Log in
NRAS
25,669 members29,268 posts

Holiday abroad - any advice/tips please?

Hi we've just booked a short (4 night) holiday in Spain at the beginning of July and though I'm happy to go I feel really apprehensive about it. It's the first time I've been abroad since diagnosis and our recent holiday to Scotland was marred by a flare which caused my ankles to swell and made walking difficult and I don't want that to happen again especially as it will be hot (I hope!). Does anyone have any advice/tips to stay well and minimize the chances of a flare on holiday please?

54 Replies
oldestnewest

I suggest that you should have lots and lots of fun, if your not in bed by 10 come home.hve fun

3 likes
Reply

Thanks I will@

2 likes
Reply

I find that when I’m abroad I can walk further and although I still get a bit off swelling but no pain plus it’s a different climate and the sun will help, remember the factor 50 xxx

6 likes
Reply

Thanks, yes I was too busy worrying about the possible problems to think of any positives so thank you!!

3 likes
Reply

Just go & enjoy yourself, & forget all about RA....stress brings on flares.

I’ve just been to Tenerife on my own & had a great time....it was. 80°F Most days.

One thing I do now when I travel is buy the fast track express route through security to save standing in more queues than necessary,If you get it directly on the website from the airport you are travelling from it’s much cheaper than if you get it from a travel agent or tour operator ...I only paid £3.45.....& just walked straight through.

I have also just found out you can get a fast track through immigration pass as well, for when you fly back into this country.

When I returned this time we had to walk round and round and round before we got to present our passports and I noticed there were a few people shooting off in front of everybody .....and having investigated that is what they did. You have to buy it before you travel of course ...again on the airport website.

But if you do have a lot of trouble walking your best bet is to ask for assistance and get a wheelchair when you go to the front of all the queues for free .

I did that when I had a broken wrist and it worked like a charm....altho, I did feel a bit of a fraud even though I genuinely couldn’t manage to do much with one hand

Hope you have a lovely break in the sun!

8 likes
Reply

Thanks so much for the tips - I knew I'd get help here! I'll definitely do the security and immigration ones. Thanks again.

Reply

Forgot to say....Book them sooner than later...they restrict the availability to so many per hour.

3 likes
Reply

Brilliant, thank you again.

Reply

I’ve just been to Dubai to see my daughter.

Make sure you move around and do the exercises suggested and drink plenty of water. Also wear flight socks too.

Have an enjoyable time.

Life is too short

2 likes
Reply

On flights to Spain on Budget airlines these days you are very lucky if you can get out of your seat to go to the loo.....sadly the days of going for a wander on small aircraft are long gone .....as the cabin crew trundle through selling everything from Hello Magazine to nail polish!

It’s strictly wiggle your toes in your seat these days!😟 😟😟

3 likes
Reply

Yes that's what I thought. Seize the day! Thanks for the tips!

1 like
Reply

Book a longer holiday! 4 days will be gone in a blink.

Great advice from others, and remember to take a floppy hat.

5 likes
Reply

Thanks!

Reply

I’ve just come back from a holiday in Majorca. Like you I was a bit apprehensive but it was great. The warmth was good and It was a very relaxed holiday with a mix of sitting by the pool and a bit of gentle sightseeing. A good deal of eating and drinking! If you can take painkillers or ibuprofen make sure you take plenty then you know that if pain starts you will be ok. When I went away last year to the Caribbean I had depo steroid injection before I went and I felt good. Apart from that, as has been said, keep hydrated and relax .

Have fun. X

2 likes
Reply

Many thanks, I'll do that. Much more confident about going after all the replies.

Reply

I just came back from Taiwan, a 8D7N trip there. Just forget about the RA and go to enjoy yourself.

4 likes
Reply

I wish it were that simple to just forget about it.

1 like
Reply

When I start worrying I lose all sense of perspective - especially with the recent disastrous holiday to Scotland in mind!!

