8 tips to make travelling with hypermobility more bearable

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I have always been hypermobile, only I didn’t know that until after I had a baby. During my pregnancy I was in severe amounts of pain every single day. The kind of pain that puts you on bed rest, taking strong and debilitating painkillers on a regular basis just to take the edge off the pain. I never imagined being able to lift my son, or simply do the housework ever again. I never imagined I’d be able to sit here and let you all know that I found ways to make travelling with hypermobility more bearable…

Tip read: How to find the cheapest flights

1. Break up the flights

If you are travelling long-haul consider taking the longer layover options. I love this because it also lets you see another country, usually for free. If you happen to do this in Qatar you can get free tours, visas and/or a hotel for the night. Over at Thrifty Nomads they have a great article about 7 airports that offer this kind of service. You should check it out and see if you can use the free tours to take advantage of a long layover at no extra cost to you.

Click here to find cheap flights with a layover in Qatar

Tip read: Travel the world using the layover hack

2. Keep your painkillers handy

My big mistake going to Thailand was leaving my pain medication at home. This made travelling with hypermobility a lot more difficult, and a lot more painful than it needed to be. I remember one specific day on the back of a bike on Koh Samui where I ended up in tears because my hips had separated so much. I like to now keep mine in a cute little zipper bag that I can grab easily and know they are there when I need them.

travelling with hypermobility
Keep your medication handy

My suggestion would be to keep some painkillers handy in your hand luggage. Flights are probably going to be one of your toughest parts of your travels with all the sitting down, so make sure you have them somewhere you can get to them easily. An extra tip is to make sure you bring a note from your doctor or a copy of the prescription because I have heard of airport security taking medication from people who cannot prove they are theirs. Play it safe.

Click here to find cheap flights using Skyscanner

3. Bring a pillow

You know those ring cushions that people use to be able to fall asleep in cars or on planes? Have you ever considered using it as a seat. My hypermobility has caused damaged to my coccyx and having a cushion that can take all of the pressure off that is a complete blessing. We picked up one each cheap on Khao San Road but you can get one at almost any airport.

travelling with hypermobility
Bring a pillow for those long journeys

You can also opt for a kids pillow. They are really tiny because they are designed for a cot. It is easily portable and well worth it if your pain is that bad. Airlines like Qatar Airways also offer out pillows for use on your flight, so if you only need it for the plane, they’ve got you covered.

4. Take a sleeper train

If you are travelling in Asia and have considered the night bus. Don’t. If it comes between taking a sleeper train and a night bus take the train. The bus is great if you want to save money, and I am sure there are some way more luxurious than the ‘VIP’ bus we took from Bangkok to Surat Thani… but the whole point of a bus is you sit.

Tip read: Sleeper train from Koh Samui to Bangkok

travelling with hypermobility
Choose the sleeper train over a night bus

I found the bus journey quite tough, the pain got to me a lot and brought out a lot of emotion in me. The train was a completely different experience. We chose first class, which in the UK would compare to third class, but it was really comfortable. We had a bed each and I could lie down with plenty of space and room to stretch. I went for the bottom bunk to save my climbing ladders too which really helped.

Click here to get the best priced travel money on the internet

David napping on the sleeper train

5. Walk less

If you happen to be in Asia you should take advantage of the cheap transportation. We hopped in Tuk Tuks often and used the local songthaew which is the Thai version of local buses. They are open back pickups with benches lined on the inside. They are usually 20 bhat, unless you are unaware of this and you will be scammed into paying more. But it is still super cheap.

travelling with hypermobility
Walk less, ride more

The days where I walked too much I was in pain. The same went for spending more time on a motorbike. Using the taxis, Tuk Tuks and songthaew was a great alternative and they don’t mind whisking you about for short journeys. So there is no need to feel guilty if you cannot walk a lot.

6. Alternative pain relief

I mentioned above about taking painkillers with you. There are only so many painkillers you can take in a day so its a good idea to have an alternative. I like Forever Livings heat gel because it really gets down into the muscles and numbs the pain quickly.

travelling with hypermobility
The heat lotion

I like to use a mix of this with their MSM gel (which is also great for people with arthritic pain) because you can use them as often as you want throughout the day. You can order online and they have product centres all over the world so you can really get it from anywhere you need to. I liked the pain relief so much I actually represent them now and have my own online store so I earn money back/get a discount on my pain relief gels.

Tip read: How to beat jetlag: To sleep or not to sleep?

