Seeing loved ones who live far away is one of the best aspects of the holiday season. Of course, no matter how warm and joyous the idea of family visits may be, the process of traveling hundreds of miles can be overwhelming in the best of times. And with cases of COVID-19 spiking again, travel is once again becoming more difficult and dangerous.
With a new (or existing) diagnoses, preparing for travel can be particularly overwhelming. Fatigue and exhaustion are already present in day-to-day life without having to coordinate a trip, and the added stress of traveling can seem unbearable. Plus the very real decision of whether or not it’s safe to travel looms. To help cancer patients and their families reunite over the holiday season, National Foundation for Cancer Research is helping travelers stay organized with 5 simple tips for safe holiday travel this year.
- Speak with your doctor
If you’re planning to travel this holiday season, the first thing to do is tell your doctor. If your doctor has any concerns, listen carefully and take their advice into consideration. Most providers recommend that patients don’t travel within a week of starting a new treatment. However, a conversation with your doctor will be the best way to know what is safe and how to address any concerns. While meeting with your doctor, be sure to ask for prescriptions and a letter about your condition. This letter should include your medications and any implanted devices. This will negate any potential stress of being caught up at a security checkpoint as well as serve as an important document in the event of an emergency.
- Scope out your destination ahead of time
While you’re determining the best hotel to stay at and figuring out the best route to get there, there are a few other things that you should look into when planning a trip as a cancer patient. Before leaving home, be sure to note the closest hospital, emergency room, or cancer center. It can also be extremely useful to identify which local facilities are within your insurance network. Also make sure to be updated on any travel restrictions or mandates in effect due to COVID-19 at both your destination and your home state.
- Stock up on supplies
Everyone forgets something when packing for a trip. Making a list well in advance will help negate this risk. In addition to clothing, presents, and toiletries, make a list of what medical supplies you will need, such as oral chemotherapy, pain medication, or nausea medication – and overestimate where possible. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, it is also more important than ever before to protect yourself from the potential spread of disease. Having a reusable mask (and a couple extra just in case) as well as hand sanitizer is extremely important when traveling this holiday season.
- If you are flying, contact your airline
In addition to informing the airline about any special needs you may have (such as oxygen or other items identified when discussed with your doctor), it is also important to check their COVID-19 safety plan. While wearing a mask and practicing proper hand hygiene is important, it is equally as important that the airline is enforcing proper COVID safety protocol for all passengers.
- Get plenty of rest and go at your own pace
The holidays can be exhausting at the best of times. If you are traveling to see family this holiday season, remember to be kind to yourself as you battle exhaustion and fatigue. Your wellbeing is most important and, if that means taking it slow or even staying home this year, trust that your loved ones will understand.
When traveling this season, it’s more important than ever to take careful considerations of COVID-19 that remains a serious threat to cancer patients. Stay informed with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) travel warnings and recommendations.
Are you a frequent traveler? National Foundation for Cancer Research has partnered with several airlines to support cancer research providing donors with a win-win giving opportunity. Fly to Find a Cure is a signature fundraising program which allows frequent flyers, travel enthusiasts, and, most importantly, those who are passionate about supporting cancer research to make a real impact…with the added benefit of receiving airline miles in return!
If you’re a member of Alaska Mileage Plan, American Airlines AAdvantage, Delta SkyMiles, or United Mileage Plus, you can get 10 miles per dollar donated all year round and up to 15 miles per dollar donated during our bonus periods! Visit www.nfcr.org/miles to learn more.
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