Patient Blogs | Ankylosing Spondylitis
Traveling With Ankylosing Spondylitis
photo of people standing at boarding gate

Vacations are supposed to be fun. A time to relax and recharge. Of course, that isn’t always the case when you have AS. Sometimes just getting to the destination can be enough to cause pain and discomfort that make it impossible to relax. So, I thought I would share a few of the things I’ve learned in my travels. 

Expect the best. Plan for the worst.

When you are traveling, it’s always a good idea to be prepared. At least as prepared as you can be. For example, I bring my cane with me when we travel. I very rarely have to use it right now, but when I need it, I need it. It only took me traveling without it once to learn this lesson. 

The first step for me is making sure my medications are easy to get to. You don’t want them buried under piles of bags or, even worse, in your checked luggage if you’re flying! I put all my medicine bottles that I’ll need in a baggie. This makes it easy to store in my backpack. Plus, it’s super easy for my wife to grab them without her having to search for the right bottle. 

Another thing to travel with is a small TENS unit. This is great for long car rides. My lower back has a tendency to cramp up on long car rides. I have a small TENS unit that helps massage away the knots. This thing can be a lifesaver. 

Try to stay ahead of the pain. Make more stops if you’re driving. Just a quick little walk around the car and some gentle stretches will help with fend off the pain. You can even plan your route through small towns. You can find some hidden treasures this way. 

If you’re flying, give yourself plenty of time to navigate the airports. Take advantage of the shuttle service if the airport offers it. I also check in with the gate agent and request to preboard. This just gives me a little more time to get settled. Less stress usually equals less pain. 

My last little bit of advice is to take it slow. We try to add an extra travel day on our trips. This allows me to relax and recover before we actually “start” the vacation. Listen to your body. If you need to take a break or slow down, then, by all means, do it. That moment of trying to “tough it out” could ruin the rest of your trip. Just take everything slow and enjoy.

Hope these tips help your travel. Traveling is my happy place. I love to experience different places, and I’m not going to let AS stop me! 




Photo Credit: izusek / E+ via Getty Images

WebMD Patient Blog © 2022 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Important: The opinions expressed in WebMD Blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. Blogs are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatments or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.

Do not consider WebMD Blogs as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.

Daniel Garcia

Daniel Garcia

Diagnosed since 2003

Daniel Garcia was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis in 2003. He enjoys gardening and traveling in his pop-up camper with his wife, Melissa, and dogs Chloe and Tilly on his good days. Garcia writes about travel on and gardening, technology, and DIY on You can connect with Daniel via his Instagram account.

Latest Blog Posts From Daniel Garcia

Your Relationship With Your Doctor Is Important

Your Relationship With Your Doctor Is Important

I guess you could say I lucked into my rheumatologist for my ankylosing spondylitis. Dr. Codding just happened to be in the same office as my orthopedic surgeon. I didn’t get to ...

Read more
Surviving the Holidays With AS

Surviving the Holidays With AS

The holidays are here again. It can be a challenge to navigate family get-togethers, company parties, or any of the many other reasons we get together during this time of year. ...

Read more