Well, like all great plans, this one too got changed, making "flexibility" just as important when planning a vacation, whether you have Fibromyalgia (FMS) or not. I am glad this happened in a way because I do like to point out that while having FMS does make things more complicated, everyone has to plan, deal with issues, etc. We are not that much different from everyone else. In fact, I have found that when I discuss what it is like to travel with me, most people let their guard down and start admitting what it is like to travel with them, and it usually turns out that I am not that much different than others.
I have to stay hydrated or my pain greatly increases.
This means I have to stop to use the bathroom more than some people like to do. While there are those who get behind the wheel and do not want to stop until they get to their destination, once I speak up about this, I find most other people have to stop for this reason too. They do not feel comfortable admitting it sometimes and are actually glad when I bring it up.
I have to stop at least every two hours and stretch.
If I stay in a car, seated for over two hours, I can hardly walk once the car stops. In truth, everyone needs to stretch to prevent blood clots, so again, I am just bringing up what we all really need to do anyway. This also applies if you are on a plan, the train, etc. I have to walk up and down the isles a bit, do some stretching, etc. I do not worry about what others think. And yes, others usually follow once I start here too!
I am often unsafe to drive.
I know most of you can relate to this. If I become "fibro-foggy", I am not safe to be behind the wheel. This can happen to me just going seven miles to Walmart, but I am close enough to home manage it. An actual road trip, however, does not work that way. For that reason, I never do a road trip alone. Most the time I am with my husband and he does all of the driving. When he is not going, like this time, I make sure I have at least one other person with me who can drive. Sometimes, I just let them do all the driving, but if I do drive, I switch up with them when we stop. This works out very well when you stop at least every two hours.
I have heated seats and a neck pillow and consider them a necessity!
Having heated seats keeps my muscles loose, especially if it is colder weather. This is so important to me that I actually spend the extra money every time a buy a new car for this feature. Again, I am not that much different from others. My husband also benefits from the heated seats. A lot of people have discovered how much they help, so a lot people have them. Speak up! If you are with them, they will not mind if you turn the heat on. If they do not have heated seats, you can buy a heated seat cushion designed for cars. It is a great investment.
I also keep a "beanbag neck pillow" in the car. As long as I have it, I can actually get a bit of decent sleep in the car. I also use it though if I just start having some neck pain from just sitting.
I do have to eat!
I have medications I must take, plus if I do not eat regularly, my blood sugar plummets, and I become very weak, shaky, mentally foggy, etc. I do not have to have a big meal all the time, but I do need to have something every few hours. I pack protein bars, snack bars, etc. for this very reason. You know what is coming: most other people have to do the same thing! A lot of people have meds to take that required food or suffer with low blood sugar if they go too long without eating. Therefore, again, most people are glad when I speak up about this.
I need to remain calm because stress is on of my main triggers for fibro flares.
For this reason, I plan carefully, and try to anticipate every possible problem that could come up.
For example, I said earlier that our plans had to change this time. It turns out we cannot leave until tomorrow morning instead of leaving today, driving half way, then getting a hotel. To deal with it, we are leaving early enough that we can stop to use the restroom whenever needed as well as stop every two hours to stretch. It makes for an early start, but it is necessary if I am going to be able to enjoy the vacation once I actually arrive at my destination! Other than just altering our plans at the last minute, however, I had planned! I anticipated this could happen and had my contingency plan in mind. I was prepared for this rather than being taken by surprise and getting all worked up and stressed out over it.
Other than remaining flexible, adaptable, and having contingency plans in place, I also pick who I travel with carefully when it comes to temperament. Vacations are to enjoy, not fight, disagree, yell, or be ugly to each other in some other way. If at all avoidable, I simple will not travel with people like this. I understand that we all have our own ways, but when you are on a trip for three, four, seven or ten days, certainly all of us can just overlook some things others do that annoy us. If necessary, one can always just walk away and simmer down rather than causing a scene or making the trip stressful for everyone. This is one reason why my husband and I enjoy cruises. You can do things together with others as well as go off on your own at times to avoid getting on each other's nerves. It works very well for trips with extended family. But whether I am planning a cruise, a road trip, a train trip, whatever, I make it clear up front when I travel with someone that this is my expectation. No fussing, talking badly to one another, etc., creating a tense, uncomfortable situation. The stress ruins my vacation plus lingers after the vacation, totally defeating the point of the vacation.
It is a relief when you find that other people have similar needs when they travel. It even feels good when, by speaking up, you are the reason they enjoy their trip more. However, I try to not to just spring this information on people when we are actually loading up in the car to go. I tell everyone up front that traveling with someone who has FMS is slower paced. If this is not acceptable to them, I do not strain our relationships over this, I just plan my trips with those that also enjoy a slower pace. So whether you get to pick who you are traveling with or not, do not be shy about speaking up to others about your trip requirements. As you can see, more people than you expect will be in agreement with what you say and happy to accommodate you!