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Travel Guide for MSA Patients and Families

“Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard

A diagnosis of MSA does not mean the end of travel for patients and their families. As outlined in this guide, it is possible, at many stages of MSA, to travel – from adventurous, overseas trips, to close-to-home vacation stays, and everything in between. The only limits are your imagination and, of course, your budget, but you don’t have to spend a lot of money to reap the many benefits of traveling. The experiences you have and the special time you spend with family and friends will buoy your spirits as you navigate your MSA journey.

Why should we think about traveling? How do we choose where to go?

MSA is a rapidly progressing disease, and it is therefore important to think about trips you want to take soon after receiving a diagnosis. Is there a bucket list destination you have always wanted to visit? Is it possible financially to make that happen? If so, start planning now and go as soon as possible. Because of declining mobility issues for most MSA patients, you can’t predict what you will be able to manage in six months or one year, so plan that trip and go soon.

A vacation doesn’t have to be a bucket list trip to the Caribbean or Europe; it can also be a vacation rental at the beach, at a lake, or in the mountains an hour or two from home. Just getting away from the daily obligations of work and home can provide wonderful family time together. A change of scenery, a chance to play board games and laugh, spending beautiful days outside in nature, visiting museums, watching the sunset together — these are the special moments that a vacation creates for a family facing a disease like MSA.

Care partners, ask your loved one what they would most like to do for vacation. Where would they like to go? If they have trouble suggesting places (they may be scared or nervous that they can’t manage a trip), do some research and make suggestions.

How can we plan a successful trip in the early stages of MSA?

Where can we travel in the later stages of MSA when mobility is limited?

Traveling by plane

Enjoy! Make Beautiful and Lasting Memories!

With a little (or a lot of) advanced planning, you and your family can travel and make wonderful memories together. Don’t dwell on the things you can’t do; focus on what you can do together while you explore your vacation destination.

A Few Final Thoughts:

  • Take lots of photos and videos.
  • Don’t overplan activities.
  • Go with the flow each day.
  • You don’t have to see or do everything.
  • Enjoy yourselves and your loved ones.
  • Be grateful for the chance to travel together.

Safe and happy travels!!

Contributed by Patricia Libby Thvedt, former care partner to an MSA patient and member of the MSA Board of Directors.