Sometimes I love to share a few Instastories when I’m travelling to a new place. This could be on a holiday or on a daytrip. And when I look back at my pictures and videos I always think the amount of things I get to do and see looks quite impressive. If it was someone else’s story I would have never guessed that person would life with a debilitatiting chronic illness that leaves her fatigued quite a bit. I would question how she would be able to do this all. I noticed that it’s so easy to create a picture on social media where you just show bits and pieces and people would fill in the blanks with their assumptions. And still my pictures do tell my story of that particular day: nothing more, nothing less. Below I will tell you how you can get the most out of a daytrip when dealing with fatigue and pain on a daily basis.
I love going on a fun daytrip (always feels like a small holiday) or going a holiday and after 20 years of travelling with chronic illness, I’ve experienced what works and what doesn’t. And even though I fail occasionally, choosing to do things I know are not very wise decisions, I learn. And travel is quite similar to daily life, really: it’s still you and your body. You can take that as a steady base for a little planning upfront.
Don’t do anything strenuous on the day before you are planning to take a trip. Yes, I know that sounds boring. Reading a novel or binging on Netflix however is allowed today. We need to entertain ourselves right?
Make sure you don’t have to pack your (hand)bag, fix breakfast (overnight oats in the fridge are perfect), or prepare some sandwiches on the morning of travel.
“I’m going to take the easy way as much as I can”
Arrive well rested
I tire easily. That’s probably not going to change anytime soon. It’s a pullback, but it won’t stop me from doing the things I enjoy most. Step one on my travel day is arriving well rested at my destination. This means I’m going to take the easy way as much as I can today. My preferred way of travel is by car. And I’m not the designated driver. I am comfortably relaxing in the passenger seat telling the driver which route to take and handing out snacks. When I travel with public transportation I prefer taking the train when the distance allows this. Take a bus or a cab to the station or let someone take you there. Whenever I want to make myself extra comfortable, I choose to travel first class; a luxury that’s worth it.
Take a break before you feel the first signs of fatigue
The first pictures I post from having a drink or a bite to eat are usually taken within an hour of arrival at the destination. And that’s not just because I always feel like having a lovely hot drink or a homemade piece of cake, but also because I know if I don’t take it easy in the first hour I sometimes get so tired so soon I have to literally drag myself through the day, face almost on the ground. I notice if I take a break early on and let my body get used to the activity (i.e. walking around in a new place) I have a good chance to recover a bit and can make a second start. Have you ever experienced this?
Pick 1 or 2 highlights and leave it at that
You do not have to do and see everything. I had a lot of trouble coming to terms with this. Big time FOMO here. Nobody is going to see or do everything and why would you even want to? You wouldn’t remember it all if you did. Just pick the things that really inspire you. If you have done those 1 or 2 things, you have time left and still feel good: why not pick another one if you feel like it. But people watching from the window seats is always a good idea as well.
Museums are often one of my favourite picks. They are great to have a bit of a break; you can often rent a wheelchair or take a seat in front of your favourite piece of art. That way you actually get to experience the work. Admitted: I have often been so tired dragging my fatigued self through a museum, wanting to see it all, that I could not recount one painting afterwards.
If it doesn’t work, rest
A great way to deal with someone who has way more energy than you have, is to let them go on their own every once in a while. This way they get to lose some of their energy and you get to relax and rest a bit. (Tip: always have a magazine or a book ready for these moments.) I usually agree with someone to pick me up in an hour or two. Afterwards you get to see the different sides of the destination (without breaking a sweat) and while your partner tells you their stories, you get to rest a bit more.
If you are with girlfriends and you are shopping together, sit down in the changing room area and ask if they do a fashion show for you with all their favourite items they are thinking of buying.
Avoid stairs and hills
They’ll just cost you your precious energy, so just don’t do it.
Try at least 2 or 3 cafes more
Nothing beats a good piece of cake, right? And make sure you drink enough if you’re on a trip all day and you’re making such an effort. Being tired can be the perfect excuse to get a break whenever you like.
And of course the last tip to have a great daytrip is sleeping in the day after, but that goes without saying, right? It’s kind of impossible to not be fatigued the day after even though you try to make it as easy for your body as can be. But that doesn’t matter if the trip was worth it and I hope it was!
I probably missed a few great tips. What helps you out the most?