2 likes
Reply

Will do! Thanks

Reply

I always have a copy of my prescriptions and original packaging in my handbag (I just have the front of the box so it is small and flat). This proves your prescription when taking painkillers into another country.

I know that you are going to Spain but in case others, reading this, are going to Greece; Greece requires a signed letter from your doctor with the reason why you are taking painkillers into the country. Taking three months supply for four days would be viewed very badly!

Oh, and the middle eastern countries don't allow even prescription (substitute) opiate based pain killers ie Tramadol. So that rules out my holidaying in Dubai!

My injections open another kettle of fish. You are not allowed to go express route with these. I learnt the hard way at Manchester airport. One and a half hours in security! I had all I needed to have but the objection was that I'd paid for express when, in fact, the injections have to be checked out with a second x-ray. Plus, the ice blocks have to be tested.

All the hassle is still worth even a few days in the sun 🌞 Enjoy!

2 likes
Reply

Your post surprised me because we’ve been to Kefalonia (Greece) twice and not once have they shown any interest in my medication which I carried in a pill organizer along with all my supplements. They didn’t even check the methotrexate injections in my hand luggage - and I had a letter ready from the suppliers to share if challenged. It was the same when I went to Barbados this year. Both trips from Birmingham airport.

2 likes
Reply

Security at Manchester walkways seems to be a nightmare with ir without medications 😂😂 but at least I'm prepared for it! Thanks

1 like
Reply

Wow! You have been very fortunate!

Manchester is known to be ultra cautious and chaotic too, despite numerous 'up-grades'! Maybe I should travel to Birmingham before boarding a plane ;)

I'm going to Greece later in the year; the advice is from the Greek authorities. I contacted them via the Greek Government website.

I was actually stopped from getting onto a plane once. The crew were unhappy about the cool-bag ice blocks needed on a long trip! This was despite the tests in Security. In the end, I was allowed onto the plane but by then it had been held up for an hour! I had been one of the first in the queue to board. Needless to say, I was very upset.

2 likes
Reply

I don’t need to carry ice packs ...perhaps that’s making them more nervous than the medication? When I asked the bag checker at Birmingham they said that they see people carrying medication all the time and it’s common place now so they’re more relaxed about it. A friend who has to carry daily diabetes injections when going abroad has found the same, and rarely attracts more than a second glance.

2 likes
Reply

Unfortunately, the long trip to visit my daughter, requires ice-blocks and cool-bag. The ice makes the airline very jumpy. Manchester Airport has a reputation!

1 like
Reply

I see !

1 like
Reply

I've always traveled from Manchester went express through security injections were swabbed but only went through x ray once . I had them in a insulated medical carrier with a medical icepack ,now I use a frio wallet much easier.

Reply

Manchester is awful with or without medication. I must be so annoying when you've taken all necessary precautions and things still go wrong. I totally sympathise.

1 like
Reply

This is really helpful thanks. I'm flying from Manchester and am taking my metoject pen (I have a letter from my doctor) and was going to book Express so I need to look at this further. Thanks again.

2 likes
Reply

Have a lovely time. Warm sunshine, blue skies and just being away combine to feel wonderful!

Reply

Thank you!

1 like
Reply

Don't worry I traveled through express route 2 years ago through manchester without trouble with my injections .

Reply

I would like to be so fortunate. I have had difficulty every trip. Reach London, for transfer, and, the experience is completely different, a breathe of fresh air!

Reply

I use a frio wallet its keeps the entracept cool and the fact it can now stay out of fridge for 4 weeks if kept under 25 degrees It makes my life easier when traveling no more icecpacks. I have used it on a 9 hour flight to Mexico with no problems.

Reply

I think you should look on the bright side and not think of having a flare just enjoy the holiday I go abroad a few times a year and since I have had RA only had a few flares while away just enjoy your time and they say in the heat you feel better just remember your medication and pain killers if you take them X

2 likes
Reply

Thank you. I feel much more positive now and there all the advice and encouragement has really helped.

