Traveling with NMO: My Top 5 Tips
Last updated: March 2023
Living with neuromyelitis optica (NMO) doesn’t mean you have to say no to adventure. It just takes a little more planning.
As a Scotland-based disability travel blogger, I’m a big fan of staycations. I launched my blog in 2022 and have visited remote islands, busy cities, and beautiful coastlines. I’ve stayed in luxury hotels, cabins, and even a 200-year-old cottage! One thing that makes these trips possible is packing well. Being prepared can help with confidence and ease some of those pre-trip nerves. I’d like to share my top 5 NMO packing tips to help your next staycation run smoothly.
NMO packing tip #1: Bathroom basics
Making sure you have all your catheter and stoma supplies is important. It’s worth checking with your provider to see if they’re able to deliver your supplies to your holiday destination. If not, you’ll need to make room to take them with you. I pack a little more than I need in case of transport delays or other issues.
I like to pack a few supplies in my day bag so they’re easy to get to. The rest goes in my main case.
Know where you can go!
Before a trip, I research the location of accessible public toilets and make a note of them. This means I can plan my day around them and not get caught short.
Tip #2: Medication organization
If you don’t already use a medication organizer, they can be useful while on holiday. Organizing my medication before I go saves me time and energy. I get extra fatigued on holiday. However, with my medication organized, I don’t have to worry about making mistakes. Moreover, my organizer has removable compartments that can be taken out for the day.
Bonus tip! Staycations can disrupt my schedule and lead to me forgetting to take my medication at the right time. I set an alarm to remind myself!
Packing tip #3: Prepare NMO-related information
Nobody wants to find themselves in a hospital on a trip. I’ve travelled a lot, and it’s not happened to me yet! Just in case, I carry basic information about NMO and how it affects me. It’s helpful to have a list of the following:
- Your neurologist's contact information
- Medications you take
- When your last relapse was
- Who your next of kin is
- Anything else that might be important
Tip #4: Tools, literally
You might be wondering why you need a toolkit on holiday. Well, I’ve had a few mobility-aid mishaps on trips, so I always carry a kit with me. It includes:
- Spare wheelchair inner tube
- Puncture repair kit and pump
- Spare screws for my wheelchair
- Screwdrivers and allen or hex keys
- Manuals or instructions
Travel tip #5: Pack extra clothes for unexpected outfit changes
There are many reasons you might need a few extra items of clothing. Let’s face it. Bathroom mishaps can happen.
I also needed changes of clothes because I’ve been out on a very muddy adventure. Living in Scotland, I’ve often needed fresh clothes because I’ve been caught in the rain! Therefore, if your housing accommodation doesn’t have washing facilities, it might be wise to squeeze in a couple more outfits if you can.
Preparation pays off
All this planning sounds like hard work, right? I agree! It seemed like a lot to me at first, too. Soon it became second nature – practice makes perfect! I now keep a bag pre-packed with some items from the list above. It saves even more time and energy.
Being prepared to travel with NMO means you can focus on having fun. You can rest assured that you’re ready for just about anything, including adventure!
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