Overwhelmed After a Serious Diagnosis? Think Travel

By Noah Rue | Published 1/31/2019 3

Couple on beach at dusk 1280 x 853

Photo source: Pixabay

It may seem counterintuitive, but getting away from it all can be one of the absolute best things to do when bad news comes knocking.

We all have had those tests — the ones that we wait by the phone for the call from the doctor to hear the results. Oftentimes we are lucky enough to breathe a deep sigh of relief with common tests, such as an STD or pregnancy scare.

However, there is always the chance that you might receive less-than-desirable results. When these events occur, it becomes very important to not allow yourself to wallow in the emotion or get stuck in a self-defeating spiral.

Here’s something you might not have thought about

There is a lot to think about when you receive a serious diagnosis: your immediate healthcare, health insurance claims and treatment plans. You’ll need to figure out how to look after yourself and your family. Hundreds of thoughts will cross your mind, and not all of them will be worthy. Perhaps one of the thoughts to add to that list, though, is to start planning your next vacation.

Depending on your diagnosis and travel restrictions, this could include a trip overseas or a simple yoga retreat getaway in a nearby neighborhood that may aid in extending your lifespan. The positive effects of traveling may not help cure you, but they might help you feel better during a rough patch in your health.

Planning for wellness travel

Take the necessary actions to best care for your health and then put the devastating news in your back pocket while you set your sights on a distant horizon. Take care of the essential pre-trip checklists so you can sit back and enjoy the benefits of daydreaming of the vacation to come.

A study by the University of Surrey found that the simple anticipation of a vacation can improve your mood. The study’s report states, “It appears that those who are waiting to go on a holiday are much happier with their life as a whole, experience less negative or unpleasant feelings and thus enjoy an overall net positive effect or pleasant feelings.”

Although you may not be feeling you are at your physical best, your state of mental health can be improved just by the thought of soon being under a cabana listening to the ocean waves.

Having something to look forward to can keep you from dwelling on the present. It also gives you something to talk about with others instead of the same conversations about your health and daily challenges.

Keep things positive, and you’ll likely begin to reap the results of planning instead of finding yourself inundated with some of the unpleasant possibilities that may present themselves.

Related Content: The Importance of Grief and Acceptance After a Diagnosis


If your diagnosis is life-threatening or has seriously shortened your life expectancy, don’t take it lying down. Going out and creating new memories is an enjoyable way to spend time with your loved ones.

Sometimes, it may be more fulfilling to go solo and see what you are capable of accomplishing. But, be sure to not test yourself beyond your doctor’s recommendations. Listening to your healthcare professional should be your first order of business. Taking care of yourself in all the right ways should be the second. This is especially true when things feel rushed or it seems time is at a premium.

When in doubt, travel with your loved ones along. This lets you create memories together that will help to create a deeper connection and allow you to remain a major part of their lives. When they reflect on your time together, they will be flooded by memories of adventure and exploration, as opposed to the doctor visits and days of rough health or monitoring and waiting.

The lasting memories you create, complete with pictures, video and all the trimmings, can be preserved for future generations. The memories can also buoy your own health while you wrangle with the challenges that serious health issues often pose. This will help you keep your spirits up regardless of your travails.

Treatment overseas

The prices for medical care in the United States are more costly than anywhere else in the world. As a result, medical tourism is taking flight, saving some individuals a small fortune in medical bills. Take advantage of the opportunity to visit a country that you have never been to before that can offer you equivalent medical treatment at a reduced cost.

Before you go, arrange a meeting with your own doctor in the states to discuss the details of your diagnosis and the available treatment options. You’ll want to make sure you understand everything involved in your care and any necessary procedures.

While hospitals are found around the globe, standards of care can vary greatly. Your local options are not always your best, but choosing a strange doctor in a foreign land may not go as planned, either.

From there you can begin your research of doctors and facilities that may be of benefit to you. It is in your best interest to do your due diligence and thoroughly research any medical practitioners that you are considering working with as well as your insurance options and the costs of care.

Getting a travel evaluation

Before you commit to a plane ticket or solidify plans, check with your doctor that you are clear to travel. Traveling can cause additional stress that may be detrimental to your health.

Additionally, airports, airplanes, trains, and buses are high traffic areas that can expose you to various viruses and other types of communicable infections. Be sure to get any recommended travel vaccinations (if ok with your regular doctor) and take precautions that can reduce the risks associated with those vaccinations.

The bottom line

Protect yourself if you decide to embark on a trip after a serious diagnosis. Although it can be beneficial to your mental health, it may leave you sicker or even bedridden without proper care and planning.

These type of errors are far too easy to make, so you’ll want to examine every option and work with your healthcare provider before taking the leap.

But when all is said and done…plan wisely and then enjoy the ride!

Noah Rue

Website: https://hackernoon.com/@nyrue24

Noah Yarnol Rue is a journalist and digital nomad. He is fascinated with global health and modern technology.

His love of writing and research began while attending college in the small Pacific Northwest town he called home. His writing is influenced by his journalistic integrity to share the truth and give the reader the information they crave to know.

Noah’s curiosity created his nomadic lifestyle. He is on the move across the U.S. meeting new people, learning about different cultures and current trends that influence people.

In his free time, Noah enjoys 1930s mystery novels, researching his next travel location and is a huge fan of the Olympics.


  • Thanks for sharing such great information as I was very fond of tourism and looking for such type of post. Glad to see this.

  • Hi Karen,
    That’s a brilliant suggestion. Tent camping, local “staycations” to discover the things that only a tourist ever sees about your home city or state, and even virtual vacations are a wonderful way for those who can’t splurge on a trip cross-country, much less internationally, to help fight the stress and potential malaise that comes with such a diagnosis. I love where you’re going with that. Just a visit with friends and family in a setting outside of the home or a medical facility can make a world of difference.

    I feel becoming an expat for medical reasons is worthy of its own article. Travel of that kind is a whole different beast, but it’s one that might be worth exploring for those facing chronic or terminal diagnoses. America has made baby-steps in that direction, but I don’t know what it will take for healthcare to become recognized as a basic human right. Some wonderful food for thought in that.

  • Rx travel: a great prescription for the economic top 10-15%. Can we just be honest that that’s the target readership of this particular piece? For most of us in the “middle” class, the cost of things like air tickets and hotels are an unaffordable luxury. Maybe the rest of us should go tent-camping when we get bad news? Or maybe the advice should be “move somewhere with universal healthcare and then you can afford not only the serious and probably expensive condition you’ve been diagnosed with, but some memory-making travel with your loved ones as well.” This is one of those pieces that promotes self-care with a price tag, and makes high income a wellness virtue.

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