Traveling with Endometriosis
Updated: Mar 1, 2022
Katie McIntosh is a travel blogger who creates practical travel guides to help other people with chronic illnesses gain the confidence to travel the world.”
Listen to the episode here or read the script below!
Today's guest on my The Special Needs Travel Podcast is Katie McIntosh, Can you please introduce yourself?
My name is Katie and owner of The Katie Show Blog.
My blog is a travel blog that focuses on practical, real talk guides to help people plan their own trips.
I also focus on sharing my experiences with Endometriosis to spread awareness and help others overcome it to travel as well.
I've had the unique chance of slowly talking with folks with chronic illnesses that are still traveling regardless of that challenge can you please share with us what your chronic illness is and what are the limitations involved with this illness?
My illness is Endometriosis or Endo for short.
About Endo - uterus moving to other parts of the body but still acts as uterus so internal bleeding, pain inflammation, etc. Other symptoms, bloating, fatigue, infertility, brain fog.
Flare-ups - it comes and goes and gets triggered by different things for different people.
Limitations - hard to get through anything when you’re in severe pain, difficult to focus on work, difficult to be present with people, hard to manage daily tasks.
Psychology might be harder because can feel like a burden on others, or that you can’t rest because you look “normal” on the outside.
What are some things you need to consider before you travel? Do you travel with travel insurance?
Always insurance, even if you don’t have a disease that’s always a good idea.
My considerations - my own management of the disease. I focus on being prepared with the things I have that help me if Endo flares up, listen to my body (most important) and rest if needed, limit things that trigger it as much as possible.
I have my own routines now but it was a lot of trial and error to get there.
What are some recommendations you give someone that is traveling for the first time with a chronic illness?
You know your body better than anyone so listen to it and be open to learning. It’s going to be a process of trial and error.
Don’t stress about having a perfect trip, be in the experience and ride the waves of sometimes it’s amazing and sometimes it’s very challenging.
Practical advice - research what you need for customs if traveling with medication, have emergency numbers in your phone, always have spare period products with you.
I know that you book your own vacation yourself but if you were working with a travel advisor what would be some things you'd want to discuss with them when considering your illness?
Hotel with a good location - if a flare-up strikes even talking becomes a marathon. I want a hotel that allows me to easily get to and from the main sights, either walking distance or close to public transport.
I really like a comfortable hotel because if I get a flare-up, a quiet room and nice bed become heaven.
I’d want to know how easy it is to get around the city or destination - is public transport reliable, is it relatively safe to walk, etc.
What has your experience been while traveling with a chronic illness?
My experience has been fantastic.
Very challenging at times and there have been hard times, but overall I wouldn’t change anything.
I’ve been able to overcome my own limits, empowered to have chosen to make the best of what I have been dealt with, grateful for the experiences.
Quickfire questions What has been your least favorite destination to date?
What has been your favorite destination to date?
What is one place you want to visit?
What is one tip you'd give for someone traveling with a chronic illness?
Don’t let having the illness stop you because you’re just as deserving of travel experiences.
But… listen to your body, if it needs rest then you need to take care of it, have realistic expectations, and enjoy it - you deserve it!
How many places have you traveled to thus far?
I don’t know a number but I’d say fairly well-traveled.