Tips for choosing a vacation destination when you have a chronic illness

Tips for choosing a vacation destination when you have a chronic illness


Vacations are an opportunity to discover new places, but not all destinations are suitable for our needs.  In my post Unrealistic Vacation Expectations, I shared how I changed my own expectations.  Today I am going to help you choose a destination that will increase your chances of having a fabulous vacation.


If you need to use a mobility aid it is in your best interest to choose a destination that is handicap accessible.  Places without paved walkways or that have steep hills will make getting around more difficult than it has to be.

This goes beyond your accommodations, you must also consider all of the places you hope to explore. Imagine expecting a relaxing day at the beach.  That dream will quickly turn into a nightmare if don’t research the location beforehand.  Not every beach is easy to access.  A steep cliff side staircase may be the only way to access it.


Choose a climate that doesn’t aggravate your condition. Weather often creates havoc in the lives of the chronically ill.  If storms increase your pain, going to Florida during hurricane season would not be a wise choice.  Alaska in the winter would be ludicrous if cold weather makes you miserable. I have many friends and family members that live in Arizona.

My daily pain level when living there was awful with the exception of spring and fall.  Instead of saying I will never visit Arizona I choose to only visit during the seasons in which the weather has less opportunity to ruin my vacation.


Choose activities that fit your abilities. Instead of setting myself up for failure by choosing activities that require me to be more physically active than when I am at home, I underestimate what I will be able to do.  Walking for 30 minutes in the grocery store increases my pain level and exhausts me.

With that in mind, it would be unreasonable for me to expect my body to handle a day filled with activities that required me to walk.  I plan all of my vacation adventures with the expectation of having to use a mobility aid. Sometimes I get lucky and don’t need them for the whole trip.  Recognizing my limitations and planning with them in mind has resulted in less time spent alone in the hotel.

Published by Cynthia Covert

Diagnosed in 2001 with psoriasis, followed by fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis, endometriosis, and later a botched hysterectomy turned her world upside down. Cynthia shares her experience, advice, and tips for how to make life with chronic pain easier and less painful.

8 thoughts on “Tips for choosing a vacation destination when you have a chronic illness

  1. Great suggestions. We found that we could travel all across the USA in a B+ RV since wife with IC (previously) could answer nature’s call as often as needed, whenever and wherever needed while I could continue driving. So many YouTube videos support this type of vacation in our 21 foot long RV which can instantly become our urgent transportation to Urgent Care which we only needed once. Key is to be self contained without a trailer and a real bathroom inside. So much beauty to see in our National Parks, often without needing to leave camper.

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