Travelling this summer

Visiting family, going on a road trip or flying halfway across the world? For most of us, the thought of being sat in a car, bus or plane for hours on end can be daunting. These few travel tips for those with lymphoedema should make the journey more comfortable, leaving more time to dream about your impending destination.

  • For long car/coach/train journeys or air travel, always wear your compression garment. It is recommended that you at least apply your compression garment a few hours before travelling, then wear it during travel and for a few hours after you have finished your journey
  • During long car or coach journeys, plan regular stops so that you can get out, take a walk around and exercise your limbs 
  • If you are travelling on a train or plane, move around when the opportunity arises and do some gentle stretching exercises
  • Ask your healthcare professional which exercises might help when travelling. Some suggestions are:
  1. circle your feet regularly, one way and then the other
  2. pull your foot up towards you and then point your toes to the floor and repeat several times
  3. moving the limb including the fingers and toes helps the general circulation and the lymphatic flow
  • Sitting cramped up is not good for the circulation. Try to book an aisle seat so you have more room to move
  • Do not store your bags and coats around your affected limb
  • Be careful not to cross your legs over each other and do not restrict the movement at your groin. Relax and let both legs rest on the floor
  • When on a plane, if you do not already wear compression garments on your legs, wear flight socks that fit well and do not cut in. Your GP or healthcare professional can give you advice if you cannot find a pair that fit
  • Use a suitcase with wheels or use a luggage trolley. This can be easier than carrying a heavy bag
  • Avoid lifting and pulling heavy luggage with your affected/at risk arm. Ask someone to help or, if there is no one available, use both arms equally to take the weight of the luggage
  • Do not have heavy bags slung over one shoulder, distribute the weight of the bag evenly
  • Wear loose-fitting clothes and shoes, making your journey as comfortable as possible. Read the recent blog on footwear 
  • We recommend you speak to your healthcare professional if you have lymphoedema, or are at risk of developing lymphoedema, before embarking on a long journey or flying

Look out for the next blog in this series about travel and holidays. In the meantime, if you have any travel tips or experiences about coping with your swelling whilst away, then please share them with others in the forum on the LymphConnect platform. 

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