How to Travel with Migraine


How do I travel with migraine? After my Lessons your children learn or miss on vacation, I was asked how I can travel with a chronic illness.  Not easily, is my answer.


Self Care: I saw 3 doctors the week before I left.  I was on a 20 day antibiotic and was taking sinus medication. With that, I had acupuncture, got a massage, made trips to the pharmacy and made a follow up the week I returned home.  Preventative treatment care is crucial! I was able to make it until day 4 before my migraine spiked.  Typically, I get a migraine on day 2 so this was good for me.

Before I Travel I Focus on

  • Appointments with doctors and therapists
  • Refilling medication
  • Good sleep routine
  • Controlling my diet
  • Exercising Regularly
  • Managing Stress
  • Making Lists
  • Giving time to pack
  • Make Copies of travel documents, insurance and doctor’s note

Pack a Migraine Bag

I had a suitcase and carry on filled with natural products that I use.  I didn’t take a picture but check out my migraine reviews and it will give you a good idea of some things in my purse.

Migraines and Flying

I had a few days of migraine but only my evenings were consumed with pain.  I was able to stop a level 7/8 from going to a 10 and was able to enjoy the next day at a reasonable level with varying symptoms.  These are all victories for me!! I battle many triggers while traveling.

Traveling Triggers

  • Stress
  • Jet Lag
  • Loud Noises
  • Ear Pressure
  • Lack of Movement
  • Strong Odors
  • Dehydration
  • Diet
  • Weather
  • Alcohol

Returning Home

I have now had a migraine for 12 days straight with no relief.  My pain fluctuates between a 4 and 7 most days but mostly is a constant never ending full body fatigue and heightened stimulus sensitivity with brain pains. My cravings have been out of control and I’ve been packing on weight that makes me even more uncomfortable. 

It’s hard to describe to a non-sufferer, but I’ll just say it’s tough mentally as much as physically when I am in a cycle that isn’t being broken at all. It’s just this wet blanket over me that I really only feel in my down time.  I’m a busy teacher and mom and have been able to do these well but the second I need to do anything other than childcare, I just don’t have it in me. 

spoon theory and migraine

Priorities of my spoons is the best way I can describe it.  I had to cancel plans this week, was like a rag doll this weekend and generally just felt crappy since I’ve been home.

Traveling comes at a huge cost for me but one I’m willing to pay.  When I live with a migraine daily, traveling and spiking it seems bad but I’d rather get a few days of glory than a week missed in my hole.

After Travel I Feel…. 

Oh the joys of traveling

One step forward two steps back

When everything stops working

travel with migraine

How do you travel with migraine? 

Sarah Rathsack

I tell stories of My Migraine Life. I'm a mom, wife, teacher, and chronic migraine sufferer. I tell my stories and advocate in my life searching for health in a positive honest way.
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  1. Jayne on February 5, 2017 at 10:13 pm

    Good on you for getting out there. I feel like I’m slowly becoming a hermit because the social imposte on my adrenaline levels, headaches and fatigue are just getting too much currently. So I’m in complete admiration of you. Hopefully when I get things a bit more under control I will be joining you (metaphorically speaking!). You probably wouldnt want me in your luggage ????

  2. mymigrainelife on February 5, 2017 at 10:17 pm

    A vacation doesn’t have to be someplace far. I’m sorry you are struggling right now. Maybe think of a place you can go locally just to feel like you’ve gotten away. I’ve been in hermit mode since I got home so you aren’t alone. It takes small slow steps to feel better. I hope you get you vacation soon! Health and hugs your way 🙂

  3. mymeenalife on February 5, 2017 at 10:22 pm

    I am the same – I just bear the pain and am thankful for the experience. I also only travel to places that I really, really want to see.

  4. katiefromboston on February 9, 2017 at 10:27 am

    Wow good for you for staying positive! I suffered from chronic migraines when I was younger and I know how hard it can be to function. Keep it up you’re an inspiration!

  5. mymigrainelife on February 9, 2017 at 11:02 am

    Thank you for you kind words!

  6. asouthernceliac on February 10, 2017 at 10:09 am

    I do a lot of traveling for my job. It’s hard, but it’s a lot of fun. I have to be careful to pace myself and only do things I really want to do.

  7. Lisa Ehrman on February 10, 2017 at 10:56 am

    I’m glad you made it through and were still able to enjoy the trip. My migraines don’t always hit me on a trip, so I’m thankful when that is the case.

  8. 3sistersabroad on February 13, 2017 at 5:30 pm

    Great Post.

  9. mymigrainelife on February 13, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    Thank you!

  10. 3sistersabroad on February 13, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    your welcome…

  11. 3sistersabroad on February 13, 2017 at 10:31 pm

    I took a swag of drugs to travel with. My back pack was full of pain killers, antibiotics etc…I can’t be too careful with a lung disease. and asthma ….but I did it…

  12. mymigrainelife on February 15, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    I hope you had a great time!

  13. 3sistersabroad on February 15, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    I did thank you ????

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