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Tips for Traveling With Rheumatoid Arthritis

On Your Way

Don't just sit there. Sitting for hours in a car, plane, bus, or train can lead to stiff joints. When driving, stop once an hour to stretch and walk. When you fly, take a train, or ride a bus, try to get an aisle seat so you can stretch and get up and walk.

Flying With RA

Avoid crowds. Avoid standing in long lines and flying in crowded planes. Ask the airline or travel agent about times with the least traffic.

Bring a doctor's note. If you use medications that require needles, bring a doctor's note or prescription in case you're asked about them at airport security.

Avoid stops. When possible, choose nonstop flights. That way you won't have to walk long distances through unfamiliar airports.

Arrange for assistive devices. If you use a wheelchair, label it with your name, address, and destination airport -- and ask that it be loaded "last on/first off." If you use a cane, you can take it on board with you. You'll need to stow it at takeoff and landing, but you can use it during the flight.

Where to Stay

Pick your room location. When you make hotel reservations, look for a room on or near the main level so you can skip the stairs.

Request a refrigerator. If you take medications that need to be refrigerated, an in-room refrigerator is a must. It can also come in handy if you need a quick snack to take medications or to boost your energy level after a day of sightseeing.

Look for amenities. A pool can help you stick to your exercise routine, a hot tub can ease sore joints, and an on-site restaurant or room service is helpful if you don't feel like going out at mealtime.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David Zelman, MD on July 13, 2015
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