Here We Go: Planning a Family Vacation with CF
Family vacations are meant to be filled with fun, excitement, close bonding, and laughter. Being someone who does not have CF, I had a very different view on how planning of vacations went. I would pack the night before and just go. I wouldn't think about meds, food, breaks, itineraries, etc. Since marrying my spouse, Cheriz, I have a new picture of what vacationing looks like. Things need to be discussed and planned out so she can have the best time, as well as the rest of the family.
Tips to tackle traveling with CF
Cheriz has a very "type A" personality. She is organized, structured, and knows what she wants. I, on the other hand, have always been a fly by my seat sort of person; laid back and at times disorganized. You can see where we butt heads right? If there is one thing I have learned from Cheriz (don't tell her anything you have read), it is how to prepare for trips to make them the most enjoyable they can be. Here are some different tips on how to tackle traveling with someone with CF:
Ok, so this is probably obvious right? Wrong. I can't tell you how many times we have run around doing fun things, and have not eaten anything. If your spouse is anything like my spouse, they start to get "hangry," and it happens in the blink of an eye. You remember those Snickers commercials? That commercial was the most accurate depiction of Cheriz that I have encountered.
Imagine one second you are having a great time walking through a museum, or a zoo, or a Frank Lloyd Wright house (Cheriz's favorite), and then the next second, you are staring down a lioness who is super upset and you don't know why. To avoid this, we now make sure we build food into our itinerary. We also make sure to have a couple extra snackies in the car with us; just in case hunger wakes the dragon. Usually, we try and put some kind of food, whether it be actual sit down places or quick snack shops, in between all stops.
Like food, remembering to drink something can easily be forgotten. This is almost worse than not eating. I cant tell you the times I have come home from work, and Cheriz is laying on the couch after a really long day being a rockstar (cleaning, watching our kiddo, laundry, managing her at-home job, etc.) and she is completely spent. I can usually tell that she hasn't drank anything all day if there isn't a cup of Gatorade in front of her!
Not drinking for anyone can really dehydrate you. but it is even worse for someone who has CF. It literally drains all energy from them, and does not give to a very fun day. On long trips, we usually make sure there is a 6 pack of Gatorade in the car. We also bring our bulk powdered mix as well; that way we are in the clear if we need to make some in a pinch.
Have a plan
I stated earlier that I am NOT a planner, and I fly by the seat of my pants. This, and traveling with someone who has CF, does not mix very well. Now I am not saying that you have to have a printed out itinerary (although Cheriz would probably love that for every trip we take), but you do need to make sure you have a loose plan for the day. Not only for food and drinks, but also for getting meds done as well. If your CFer is like Cheriz, they will need to do hours of meds throughout the day. Cheriz does two main treatments in the morning and at night that last around an hour. It doesn't seem like a long time, but it can cut out chunks of your day.
We usually use the morning treatments to plan out the rest of the day. We talk about what we want to do for sure, and then plan out other activities we can do if we have time. If we are centralized in the same area as our hotel, we may even carve out a little bit of time for a nap. Walking, heat, and excitement all take a lot out of anyone. They tend to affect Cheriz a little more, so it is important to realize that you may need to rest a little bit. If you are going on long trips, a rest day might even be needed; a little shopping and then relaxing by the pool day!
We love to travel and do fun trips, and over the years we have learned how to do them right. A little planning is all it takes to make sure your trip is a success. Remember, no one wants to wake the dragon!
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