How to Travel with Migraine: Tips and Packing List

How to travel with migraine

I often get asked how I travel with migraine. The truth is, I always have migraine. There are many ways I manage migraine. In this post, I’ll tell you a bit about how I do it. I’m not always successful, but with preparation and experience, I have learned how to deal with it better. I often have a migraine attack before, during, and after my travels. I live with chronic migraine so there is not a vacation from migraine. But that doesn’t stop me from traveling with migraine. It’s part of My Migraine Life and something I try not to let hold me back.

Recently, I took a trip and it was a doozy. I’d like to share my traveling experience with you and some tips on how to manage migraine and living with a chronic illness. I don’t have a cure or something that works for me after time, but I do have some ideas that may help.

5 Ways to Travel with Migraine

5 Ways to Avoid Migraine Attacks When Traveling

Plan Ahead

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 attack on day 2 so this was good for me.

Migraine Travel Preparation List

Travel preparation packing list

  • 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

Avoid Migraine Attacks When Traveling

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.

Links in this post may be affiliate links which means if you purchase from my link I am rewarded for my recommendation. Thank you! It helps fund my blog 🙂

Avoid Migraine Triggers

I had a few days of migraine symptoms 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 migraine triggers

Traveling Triggers

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

Adjust to Returning Home

I usually plan a day after I get home to recover. Unfortunately, that’s not always an option and sometimes that’s not long enough. Remembering to get back into my self-care routine and back to normalcy is important.

I have now had a migraine for 12 days straight with no relief.  My pain fluctuates between 4 and 7 most days but mostly is 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 the weight that makes me even more uncomfortable. 

It’s hard to describe to someone who has not lived like this. It is tough mentally as much as physically when I am in a cycle that isn’t being broken at all. For me, it’s like this wet blanket over me that I really only feel in my downtime. Priorities of my spoons are 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.

Migraine Travel Feelings 

I always get a range of emotions after I travel. Gratitude for the ability and opportunity to go. Anger at how I felt and continue to feel after. Joy from the experiences I got to live. It all is emotional and exhausting!

More Traveling with Migraine Posts

Oh the joys of traveling

One step forward two steps back

Is it OK to Take Kids Out of School for Vacation?

Weighted Travel Blanket 

travel by boat

How do you travel with migraine? 

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Sarah Rathsack

I tell stories of My Migraine Life. Living life through Migraine consists of advocacy, treatment, prevention, and searching for health and happiness in a positive honest way. My kids, husband, dog, family and friends motivate me to make a difference in the Migraine World.

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14 Comments

  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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