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I would say that the answer to this question is a wholehearted, NO. And I say it after going to Boston, Chicago, Myrtle Beach, and Raleigh, NC all in the space of 6 weeks. Each trip I learned something new. I have found that stress added to other triggers will put me over the edge. I always thought of stress as being negative. But happy stress is still stress. I found this out after going to a wedding, bridal shower, and just plain excitement can help trigger a migraine. Planning and going on vacation is that kind of “happy stress”. In these cases, I expect a migraine.

I think that expecting a migraine is the best way to head it off before it gets me. Some may think that expecting to have a migraine is negative thinking and THAT will “cause a migraine”. I beg to differ. If I expect to have a migraine, I will be prepared. I will have my meds ready; I will try to manage my other triggers (poor sleep and eating habits, alcohol, dehydration, etc.).

Unless your destination is already a given, give thought to where you decide to go. If changes in the weather trigger your migraines, I wouldn’t suggest the Ohio Valley in the summer because of the higher probability of thunderstorms. The same suggestion would apply to the Eastern seaboard and the Gulf because of hurricanes.
You can check the
Weather Center-Air Sports.net for predictions on the chances for a thunderstorm in any given area. There are also barometric pressure maps as well. I like to choose places that have consistently sunny weather. I particularly like North Carolina for this reason.

If bright sunlight triggers a migraine, I would suggest a pair of good sunglasses rather than tell you to go somewhere cloudy. A sunglass buying guide can be helpful in your search for a good pair that protects your eyes, has good frame construction, and doesn’t break the bank.

Medications: for years, I tried to count out the number of pills I would need and dump them all in a bottle. I never, never got it right. Then, after the Boston trip (and being short of meds), I developed an Excel file that would automatically calculate the number of pills I would need. This only works if I remember what I take and I put the numbers in correctly. It worked for Chicago like a dream, but I still had to pick through a mountain of pills to find the right ones.

My 86 year-old mother solved the problem. (It actually my sister who devised this system.) Pill boxes! I never used them because they were too small. I now have 2 (AM and PM) and most of the pills fit. Now why didn’t I think of that?!

Rest and relaxation: every vacation needs a time of rest. I should take my own advice. Boston was a whirlwind weekend with sorority sisters I had not seen in 30 years. Every minute was scheduled. Chicago was a 3 day tag along with my DH. I went sight-seeing, saw long lost relatives, enjoyed the city. But I took time to rest every day. Raleigh was different; I accompanied my elderly parents from Myrtle Beach to Raleigh for my nephew’s wedding. It was stressful, but I carved out time to rest. There was 3 hours between the wedding and the reception. I took a nap. In Myrtle Beach when my mom was cared for, I went to the beach, walked, went swimming. I made sure the lay-over in Charlotte was adequate to eat and to rest.

Packing: pack light. The fewer items you take, the fewer you will have to take care of. You are on vacation. No one will notice you are wearing the same 3 outfits. If they do, they won’t say anything. Make a check list of things you need. This will require some forethought. What will you be doing? Where will you be going? Do you have access to a washing machine? I have 2 suitcases that are already semi-packed with travel sized: shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush, body wash, comb, brush, and other things I have forgotten on previous trips. Don’t forget the charger for your cell phone. Allow extra room in your suitcase to bring home souvenirs.

One carry-on is enough for me to handle. I pack everything I can, even my dresses (if I have to wear one). I even have a travel purse that has only the essentials: abortive meds, handcream, lip balm, a pen, ATM card, one credit card, cash, driver’s license, and cell phone. It is small enough to fit in my carry-on.

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