Holding those airline tickets to Scottsdale in my hand felt like the start of something good! I had been to more than 30 doctors in New England and I was only getting sicker.
Traveling from my small town in Vermont across the country to a clinic I’d only read about online, and to a faraway state all by myself was daunting. I’d flown once before with Lyme and it left me so exhausted I stayed in a hotel for days recovering. This time I was traveling alone and needed to be able to provide for myself. This time I was going to proactively Travel Smart.
My goal was to arrive at the clinic in one piece and ready to start treatment. Here are my 10 tips to Traveling Smart with Lyme. (But, these tips are great for anyone with a compromised immune system or health challenge.)
1.) Be willing to pay a little more for a ticket: I know that early mornings wreck my body. Sleep isn’t just a luxury for me, it is a tool in my Wellness Kit. Factoring in that I have a 3 hour drive to the airport I look for flights that leave after 10am. A few days before my trip I confirm with everyone from the Clinic, to the rental car company, hotel, to the airline. It takes about an hour of calls, but it helps to smooth out any discrepancies. When I call the hotel I ask for a mini fridge in my room for my medicines and because of my dietary protocol.
2.)Pack all of your own snacks: Food is Medicine and nutritious airport food is hard to come by and really overpriced! I bring shelf-stable, healthy snacks that are easy to eat, not stinky (no one wants a hard boiled egg or herring on an airplane). Here’s some ideas: Sea Snacks like kelp and dulse are great radiation absorbers. Grass-Fed Beef Jerky, Meat Sticks, Lara Bars, Paleo Granola, Dried unsweetened Cherries, already washed and wrapped in a paper towel apples or pears, Coconut flakes, Crackers/Cheese, Organic Popcorn, homemade Blueberry Muffins...I also recommend bringing a couple packets of drink powders like Magnelevures that supply glutathione, magnesium, and B vitamins. I also like to travel with my own quality tea packets and sliced lemon wedges. You can add those to water you purchase at the airport.
3.)Bring a couple days worth of medicines: I bring at least 2 days worth of my supplements just incase my flight is cancelled. Probiotics, digestive enzymes, trace minerals, and immune boosters are musts. I put these in snack size zip-lock baggies and label with a sharpie marker.
4.)Wear comfortable shoes: While I strongly believe in being well dressed, clean, and put together while traveling I don’t think it a place where you need to hurt your feet in 4 inch heels. Clean sneakers and dressing in layers is my go-to. I have a hard time regulating my body temperature so having the option of a tank top and warm sweater is a must. I also pack one extra shirt just incase I spill.
5.)Advocate for yourself: If I’m having a difficult time walking I’ll ask for a ride on one of those indoor airport cars. If I feel like I’m going to hold up the boarding line because I’m moving slowly I politely explain my situation at the Gate. I can’t always be accommodated, but generally people are very understanding. My stubborn pride can get me in trouble, but I try to remember that getting assistance can often make a huge difference in my symptoms. If you need a wheelchair, or help getting your bag off the conveyor belt just ask!
6.)Stay Hydrated: Flying can suck the water right out of you! Days before I fly I try to stay extra hydrated with celery juice, ginger tea, broth, and water with trace minerals. I’m not a huge fan of airport water fountains, but if you are on a tight budget travel with an empty water bottle. If you can find a glass bottled mineral water go with that, otherwise just do the best you can. Once on the flight I only drink bottled water or seltzer. You should be going to pee about every hour when you’re well hydrated.
7.)Immune Support: In the days before travel I like to get an IV. Either a Meyer’s cocktail full of B vitamins or a High Vitamin C concoction. Our local doctor’s office offers them for around $75. They are well worth the effort. Going to bed early for a few days, skipping sugar and alcoholic beverages, and spending some extra time doing self-care is essential. When you are at the airport you are exposed to so much from viruses to radiation, chlorine in the water, toxic air, to overstimulating lights and sounds. While you can’t control if the guy who had your TSA plastic bin washed his hands after he went to the bathroom, you can proactively defend your body. I always thoroughly wipe down every chair and area I eat off of. Proper hand washing habits, eating well, and deep breathing techniques go a long way in warding off illness.
8.)Self-Care Tools: I bring about 6 different essential oils in labeled roller bottles for my immune system, emotional boosters, headache and upset tummy protectors. I find that I often get a stuffy nose from the aircraft cabin air so “Breathe” blend is a must. In a small bag I bring a lavender hand lotion, chap stick, hand cleaning spray, seat cleaning wipes, and my medicines. I like to have some of my favorite podcasts and music preloaded on my phone and bring an old-fashioned real book! Throughout the flight I do some unobtrusive seat-stretching and get up to move at least once to get my circulation moving. I also have a few pressure points I sometimes deploy for stress or nausea issues. Having some EFT tapping techniques for stress can also be soothing, although unless in a crisis mode, I tend to tap only in a private area as it looks a bit funny.
9.)Plan for your weak spots: I got a rental car to get from Sky Harbor to my hotel in Scottsdale. I’m from a town without even one stop light and we don’t have a thing called “traffic”...coupled with the fact that I know that I am a terrible navigator so I preload destinations into my maps app. I programmed the hotel, a nearby Whole Foods, gas station, and the clinics GPS address before I even left Vermont. I also knew that while a hotel room with a kitchen costs more, I would save money in the long run if I cooked my own meals. I even packed a couple cooking tools in my checked bags like a collapsable colander and cutting board (as any tool used for pasta or bread is contaminated by hard to scrub away gluten!) and a small bag of sea salt and herbs, so I didn’t have to buy them upon arrival. I also know I miss home when I’m away so having things like an essential oil diffuser, a few pictures of home, and cozy slippers helps.
10.) Detox Routines: Before and after air travel I find it’s essential to ramp up my detoxification support. Movement is essential and costs me nothing! Getting fresh air and walking, praying, meditating, and stretching are my go-to’s. While I’m in Arizona I always enjoy the incredible scenery and sunshine. When I arrive I stop by a drug store and get a few bags of epsom salt for nightly baths. (And, yes...I’m weird I also buy a natural bath tub scrub and clean the hotel tub out first.) My castor oil packs are easy to travel with. I just pack pre-saturated flannel wrapped in plastic and put in a zip-lock. This way I don’t have to lug a bottle of castor oil with me. Dry Skin Brushing with a natural sea sponge is also an easy to travel with tool. At the clinic I have plenty of time on a Bio-Mat, colonics, and get daily IV’s which also help.