Traveling After Stroke

Traveling-After-StrokeWe recently went North to see friends and family in Virginia and Connecticut. We flew to Baltimore non-stop, drove down to Virginia, and then drove up to Connecticut and back down to Baltimore to fly home. With after stroke mobility disabilities I try hard to get a nonstop flight even if it means driving a little extra from a less convenient airport. For example, Ft. Myers, our home airport does not have nonstops to many locations where we go. Instead of flying to Dulles Airport which would have been more convenient we flew to Baltimore/Washington (BWI). Then after a meeting, we drove in non-rush hour traffic over to Northern Virginia.

When flying, I always try to get an aisle seat, preferably near the front of the airplane. With Southwest, I indicate I need assistance and they give me a pre-boarding voucher. After a stroke, one always wants to do this.

When renting a car after stroke I try and rent a small or mid-size SUV. A disabled person is typically going to have less trouble getting into an SUV or Van than a sedan type car. We were traveling for eleven days so it was definitely important. Recognizing that those types of cars are more expensive I utilize Costco to rent cars. They have a search engine that allows members to compare prices among several competitors by car type. To protect our trip, I initially rent the least expensive SUV available when I book our flights. I then started checking back to see if there were price reductions as we got closer to our leaving date. Prices often change due to inventory and other factors as one gets closer to the date, sometimes going up and sometimes going down. This time we got lucky, as the price went down significantly due to what seemed like a price war between Alamo and Budget. At the end, the price for the SUV was just a few more dollars than a full sized sedan.

You have heard me say before that fitness is important to stroke recovery! When we travel we go to a fitness center nearly every day, as we did on this trip. We get a trial pass or pay for a daily or weekly pass depending on the specific situation. We always go to a venue where they have fitness classes for Debbie and a recumbent bike and other equipment for me. Typically we will look around either in person or on the internet for convenient fitness centers so as not to disturb our routine. If I don’t work out I start getting stiff within just a few days which means that my walking ability declines. That’s a no-no!

In Greenwich, CT where we went after Virginia we stay at the Hyatt Regency where we reserve a concierge level room. In my book, Stroke Victor, my after stroke book, I discussed the advantage of a concierge level room for someone with disabilities. If you wish, you can avoid going out to dinner by eating their buffet and reserve your energy for other more important or interesting things. You also get breakfast included.

Though Hyatt has disability rooms available, as do all hotels, we choose not to take advantage of this amenity because they are near the elevator, a sometimes more noisy location. That’s a personal choice as we value quiet. We have stayed at the Hyatt many times so I know that I am able to navigate the standard rooms. I get into the shower which is within a bath tub by holding on to the shower curtain bar. However, before doing so, I always assure myself that the bar is solid enough to be safe as a spot to hold on to.

These are some travel tips based on my experience for someone who has suffered a stroke but wants to live a full life! As always, these are my opinions, not medical advice.