Go Back   ISPINE.ORG Forum > Travel forums > German Travel (for international patients)
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

German Travel (for international patients) Discuss Travel Tips I have learned in the Travel forums forums; Hello all, I am new here so not sure where to post. I see questions regarding travel and people have ...

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1 (permalink)  
Old 04-28-2009, 12:19 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 138
Default Travel Tips I have learned

Hello all, I am new here so not sure where to post. I see questions regarding travel and people have interesting different tips they have given. Here are some that I have used over the years.

For long travel...also on plane. I bring a donut to sit on for long flights...Got mine a Long's drugs or local discount drug store. I put this in a thin black bag so no one can see it's a donut to sit on. Sometimes when I forget the donut, I grab a pillow. I sometimes take a cheap pillow, throw it out so I'm not dragging it around on the trip and get another one for the flight back.

I try to bring a something light I can lie down on wherever I'm travelling..an old coat. I no longer try to "tough it out". I find a good place to lie down when I'm waiting for the plane. Near your gate might be an empty or "less" full gate where it's better to lie down.

If connecting in an unfamiliar airport, try to find out how far the gate you need to get to is "before" you start on your walk. That walk could wind up to be a long way. You might want to have help or have someone drive a cart with you in it.

I'm no stranger to lying down at airports, train stations, lying down in cars, etc. Sometimes I book a flight on a day where there is less travel thereby giving me more possibility of having 3 seats across. I've been stuck in the Singapore airport unable to move as well as stuck in Ecuador. U name it, I've done it.

If travelling through customs sometimes it's good to have a letter from your doctor describing your meds and why you take them in the appropriate language. I was once stuck at the border at Chile/Bolivia waiting in a llama hut while someone tried to translate my letter of medications to the customs people. I love llamas but they smell.

Do you have a "dissability" tag for driving? I bring this and show it to them when I check in. I ask for last minute upgrades...show them my brace, anything I can do to get help. I'm not shy. I was bumped for free on Virgin from JFK to Germany for free to first class at the last minute. I didn't feel too guilty was recouping also from cancer...it Saved my life. I had to wait but I told them anything they could help me with was tremendously appreciated.

I let people know the minute I check in I might need help with seating. Tell them later and they may not be able to help you. I'm very very very nice to everyone who works at the airlines etc. My grandfather said "you catch more flies with honey than vinegar". In all my travel this has been true for me. A steward/ess thats treated well you can make or break a flight...or an free upgrade.

I often try to sit not too far from the rear of plane so i can get up and stand a lot...this is personal preference. Remember how long they take to get that drinking cart down the aisle. I also understand why people don't want to be at the end of the plane...doesn't smell great and not the best place if trouble with flying etc.

When travelling internationally I often spend one night in a place to break it up...takes longer to get there but less painful. I always keep water and trail bars to help take meds.

I split up my meds in case I lose or someone takes my bag. I've lost meds on flights before. I put name and cell phone written in bag...taped whatever works with "reward" sign on it. I once had ALL my meds returned to me.

I count my number of bags as I go so I don't lose anything. At every stop, one, two, three. Make sure they are all there at every step. I one left my meds in a black bag on top of a garbage can. If it wasn't for my cell phone going off I would have left it. That's why I now count. I get really tired when I'm hurting and can't think as clearly.

I always "duplicate" all paper files I am bringing on the compter. I'll send myself an email that way if I lose anything all I have to do it get it again is to go on my email. I put all copies of travel files in a travel folder or appropriate folder where I can get my email. This can save tons of money if you have to change travel plans or lose anything.

If your paying out of pocket for surgery and have catastrophic insurance or even an HMO, make sure you have all the "forms" your insurance company would need if you need any emergency medical care after the surgery that they might cover. Sometimes having the right form can "make it" or "break it" in terms of insurance rules/laws.

Waiting till the last minute to get on the plane can lessen your time waiting on the plane. I go on last. If you need special assistance....this may not work. It can be those 20 minutes you save here and there standing and waiting than can really decrease your pain. Proof of disability if you have it can help in many different places.

In planning my own surgery I am going to opt I think for a wheelchair. U can call the airline to set this up before hand. You might not want to sit, but you might not want to stand waiting with a bag fighting with other patients in line dragging your bag or just standing even. Also with a wheelchair sometimes you won't have to do a long long wait. I'm no longer a hero.

I find it's the waiting that is hardest when I travel. The "unexpected" time delays that are hardest.

I've been to every continent since my accident. I wouldn't recommend it to other people but somehow I managed....and often with the help of amazing strangers. Certain airlines have better reputations for service (if at all) than others. I hope this may help. Thanks.

Reply With Quote
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 10-17-2009, 12:16 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Sydney Australia
Posts: 5

Hi Liz

I think a well thought out post like yours deserves a big THANK YOU for taking the time to do it. If only 1 thing you have written helps someone thats fantastic.

