Margaret has had Parkinson's for five years. With the right assistance in place, she has not let her condition stop her from travelling the world. Here, she shares her tips for organising trips and making the most of the time away.
Booking a holiday through a travel company or visiting a local travel agent can be very useful. Even if there are elements of your trip that you put in place yourself, they usually have good suggestions about where to stay at the best prices and how to achieve everything you want to given your specific circumstances.
When I travelled to Zimbabwe, I had to take malaria tablets, but I wasn’t sure what drug would be right for me. I called the Parkinson’s UK helpline and spoke with a Parkinson’s nurse. She helped me decide what to take and gave me valuable reassurance about that choice.
You can contact the helpline on 0808 800 0303 or email [email protected]
I always request assistance at airports and for long train journeys, or if travelling when the trains are likely to be crowded. This helps me not to worry about being somewhere at a certain time.
I book a disabled seat if I am flying. With most airlines, this is free, but be aware the airline will allocate an ‘appropriate’ seat for you. I find it’s easier getting up and out from an aisle seat, but insistence and perseverance may be needed for this to be understood!
For long stop overs, consider booking hotel accommodation within the airport to rest. Someone from passenger assistance will help you off the plane, get you through any customs or security, and take you to your room. You can then be collected from your room and taken to your connecting flight.
Be open about your Parkinson’s – people are usually very happy to help. I’m happy to tell people that sometimes I am fine to walk, while at other times, my balance is all over the place and it hard for me to cover any distance with confidence.