Below is a list of travelling tips that I have acquired from a range of sources and experiences. Each time I visit a new location I will update this (EDIT) list with more tips as I go:
Bug spray and mosquito nets – a basic bug spray just doesn’t cut it. Go to Boots, purchase a spray with a minimum 50% deet. You can buy more concentrated formulas abroad but be careful, the stronger the spray the more likely it is to react to your sensitive skin.
Your garment will not protect you from bug bites. Look closely. Notice that you can still see your skin? You need to spray your skin and the garment itself. Mosquito nets are also a great idea especially in tropical climates.
Cover up – bug bites and sunburn. For the former, see what I just wrote. For the latter trust me, it’s not worth it. I love the sun. Not only does it enable my existence but also it gives me a wonderful glow worthy of an Athenian. However, if you do get burnt it’ll take longer to heal, it will aggravate your Lymphoedema, and could turn into a nasty infection. I repeat, not worth it.
Buy yourself some neat loose fitting, linen or cotton trousers just like your most stereotypical traveller ever. They’re comfy, and not only will they protect your legs, they’ll keep them cooler too.
My Lymphoedema is located in the lower half of my body, so I can’t advise from experience what garments are best suited to those with Lymphoedema in the upper body. If you have any suggestions, please send them my way!
Antibiotics – this is the most essential one on the list. If you don’t have these, don’t go.
In the UK the most commonly prescribed skin infection antibiotic is Flucloxacillin, but there are others too. In an ideal world you would only take one travelling, but such is the nature of Lymphoedema, and such is the risk of Cellulitis, that you’ll want more than one type just in case you are going travelling for a longer amount of time.
EDIT: have your doctor prescribe an additional course of phenoxymethylpenicillin (or pen-v for short). According to doc it’s more effective.
This is not a joke. You need antibiotics. Also, make sure they’re in date before you go gallivanting across the globe.
Doctor’s note – have your doctor write out the necessary actions should you get infected. This note should explain what your condition is and what your current situation is. Then, translate this note into the languages of the countries you are visiting. That way, if you end up in a hospital bed, you are not using Google translate to explain your incredibly complicated condition at four in the morning. You’ll want back ups too. Take a picture of the letters and maybe even type them up and email them to your self.
Medical kit – keep your medicines and tools in one clearly labelled Medical box or you’ll lose them. Antibiotics, plasters, anti-bac wipes, aloe vera gel and painkillers form my basic travelling kit.
A light towel – if you are going to a hot country your limb might struggle with the climate. Dampening a towel with cold water and wrapping it around said limb is a really soothing remedy. Alternatively, Medi do a neat cooling spray which does a similar job.
Minimum two garments – this way you can wear one while you wash one. I’d recommend Medi as their stockings don’t react with bug spray.
Lymphoedema wristband – order one of these bad boys, that way if your Lymphoedema is in a bad way, you can let your wrist do the talking.
Beach shoes – we all like the feeling of sand under our feet, but if you’re going to be running into the ocean Hoff style then I would recommend a pair of waterproof beach shoes as a layer of protection from rocks, shells, sea urchins and other such spiky things.
EDIT: it took one visit to the beach to learn how annoying garments ft. sand can be. I decided to take the garment off upon arrival and keep one stocking dedicated (mark with pen on label) to beach days.
Alcohol/substances – it’s your responsibility not to become a liability. I enjoy a glass of wine or five like we all do but as your hangover likes to remind you, boozing is dehydrating. Be smart, drink plenty of water and watch out for drinking under the sun – it’s a double whammy of dehydration.
Aloe gel – I use this everyday without fail. Get some 99.9% pure gel and apply it between your toes. Keeps things nice and healthy and lasts ages!
Spare socks – depending on where you are in the world, you might be required to take your sandals off. Bring some spare socks in your rucksack to protect your feet during daytime temple visits etc.
If you have any neat tips to share please send to me at email@example.com