Road trip: tips and tricks for traveling.

After months of not feeling well and not having the energy to do much of anything, I had a nearly three week streak of feeling good! Will and I decided to take advantage of my strength and energy by going on a road trip to Austin, TX. We traveled from Alabama to meet my sister and brother in law. The trip was incredible, including the best meal of my life, live music, and lots of quality family time!

Me with a mocktail

Overall I felt great for the whole trip. I was worried about dehydration due to changes in diet and more activity, but I stayed diligent in drinking water and finding healthy foods even when stopping quickly on the road.

It was such a wonderful experience to be out with my husband and family. Seeing Will and my brother in law, Robert, get along so well made my heart happy! Spending time with my sister, Shawna, brightened my spirits and inspired me.

The Saylers and Winfrees

We traveled with Walter, my service animal, which was so rewarding, but also came with unique challenges – some of which I had not anticipated fully. In this post I will discuss tips for traveling with a service dog, keys to successfully staying healthy while traveling, and important things to remember when you have an ostomy.

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Walter and Diglett at a rest stop.

Ostomy & medical tips:

An ostomy should never hold you back from doing the things you want to do to. That is especially true for traveling! My ostomy actually allows me the freedom to go different places, eat new foods, and experience different environments without the fear of problems. There are some very important things to remember when traveling with an ostomy, however. The three most important things I strive to do is hydrate with water often, bring extra ostomy supplies, and always listen to my body.

First, and foremost, HYDRATION IS KEY. On a normal day an ostomate should take in over two liters of water. But the stress of travel on your body and changes in diet can result in dehydration quickly. Drink at least two liters, but increase that amount if you feel lightheaded, weak, or notice your output thinning. Avoid alcohol, as it accelerates dehydration in the body.

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Myself with the most important thing: WATER!

Next, make sure to have enough supplies for the length of your stay. I always bring extra bags and wafers in case of an emergency leak. If you will be in the ocean or pool bring even more, as the prolonged soaking and/or chemicals in the water can wear out your bag faster. Luckily I did not have to change my wafer at all over the trip, but did replace my bag once.

On a related note, bring extra medication in case your trip gets delayed. I also recommend bringing some PRN medicines, such as nausea and pain medication, in case something arises. Due to the change in diet, over the course of five days I needed several doses of Zofran. It truly was a life-saver.

Super important: WASH YOUR HANDS AND USE HAND SANITIZER. This is sound advice even when you are not traveling, but especially if you are going to be in more public places during your trip. Rest areas are used by hundreds of people a day and are crawling with germs. In order to avoid picking up a virus, wash your hands often.

Service dog tips:

• Bring any documentation for your service animal you have in case the hotel requires it.

• Travel with a crate so you can board the animal if necessary.

• Have a travel water bowl that you fill up multiple times a day, especially if it is hot outside or you are walking more than usual.

• If driving, stop often to let your animal go to the bathroom and walk them at least 15 minutes each time. Traveling in a crate for long distances can be stressful on a dog. In my experience, most rest stops have a grassy area suitable for walking dogs.

• Remember that if you are in a new place your dog may need time to adjust to the new smells, people, and environment. They may become overwhelmed. So, listen to your dog and be patient throughout the trip.

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Walter at Waffle House.
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Feeding Walter at a rest stop.
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Walter in the hotel.
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Walter on a walk through Austin.
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Will with Walter at The Salt Lick BBQ.

I would recommend Austin to anyone looking for an exciting weekend. We enjoyed all the wonderful food, including my favorites III Forks Austin and the Salt Lick BBQ. We sang and danced at Darwin’s Dueling Piano Bar. But most of all we just enjoyed each others company. I miss the Saylers already and look forward to our next trip.

For now, I will stay on fluids and rest for the next week because this trip was a lot! But in the best way possible.

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