Planning with PsA in Mind

If I want to plan a spring break getaway, a summer adventure, or a holiday trip that won’t result in a horrendous amount of pain or heartache, it is imperative that I include psoriatic arthritis, fibromyalgia, and my other chronic illnesses in the planning process. Before including them in the planning process, every trip and even simple outings ended in disaster.

Change of plans

I first began considering the needs of my chronic illnesses while traveling in 2016. Until then I thought I was thinking about them by making sure I had my medications with me, but that was really about all I did. It wasn’t until I returned home unable to walk or unpack that I recognized that if I wanted to continue to travel, I needed to make some changes. With no cure on the horizon, I needed to find a way to work with my chronic diseases. This meant that I had to stop trying to force my body to travel like it did before becoming chronically ill.

Top billing

My planning process begins with considering the climate and season that I want to travel to and in. Unless absolutely unavoidable, I do not travel to destinations that I know my illnesses won’t do well in. For example, my family and friends who live in Arizona know not to expect a visit from me during the summer months. Likewise, my Ohio family and friends know better than to expect me to visit in the winter. Instead I invite them to visit me in California where we can spend our time outdoors without burning to a crisp or freezing to death.


Next I consider how to keep PsA and my other illnesses happy while traveling to my destination. If choosing a less painful mode of transportation is an option I go for it. If not, I brainstorm ways to keep my body as comfortable as possible while traveling.


The best thing I ever changed about how I traveled was to change my expectations. I stopped expecting my body to perform like it did before becoming chronically ill. Allowing for adjustments to my itinerary gave my body time to heal if I pushed too far or if my body had a reaction to the climate change.


The key to traveling with one or more chronic illnesses is to be patient. My first trip that included my illnesses in the planning resulted in my only leaving our hotel for one full day and one evening. While it doesn’t sound like much, at the time it was a big deal. As the years have passed and my planning with my illnesses in mind has improved and the amount of what I have been able to do has increased. Even better is that the pain I experience after a trip has decreased.

Before you begin planning your next trip, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How will my body react to the climate I have chosen?
  2. How much will the mode of transportation chosen increase my pain and what can I do to lessen it?
  3. Am I allowing enough time to recover from traveling before heading out on excursions?
  4. Do I have too much planned?
  5. How flexible are my plans?

No matter what happens on your next getaway, try to focus on what you could do instead of what you couldn’t. If you are really disappointed by what you couldn’t do, take time to think about what could have been done differently and then apply those lessons to your next trip.

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