Tips on Traveling With Your PANDAS ChildNov 02, 2020
At the time of this post, we are in the midst of COVID-19 so it's safe to say that this summer is unlike any other! While many of us have cancelled travel plans, I know some of you are still planning on taking a summer trip of some sort.
Looking back on our travel memories
Thinking about summer vacation brought back memories of traveling with my PANS child when she was young. Some of the memories are amazing and some of the memories are unpleasant to say the least! The good memories include playing in the ocean, building sand castles and buying fun souvenirs. The painful memories include not having supplies that we needed to keep our PANS life running smoothly, trying to survive the car ride and struggling to get sleep when being away from home.
Here's a few stories that you may be able to relate to:
In order to bring all the food we needed on trips we actually bought an enormous cooler and an attachment to haul it with our car! I can laugh now about this, but this sure didn't feel funny at the time! We also had to bring a special folding table that my daughter insisted on using for various tasks, including going to the bathroom (can you "spot" the OCD here?). Then on one trip, we forgot my daughter's blankie (fondly named "leelee", short for blankie) and had to turn around to get back and get it after already driving 2 hours towards our destination!
The silver lining to these difficult memories is that now I'm able to share some tips on traveling with your PANS.
3 Tips for Traveling with PANS children
- Create checklists of what to bring. As PANS parents we usually have A LOT to bring with us when traveling. Create checklists of medications and supplements to bring, food items (if your PANS child is on a special diet) , and other items you know your PANS child can't do without.
- Plan for the car ride, even if it's the car ride to the airport! Car rides are often difficult for PANS kids, so have ideas in mind to soothe and occupy your PANS child en route to vacation. Watching videos helped my child, having snacks available, and playing games such as "I Spy" or the license plate game made the time go faster.
- Ensure sleep while on vacation! Nothing can ruin a vacation faster than not getting enough sleep. One way we do this is by booking a suite so that my husband who snores is in a separate room, and second, we always bring a white noise machine. The white noise machine helps drown out any noises that might keep you and your PANS child awake. Also, as a side note, the extra benefit of booking a suite is that we had a kitchen and a fridge for special dietary needs,
If you enjoyed these tips and are in need of a community that you can come to for more advice, I have a private free Facebook group. You can join here.