water bottle to the airport so you can refill it at a water bottle station after you get through security instead of buying something there. If you run out of fluids on your flight, ask the attendants for additional water – I find that they’re always happy to assist. Additionally, say “no” to the onboard salty snacks and alcohol which will dehydrate you more. Remember, you can pack snacks from home as long as they’re not liquids. Last hydration tip – pack a small bottle of lotion or hydrating facial spray to use on the plane to get some extra moisture on your skin. 

If you struggle to stand for long periods of time, consider flying during off days or hours, or even opt for pre-check to minimize the time spent standing in lines. The TSA Pre-Check and Global Entry systems may seem daunting, but it’s actually quite easy to complete – and worth it for the time saved! You won’t need to remove any shoes at the security checkpoints, and if you’re flying internationally, you can skip the lengthy passport lines when you arrive home!

Next – choose the right seat! Being stuck in a seated position for hours can worsen swelling and edema, so you need to make a movement plan. Depending on the airline, some allow you to choose your seat, while others may require you to pay extra. If you have the option, choosing an aisle seat is best because it is much easier to stand up, stretch or walk around periodically throughout the flight to keep your blood flowing. It can also help to upgrade for additional leg space if you have a longer flight. Set your alarm for stretch breaks so you don’t forget to get up and move.

If you plan to drive, use the air conditioning to stay cool and help keep the swelling down. If you plan on driving, you gain a bit more independence than flying to stretch out as you need, or pull over to get out occasionally and walk around. The longer the drive, the more important it is to take breaks along the way to stretch.

The luggage you choose can also make a big difference. Try to choose luggage with four wheels to avoid putting the weight and extra strain on your body. Traveling lightly is beneficial so you don’t have as much stuff to juggle as well. 

Overall, be sure to listen to your body. For more lymphedema tips, check out our blog: https://www.brightlifedirect.com/blogs/news Thanks for checking out our post!

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