Fibromyalgia and travelling

Hiya me dears!

I thought I'd do a little series of 'How I deal with....' posts to do with everyday experiences with Fibromyalgia.

Today I want to talk about how I deal with travelling. This is quite apt as today I'm travelling to Plus North, which is at least a 5 hour car journey.



Buses and I are not friends. Jerky movements, standing up in the aisles, getting bounced about, it all adds up to an unhappy time for me. Given a choice of walking or catching a bus, I would always walk, even if I'm in pain. I have poor muscle control so 'putting on the toe brakes' like you do on public transport to stop you falling over is totally ineffective for me. Not many people would be happy about me landing in their laps or standing on their toes, plus the heat, noise and general sensory overload of being on a crowded bus would likely make me extremely nauseous, so it's best if I avoid buses for my sake and everyone else's.


I can do trains. They go mostly in straight lines (roundabouts make me want to barf!), tend to be chilly rather than hot (apart from in summer) and if you travel at the right time of day, you can almost guarantee getting a seat. I would of course avoid trains like the plague in rush hour.


I like cars! Providing I don't attempt to read anything whilst on the move (it causes a migraine and/or vomiting) or get in a car with a wannabe Lewis Hamilton, cars are my preferred transport of choice. Unfortunately I don't drive so I rely on my hubby to be my chauffeur, a job he usually enjoys as he knows how much I love being taken on drives. He's a good, smooth driver so he never makes me feel sick. We keep the temperature in the car on the cold side so I don't get nauseous. I always have a couple of pashminas on me which I throw over me when I get cold. Fibro folk often have problems regulating temperature so I can go from hot to cold and back again in just a few degrees. Hubby runs hotter than me anyway so he's OK with the car being a little on the cold side. I wear comfortable clothes in the car - leggings, a jersey dress and perhaps a comfy pair of boots. I tend to get quite cold feet in the car in the colder months so I prefer to wear socks and boots rather than bare feet and slip on shoes.

After dark I wear sunglasses as the oncoming lights from cars into my eyes like lasers and again that gives me a migraine and/or nausea. I must avoid using my phone to text or use social networks when we're on the move, unless I look out of the windscreen every few seconds or else - you guessed it - vomit or migraine time. As long as we schedule in rest stops to pee and for me to get the kinks out of my legs and back I can do a few hours in the car without being too crippled afterwards/the next day, but there is some damage as the vibrations from the roads do affect my body. We always have lots of water in the car, and snacks on a long drive, so we have just about all my needs covered.


I have yet to fly since I've been really ill. I last flew the year after Fibromyalgia started and I was much more well then. I'd imagine the main problems would be pain - from being crammed into a space only fit for a child and from sitting still for a long time. I'm not too keen to fly again, to be honest.

So, as you can see I avoid doing things which give me a migraine or make me nauseous. Unfortunately quite a lot of things do make me feel that way when it comes to moving from one place to another in a vehicle, but getting to see friends and family is well worth it!

Tips for travelling for other ill people

1. Keep a fleecy blanket or spare scarf in the car or in your bag. Fleece warms up really quickly next to the skin so is my favourite blanket of choice.

2. Keep water and snacks in a place where you can reach them whilst on the move.

3. If like me you have an unpredictable bladder, your emergency pee kit consists of:

Paper plates
Empty Oasis bottles or similar - the wider neck is essential
Toilet tissue and/or wet wipes
A plastic bag

Pull over to as private a place as possible. Fold a paper plate in half and make sure there's a good folded line for the pee to flow down. Place paper plate near your lady parts and the empty bottle underneath. Pee to your heart's content, making sure you won't overfill your bottle. Clean up, do the lid up nice and tightly and put everything in a waste bag until you can find a bin to dispose of everything. You can do this in or out of the car, depending on how certain you are the bottle is big enough! You can also buy She Wees and P Mates, both of which I've used many times. They both have their advantages - the She Wee is totally reusable as it's made of plastic, but the opening is too narrow for me so I end up peeing all over myself. The P Mates are made of card and can be reused a few times, but have such a wide opening they're my pee solution of choice on the go. You can also buy no-spill portable urinals, like this one. Of course, if you're a fella you can pee easily in bottles, you jammy buggers!

4. If you are a driver affected badly by oncoming headlights, see your optician for advice. As I'm just a passenger, I can avoid the problem by wearing sunglasses. I think I'm photosensitive - I have many problems with my eyes. Bright lights give me a headache and make me physically flinch away (day or night), I have poor dark-to-light adaptation in vision (which is probably why oncoming headlights feel like spears in the eyeballs) and I have really dry eyes too.

5. Rest. Travelling really takes it out of me, even if I'm just sitting in a car, so ordinarily I like to arrive the day before an event so I can have a good night's sleep beforehand. This isn't possible with Plus North so I'm just going to have to wing it! If you're a passenger and need to sleep in the car, having a blow up travel pillow in the glove box is a good idea. I generally fall asleep sitting up (I'm like a baby, as soon as there's movement I find it very easy to sleep) but I also use one of my spare scarves as a pillow if needed.

Fibro folk, what are your tips for travelling with Fibromyalgia?

Thanks for reading!
Leah xoxo

No comments