1 thing I discovered and wont do again: if you cannot bend (eg just after surgery, or gives pain) get a seat that doesnt have an overhead locker above you, that is an outside seat. You may have to move your legs for someone beside you to move, which the odds are in your favour not to happen, but the baggage locker over your head can be a real big pain trying to get under when trying to be seated if you cannot bend your neck or back. Hurt me once and I wont go thru that again.

Cheers Mick
Reply With Quote
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 02-28-2010, 09:22 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: perth,canada
Posts: 12

i sure did laugh at this while i read it.you have alot of info and i agree that i myself am not too proud any more.i am only able to sit and stand still for short periods and am considering surgery in germany so your tips are appreciated
thanks again kelly
Reply With Quote
  #4 (permalink)  
Old 05-14-2010, 02:46 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 138
Default getting a laugh

I laughed too when I wrote it as I thought...these guys are going to think this one is absolutely nuts. Oh well, at least I'm not boring. For me, spinal surgery and cancer have been the great equalizers and made me humble. Attributes I now enjoy from others.
Chemically sensitive disc/Annular tears, DDD, mild bulging, facet arthritus

Dancing accident in 96. tried PT, acupuncture, pilates, pain mgmt. nothing worked. Epidurals, facet blocks, caudal blocks, discogram. Opiates for ten years, oral prednisone, toradol inj. & more.

Two level spinal fusion with BMS, cages, hardware. due to bone density problems from chemotherapy, they had to go in front and back. Surgery Nov. 6, 2010. So far no regrets.
Reply With Quote
  #5 (permalink)  
Old 11-25-2010, 10:46 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 5

from all the travels you have experienced, there's no one actually who can take away all the memorable and embarrassing moments you've been through. While reading your post, i learned some things and laugh about it at the same time. Good share Liz.
Reply With Quote
  #6 (permalink)  
Old 12-19-2010, 01:20 PM
mmglobal's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 2,511
Default Mistakes on a train!

If I consider myself to be a fairly experienced traveler. It still amazes me how easy it is to make a mistake. Last week I was making my way from Zwickau to Munich. I left the hotel just after 8:00 AM, taking a cab to the local train station. It was standing room only on the 1 hour train ride to Leipzig. After changing trains I arrived at the Leipzig Airport shortly after 11:00 AM. I was told that my flight was canceled due to weather but they can put me on a train to Munich that would arrive at 4:30 PM. Unconcerned about a 2 hour delay, I took the train back to the main station in Leipzig. I thought I had better check so I went to the information counter to verify that might train was on time and still the parking from the same platform.

After a quick bite to eat I went to the right platform at the right time and got on the train. A few minutes into the ride the conductor came by to check my ticket. Whoops! I was on a train to Berlin. Just my luck; this was a non-stop, high speed train. It was great to be going 200 kilometers per hour (125 MPH), but sadly, it was an wrong direction. Buy 4:30 PM, I was back in Leipzig, almost where I started. After four more hours on the train, I arrived in Munich at 8:30 PM.

I like seeing more of Germany, but the monochrome bare trees and snow landscape and train station after a train station was not what I had in mind.

Hopefully, someone learn from this and not make the same mistake I did.

All the best,

1997 MVA
2000 L4-5 Microdiscectomy/laminotomy
2001 L5-S1 Micro-d/lami
2002 L4-S1 Charite' ADR - SUCCESS!
2009 C3-C4, C5-C6-C7, T1-T2 ProDisc-C Nova
Summer 2009, more bad thoracic discs!
Life After Surgery Website
President: Global Patient Network, Inc.
Founder: www.iSpine.org
Reply With Quote
  #7 (permalink)  
Old 12-24-2010, 06:51 PM
Eddie G's Avatar
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Bayonne, NJ
Posts: 128
Send a message via AIM to Eddie G

For people who have back pain and cannot sit, the train is the way to go. I take Amtrak whenever I would go to Florida. I get the H car so I can lay down throughout the ride but still have room to walk around in the cabin. You need to show your disability ID card to get this room.
I hate flying anyway. I just dont feel safe anymore, from a security point of view to a maintainance view, to an air traffic control POV. There is mandatory retirement coming up for all the air traffic workers replaced during the Reagan administration strike. There will be a BUNCH of new air traffic controllers filling jobs and that's one learning curve that I choose not to be a part of.

Plus the food on trains is way better...at least in America.
12/16/03 Work Accident
Herniation and DDD at L4-L5
4/1/05 Discectomy
Epidurals and facet injections
5/15/06 Discogram confirmed L4-L5 DDD also an asymptomatic L5-S1 tear
10/24/06 L4-L5 Prodisc surgery with Dr. Goldstein
CAT scans & X-Rays show ossification
Trigger Point Injections, Medial Branch Blocks, Acupuncture, Weekly Deep Tissue Massage
10/27/08 Discogram (positive L5-S1)
11/25/08 L5-S1 fusion with Dr. Goldstein
Liberty Mutual WC
Reply With Quote


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

All times are GMT. The time now is 11:10 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.