5 Tips for Traveling With a Brain Injury
Tips and techniques to help you travel.
Brain injury can often cause extreme anxiety in crowded situations and places where a lot of information has to be processed. Unfortunately, this is a symptom that I have experienced, and it is one that I cannot easily avoid. I find that one of the most difficult events to overcome my symptoms is traveling.
I travel both for pleasure and for medical reasons. I discuss a little of the why for putting myself through difficult situations in Battling Agoraphobia.
But in short, I put myself in situations that I can handle, to keep myself from falling into a downward spiral that will wreck my progress.
Thankfully, I have learned a few tricks of travel that help make this possible.
- Arrive Early
- Travel Light
- Online Check In
- Use Extra Boarding Time
It goes without saying that wading through security lines and looking for gates is stressful enough, without fear of missing your flight to compound the situation. I arrive early for every flight. Bringing along books and electronics will help to pass the time while I wait.
Carrying several bags through crowded lines is stressful. I practice light packing, and when I just can’t get by with a small carry on, I make sure I pack everything except the essentials in a checked bag, and then use a simple backpack for those items I can’t live without.
TSA offers a great option for reducing many of the stress inducing portions of the dreaded security lines. This does require a little work to get set up, and you have to make sure that your information is on your tickets before you get to the airport. But if you follow the rules, you generally get a quicker, easier security check experience. If you also follow the arrive early rule above, you should be able to roll with any issues that crop up here.
Online Check In
By checking in before leaving for the airport, you can usually select your seat on all of your flights and eliminate another layer of worry and stress from travel. You won’t need to go through ticket counters or kiosks (unless you need to check a bag), you can just head right to security and then the gate. This tip works for everyone who travels just try it for your next flight.
Extra Boarding Time
If you’re like me, and considered disabled under the Americans with Disabilities Act, you have the option of requesting extra boarding time from the gate counter. You will be called up before other passengers and allowed to board the flight. This extra time is excellent for allowing me to get settled and to perform a little mindfulness to prepare for the flight itself.
This isn’t without controversy. Because I don’t “look disabled” I have been discriminated against by a counter person in the past. It was a huge trigger for me, and it really wrecked that particular flight. I didn’t let it get me down long term. I continue to ask at each flight. Normally, I only experience a very friendly compliance from the staff at the desk.
I hope these tricks and tips help you to prepare yourself for flying. I use each of these trips for successful flights several times each year. Do you have other tricks that work to make travel more bearable?