7. Massage

If you are in Asia another cheap way to fight the pain is to get massages. Back in the UK I pay for a monthly sports massage to keep everything in order. I will carry this on when I am back in Asia and I can do it more often because of the cost.

traveling with hypermobility
Get regular massages

You can even seek sports therapists through local Facebook groups if you want your treatment to be more targeted.

Click here to get £30 AirBnb credit for your next trip

8. Swim

Hydrotherapy is one of the main treatments in the UK for those who suffer hypermobility in their hips. I used it regularly after giving birth and it helped to strengthen places where I had weakness. This was more exercise than swimming but the water still takes the pressure off the parts of your body which are struggling.

traveling with hypermobility
Relax in the pool to take off the pressure

I always take a dip in the water when my pain is increasing. It helps keep it at bay and take pressure off the parts of my body which are struggling.

Tip read: Our first three months of family travel: Travel plans Asia

How do you cope with your chronic pain when you travel?

 Learn how you can make travelling with hypermobility less painful #travel #spd #pgp
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Travelling with hypermobility and chronic pain is not easy, learn how to make it easier here #travel #spd #pgp
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  • What exactly is hypermobile? Seems like a right pain in your ass! These are really good tips and tricks for anyone that’s out and about travelling. I love the cheap massages in Asia.

    • Hahah well it is loose muscles affecting any joints but for me it’s my hips and back and so yes it ends up as a literal pain in my ass!! Hahaha

  • I had no idea that something like hypermobility even existed! The worst ive got was a footache, but that definitely cannot be compared to joint pains! And a Thai massage solves it all! Sharing this with friends.

  • Really very helpful tips for people like me. I always prefer sleeper train for long travels. Walk less is also I prefer by hiring local transport and interacting with locals also.

  • I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to travel with chronic illness. Although, I think breaking up flights and taking the sleeper train is good advice for anyone. We took a night bus once – never again!

  • Breaking up the flight is the best advice you can give to anyone and most airlines these days really accommodate this by offering layover extensions Then of course the pillow isa great thing to consider as not all airlines will offer that!

  • Great tips for traveling with a chronic illness, although I did have to google what exactly hypermobility is. Good for you that you have learnt the best ways to manage the illness without it preventing you from doing the things you love.

  • Natasha- interesting read! I’d never even heard of hypermobility before. However, I do get motion sickness and many of your points hold true for me too; although I prefer to only take non-stop, direct flights. Thanks for sharing!

  • Thank you for educating me on hypermobility. I am sure other travelers who deal with this issue will appreciate all your travel tips and be encouraged by your story. Keep it up! 🙂

  • Getting a massage while travelling is one of the best therapeutic experience if you have back issues. I agree with on taking on sleeper trains rather travelling in bus for a long journey, it helps you reach your destinationin a much better condition. Really great tips, going to share it with couple of my friends who find it hard to travel long distance. Thanks for sharing.

  • I have never heard about hypermobility before, but it sounds painstakingly awful. Hats off to you – it’s wonderful that this hasn’t stopped your passion for traveling and sense of adventure! I thought you gave excellent tips on how to make a trip with chronic disease more bearable and included some pretty awesome products. I am totally getting some of that heat gel for muscle pain…usually caused by too much walking, haha!

  • I’m not exactly sure what hypermobility is (rushes over to WebMD…) but I can’t even begin to imagine how travelling with a chronic illness must be. Long haul is hard enough when you’re entirely “healthy”, so kudos to you for making it manageable! And there are some great tips here — my mother suffered with MS and she used to swear by a lot of the tips you mentioned.

  • Very positive outlook to travellers. I liked that any disability must not let travelers stop traveling. You have some great suggestions. Break up flights and overnight trains are some fantastic suggestions. This post can be a motivator to sometime who is suffering from this

  • I did not even know what hypermobility was until I saw this post. But it seems that it can make life difficult and especially for travellers this is not an enviable condition. You must have helped a lot of people by sharing these tips using your own experience.

  • It sounds so painful. I am glad that you are equipped with preventive measures about your hypermobility. You have some tips that are also applicable for anyone who wants to feel comfortable when traveling. I would prefer to take the sleeper train rather than the bus. I have experienced sleeping on a bus a lot of times and it was not a good feeling.

  • These are great tips for travelling in countries in Asia. Traveling by trains on long journeys is more comfortable than buses for sure. I had never heard of the hypermobility, but now i have just added it to my brain. Nice Read. 🙂

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