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I know that sometimes what I need most when I'm traveling is another person present to help me out with things like carrying luggage, dealing with airline and hotel check-ins, and dragging me back to my room when I've overdone it and need a nap. But most of my family and friends have jobs, which means they can't always travel with me.

One possible solution: Hire someone!

And a fun little bonus post--a few enterprising airports are making layovers suck slightly less.
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At the SATH World Congress last month, I met many great people and learned some nifty stuff. I'll be posting about it over the next couple of weeks. Here's part 1. For your next trip, need a mobility scooter? A shower stool? A mini-fridge? You can rent one!

What I Learned at SATH Part 1: How to Rent Travel Equipment
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So what makes me an "expert" on traveling with pain? In part, because I've made every possible mistake a traveler with pain can make while one the road. Sometimes several of those mistakes at once. Like last week:

A Bad, Bad Transit Day
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Here are a few fun things to do at a winter snow destination that don't involve strapping boards to your feet and sliding down mountainsides:

Winter Travel With Pain

What do you do when you're at a ski resort but not able to ski?  
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Riding the rails is absolutely my favorite way to travel!

Trains With Pain
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  Wishing everybody hear a safe, healthy, and pain-free 2011!

Happy New Year, TWP Style
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 Bad airline warning: Cathay Pacific

The much-lauded "shell seats" are not disability friendly in the least!
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 Learn from my mistakes rather than your own...

Top 5 Pitfalls to Avoid During the Holidays, brought to you by Travels With Pain.

Also, a number of short newsy posts below the holiday pitfalls post.

Do you have a tip or an experience relating to holiday travel? If you do, post a comment here or (better yet!) over on the blog so that other readers can benefit from your experiences.
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 Here's my first true Travels With Pain travelogue series: my experiences at a health retreat called Fresh Start. If you just go to the blog, you'll get the Fresh Start posts in reverse order. If you'd prefer to read them in the order I wrote them, here are the links:

Fresh Start: Days 1-2
Days 3-4
A Day in the Life
The End of the Beginning

As I describe in the final post, which wasn't finished for a week after I left the retreat, I've found the results to be pretty amazing for me. My pain levels continue to drop. But now comes the hard part--keeping up with the changes in lifestyle that were enforced at Fresh Start. I've made a personal commitment to try to keep to a diet of 75-80% raw food. That a serious change for me, and will require a bucketload of effort. I also want to keep up with yoga, find myself a Reiki practitioner in my local area, and possibly look into more Bowen therapy as well.

Has anyone here done anything like Fresh Start? Or tried a detox diet at home? I'd love to get some comments over on Travels with Pain about what others think of programs like this. Would you try it? Why so or why not?

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Have you ever wanted to know what really goes on at a fancy health retreat or healing center, but were afraid to ask? Check out my experiences at Fresh Start in Canada:

http://travelswithpain.com/2010/11/24/a-fresh-start-day-1-2/
http://travelswithpain.com/2010/11/26/a-fresh-start-days-3-4/
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If you've ever wondered what it's like to travel with chronic pain, here's the start of an answer. If you've got chronic pain or a hidden disability and want some practical info about how much effort it takes to travel, here's the start of an answer.

http://travelswithpain.com/2010/11/19/traveling-with-spoons-part-1/

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I think that this is a good idea for all travelers, not just those with pain. But for those of us with pain or hidden disabilities, it's crucial.

Playing the What-If Game

What are your favorite what-ifs?
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This one's both for us and for our friends and family:

What Travel Companions Need to Know

Have I forgotten anything? What do you tell traveling companions? What don't you tell them? If you're the companion, what do you need and want to know? 
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And here's the flip side of the last post--a few trips I think travelers with pain shouldn't take:

Ouch! 3 Trips Travelers With Pain Shouldn't Take

What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree?
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These are five of the best kinds of trips and vacations for travelers with pain that I could think of. What are your favorites? Comment here, or better still, comment over on the blog so all my reader can see what other kinds of trips work well for us.
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Yes, I'm out shilling for the votes again: I'm still working towards winning the British Airways Face of Opportunity essay contest.

http://britishairways.promo.eprize.com/contest/view_gallery_link?id=1052

Please click the link, and if you enjoy my essay, click the big red vote button to vote for me. And if you really want to help out, you can vote for me once per day every day from now until October 29. Do wait 24 hours before voting again--that's how their system works.

If I'm one of the 250 winners, I will get the chance to attend two networking events--one in NYC and one in London. From there, I'll fly down to Sydney, Australia. I'll research for two book and meet with members of the disabled travel community and travel industry to discuss the needs of travelers with hidden disabilities.
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It's new contest time! British Airways is offering 250 owners or employees of small businesses tickets from NYC to London, then from London to destinations of the winners' choices. (And then a flight back to NYC.) Winners will attend networking events in both New York and London.

I've written an essay describing what I'll do to expand the Imperfect Traveler's Guide brand if British Airways flies me to Sydney, Australia. Funny thing--as I wrote my essay, I realized that the trip I'm proposing could truly help me to build my business in a serious, meaningful way. I could help a lot of people if I won this trip.

To win one of the 250 spots, I need votes. Lots and lots and lots of votes.  Each and every one of you can vote once per day, every day until Oct 29. If you're up for supporting me in this, please bookmark my essay and come back to vote daily. Here's the link:

http://britishairways.promo.eprize.com/contest/view_gallery_link?id=1052


My apologies if you see this message several times. I've got to admit--I'd really like to snag one of these spots. So...thank you thank you thank you in advance for your votes!
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Had surgery recently? Planning to travel? Please read this:

Post-Op Travel

Have I missed anything, major or minor? If so, please post here, or better yet comment directly onto the blog.

It occurs to me that I didn't specifically call out the pillow or towel to put between the belly and the seatbelt for patients with recent abdominal incisions--even little ones. (A sweatshirt or jacket works in a pinch.) This technique works both on planes and in cars.
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I'd be curious about what y'all think of the idea of traveling with no baggage. Here's my opinion:

No Baggage Challenge? Sorry, No Sale.
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