Reply

When I flare, I respond well to steroid injections as a short term measure, so I asked the nurse at my rheumatology clinic if they would give me a prescription for some steroid tablets (prednisolone I think?) to take with me in case of emergency. Carried these same tablets on two holidays now and not used them but they give me great peace of mind, which means I don’t have to worry about what to do if I flare up. I also carry extra naproxen.

This might be ‘over sharing’ so apologies in advance 😀 My knees were really bad on my first holiday to Greece and I would struggle to get up from low toilets. I had grab handles and raised loo seats using at home. Disabled loos are largely non existent on kefalonia because it’s only a small island so I was worried how I would manage without having to take hubby with me every time I used a loo. I tried a she-wee which is a device you can use to stand up and wee like a man would (my niece says female festival goers use these a lot to avoid needing to sit on dirty chemical loos!). Well I didn’t get on well with that, very messy ...lol. But instead I took a small plastic jug on holiday (that I would use at home when providing a sample to take to clinic). Carried it in my handbag whenever out and about in case I needed a wee. Again (like the steroid tablets) it just gave me peace of mind and was one less thing to worry about.

2 likes
Reply

Hi I have just red your reply and I do the same take extra medication just in case have not had to use yet thank goodness x

Reply

What a great idea. I had thought about asking for some steroid tablets just in case but talked myself out of it as I'm a bit scared of our rheumatology nurses Haha! But I will ask now. Thanks so much.

Reply

If you're only going for 4 days, I'd seriously think about leaving the metoject at home and having the injection when you get back. It would save any unnecessary stress.

2 likes
Reply

Didn't think of that... thank you.

Reply

I agree,go and enjoy your holiday.Cyprus last year,best week in a long time,hardly any pain,sun and heat works wonders,a little swelling.Just relax and enjoy.😁👍xx

2 likes
Reply

Thanks yes looking forward to it now!

Reply

Don't worry about things that haven't happened as they may never. If there was a way to minimise risk of a flare we would all be doing it so just stop thinking about it and try and live in the moment. Worry is a waste of energy and makes you tired and stressed and that will give you a flare.

3 likes
Reply

Yes I get what you are saying but I want to be prepared after our last holiday was ruined. Some of the tips on here are really good and I'll take them up.

Reply

I find when I’m in a hot country my RA is actually better, the sun seems to do me the world of good..a bit of a tonic 😊

Wear comfy shoes and listen to your body, you’ll have a great holiday ☀️ 🌊🍹 x

3 likes
Reply

Thank you here's hoping!

Reply

I don’t think I have anything extra to advise you but I would definitely ask for some steroids from your GP. I always take extra meds just in case. We have a place in Spain and try to get out there as often as possible, I find I’m so much better in the heat. I don’t sit in the sun much but just the warmth around your body is bliss! Have a great holiday and please let us know how it goes. X

Reply

Yes really looking forward to some sun 🌞. Definitely will ask for steroids just in case. Thanks very much.

1 like
Reply

I always carry an emergency supply of a wide spectrum antibiotic which my GP is happy to supply me with, just in case! Have a great holiday 🤗

1 like
Reply

Thanks I will!

Reply

If you're travelling from Manchester Airport check out the Hidden Disabilities Scheme. You can go through security fadt track free and on your return you can use the Assistance Lane at passport control. They give you a lanyard to wear or carry and all airport staff recognise it. I've never had a problem with meds. I carry a letter with me and have everything to hand that I need to show at security. Again, if you're wearing a lanyard the staff recognise it and give you more time. Enjoy your holiday!

1 like
Reply

I can't thank you enough for this. I was just on the airport website looking at fast track when I saw your message. Invaluable advice for me and most people on here I suspect. Thanks again!

Reply

Happy I could help! If you have any problems please ask. Good luck.

1 like
Reply

You may also like...