When I was 20 years old, I sold everything that I owned: my motor bike, video games, computers, and went out in the world.
I'm now 25 and have been to 38 countries. I've lived in Moldova, the United States and South Korea. I have learned more in these last 5 years than the last 20 years combined about life, myself and managing my disease.
Traveling with CF can seem intimidating at first, but with a little planning, you too can get out and explore the world!
Here are my top 5 tips for traveling with CF.
- Make sure that you are healthy before you leave. Take all your medicine, do all your treatments, get that physical exercise, and avoid tobacco, alcohol and other stuff that is bad for us. I know that when you feel like you are breathing through a straw, it might feel better to rest in your bed. I have found that if I look at the trip as my reward, it really motivates me to exercise and do what I need to stay healthy!
- Get travel insurance. Make sure it covers hospital visits or emergency treatment. Have your insurance number and contact information together with your passport on your person at all times! It is also good to have the addresses and telephone numbers of hospitals in the vicinity of where you are going. The contact information for the U.S. embassy (if you are a U.S. citizen) can also be good to have. They might be able to help you in the case of an emergency.
- Be prepared. Ask your doctor if he can prescribe antibiotics in case you get an infection. Anti-diarrheal medicines are also very good to bring. If you are going to a warm place, bring salt tablets (if you can find them) or pack salty snacks! We lose a lot of salt when we sweat, and that can give you cramps and other unpleasant symptoms.
- Buy last-minute tickets. Last-minute tickets are usually cheap. The problem for us is that if we buy a ticket far in advance, there is no telling if we will be sick or healthy when the day for the trip comes. When you are feeling like you are at your best, get online, book a last-minute ticket, do the two steps above and pack your bag!
Tacos are a must when you’re in Mexico!
- Last but not least, enjoy yourself! We have a terrible disease but we cannot let that control our life. I believe that willpower is one of the strongest forces on this planet and a great medicine. Push yourself and always keep your chin up! Tell yourself that you are strong and you can do anything you want! Everyone needs to rest once in a while and we are no different; but don't let that get to you! Get back on your feet and live your life like you want to! I am sending positive energy to all of you CF siblings out there!