a woman on a cruise deck checking her phone's medication reminder

Vacationing with Chronic Health Conditions

One vacation, two vacations, three vacations, four!

While most people find vacations relaxing, they can be stressful for individuals living with chronic health conditions like HIV. Planning for a vacation takes on a new meaning for patients.

This year is pulling my introverted self away from my security blanket of home and a routine. I have multiple trips on the calendar for the year. Due to this, I will be putting my vacation planning to the test.

Overwhelming schedule

I already have an overwhelming schedule for this year. I currently have three separate trips planned. For me, this is a lot! I am very much a homebody with a routine. My routine helps me reduce some flare-ups from my health conditions.

I am flying from Texas to Ohio this month to visit my mom and stepdad. This trip is a week long. I am more excited than concerned about this trip. If I end up having a bad day health-wise, I know my mother will be understanding.

Next, my boyfriend and I are flying to Atlantic City. This will be a 5-day trip. We do not have an itinerary for this trip. Despite this, I know that my boyfriend and the other couple we are traveling with will want to spend a lot of time in casinos.

I am concerned about how this will affect my chronic migraine and chronic fatigue. Additionally, this group tends to want to drink more than I consider enjoyable.

The big trip

The last trip that is on the calendar for me is a cruise this summer. A big group of us will be taking a 6-day cruise for a friend’s birthday. This will be my first cruise and to say that I am nervous is an understatement. I have already started trying to plan for it months in advance!

In all honesty, I have joined Facebook groups and started following some people on TikTok that discuss preparing for cruises. I am worried that I will forget something and I will be unable to get whatever it is that I need.

Additionally, I am concerned about being pressured to drink more than I would normally.

Vacation preparations

There are so many ways to prepare for a vacation. These are a few tips that I use when preparing for a vacation. It's important to be well-prepared when traveling with health conditions.

Make a list

My vacation preparations start with making a list of things I need to pack. I never want to end up somewhere and realize I do not have the things that I need. Since I try to start my lists as early as possible, I have already started working on a list for that August cruise!

Stick to your routine

Another vacation tip is to try to stick to your routine as much as possible. This can sometimes be hard to do. But ensuring that you have enough sleep and that you remember to take your medications is still very important.

Medication interactions

It is also essential to stay hydrated. Another vacation challenge can be in avoiding excess alcohol consumption. Our prescription medications can have interactions with alcohol or the alcohol can cause us to forget to take our medications.

Choosing a destination

Normally, I would be particular about the chosen destination for a vacation. This year, the only one I had a choice about was the trip to Ohio to visit my mom. I know that visiting my mom is a safe vacation. But traveling to Atlantic City may turn out to be slightly risky. It is a tourist-type destination with a big focus on casinos. Despite this, if I need an emergency prescription or something along those lines, I will be able to find a pharmacy.

Hoping for the best

I have mixed feelings about a cruise. My worry comes in about the fact that if I forget something, I am out of luck. It is not like I can go to a Walgreens or CVS on a cruise ship. On the other hand, the cruise itself should be laid back and relaxing. Our room is on the spa floor, therefore, we have access to a private adult-only thermal pool.

Do you vacation despite having chronic health conditions? How do you do it? What are your tips and tricks for a successful vacation?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The H-I-V.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.