Hitting the Open Road with Parkinson's - PMD Alliance

Traveling with Parkinson’s


For 16 years, my husband and I lived in an RV and traveled across the United States. We slept in our own bed, the pantry and fridge were always stocked, and our clothes were in the closet. We took our ‘home’ with us. We crisscrossed the country, southern areas in winter, elsewhere the rest of the year and it was a wonderful life. For most of those 16 years, I had Parkinson’s, although I didn’t know it.

When we were on the road, I drove and my husband, Sal navigated. As my symptoms got worse, it became more difficult for me to drive a big truck towing a camper. Finally, we decided to sell our RV and move into a house. Two years later, I finally had to stop driving. Afterwards, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and as I started taking my medications, most of my symptoms disappeared, but not enough to buy another RV.

Our winters are mild in Yuma, so RV’ers from all over the United States and Canada come here to escape the cold. Those who have Parkinson’s are in the passenger seats, not driving, but enjoying the views. They like it for the same reasons we did!

Now, when we travel, we choose to stay in hotels.

Here are just a few tips for traveling with Parkinson’s:

If driving, take your own pillows with you, it will help you sleep better.

Pack several night lights. Plug them in the hotel room outlets. Rooms are notoriously dark, and this will light the way to the bathroom.

Use the extra hotel pillows to ‘pad’ the sharp furniture corners. The bright white pillows show up in the dark and trust me, breaking your foot on a table leg is not fun.

Take extra medication with you. I always make sure I have at least two weeks extra.

Pack some favorite snacks. Be sure to drink plenty of water, make frequent stops to get out of the car and walk around. Relax and enjoy yourself.

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