My Top Travel Tips: Let Go of the Plan and Enjoy the Adventure

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by Lori DePorter |

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The decision to start traveling again is personal, and it may not be for everyone. However, after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine and continuing to abide by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, some have cautiously been making travel plans.

My preferred method of travel is usually the old standby: a road trip. However, my husband, Mike, and I recently traveled by train. As a person with a disability, I received a discount, as did Mike, my travel companion. My ticket indicated “passenger with a disability.” The conductor was refreshingly polite and asked if I needed anything. Perhaps it is time to explore more train travel, which was much less stressful than traveling by car.

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Letting go when the plan changes

Traveling with Parkinson’s disease can bring its own set of challenges, particularly in terms of adapting when the plan changes. A delay can result in a disruption to our medication schedule. Suddenly, our perfectly planned “off” time is no longer perfectly planned.

Plans change. Schedules change. It is inevitable.

In his column “Possibilities with Parkinson’s,” fellow Parkinson’s News Today columnist Dr. C noted that, “Not only did we have time to plan a trip to fit our limitations, but we also had the time to test our limitations.” The key word is “time.” It’s OK to slow down and embrace the extra time.

As empty nesters, Mike and I are not bound by a plan or a schedule. However, it wasn’t always that way. In the early days, the DePorters traveled with a plan from start to finish. Our routes included strategically planned, kid-friendly rest stops that allowed our boys to “blow the stink off.” (We even rerouted a trip to Hilton Head, South Carolina, to avoid the path of a hurricane.)

Upon arriving at our destination, we engaged in a whirlwind of activities. Looking back, we needed a vacation after our vacation.

Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, or maybe I’m adjusting to traveling with Parkinson’s. Either way, having a plan is no longer a priority. Adjusting to delays and being spontaneous is getting easier.

Following are my top tips for letting go of the plan and enhancing the adventure while traveling with Parkinson’s.

  • Follow current CDC guidelines to protect everyone against COVID-19. This is essential.
  • Plans change. If you roll with it, you are never disappointed. Anxiety happens. Breathe.
  • Always have extra medications and hand-sanitizing wipes on hand.
  • Wear slip-on shoes. I recently discovered Kizik‘s hands-free shoes, and they work!
  • Bad weather on vacation is better than bad weather at home. It can be fun to swim in the rain.
  • Bring a copy of your reservation, especially if it was a good deal. My boys will fondly recall numerous trips when I had to explain at check-in, “A good deal doesn’t mean we get the worst room available.”
  • GPS mapping is not always correct. Ours once took us through downtown Washington, D.C., for no logical reason.
  • Live music is better than a DJ, and anywhere can be a dance floor. Karaoke is fun for some people and punishment for others.
  • Support local businesses, including food trucks. The people, places, and food may all be hidden gems. And the ice cream truck provides a perfectly acceptable breakfast.
  • No itinerary is still an itinerary.

Parkinson’s may slow us down, but sometimes, slowing down is good. We may discover some interesting things we missed when the plan said it was time to go!

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Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

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