Tips for Traveling with Friedreich’s Ataxia

Christina Cordaro avatar

by Christina Cordaro |

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When you plan a destination or a weekend getaway, it is wise to make travel and transportation arrangements and detail an itinerary of what you will do while on your trip. However, when you have a disability, extra steps are involved in planning. My planning includes three components: plan in advance, try to replicate my home routine, and arrange accessible accommodations.

Plan in advance

My fiancé Justin and I like to take an annual trip to Baltimore, Maryland. We have gone the past three years now and have decided we want to make it a little tradition. Baltimore is only two hours away from where we live in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and we just love the city and what it has to offer. Since we always go in the summertime and we were free on my birthday weekend, we decided to go then. Being so near, we decided it is easier to drive and just park at the hotel, leaving the car in place.

My biggest decision was to bring my rollator; my first time doing so in Baltimore, but my second time on a trip. For some trips, it’s best to bring your own medical assistant device, while for others, renting devices might be best. Since we had a quick car ride, didn’t have a lot of items to bring, and we were visiting local attractions, it made sense to bring my own.

Try to replicate home routines

When traveling somewhere, especially in a short amount of time, you want to see and do as much as you can. Friedreich’s ataxia can cause fatigue. Justin and I try to remember it’s important to take breaks and rests between whatever activities we do.

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The first day we got to Baltimore, we drove straight to a restaurant for lunch, then went back to the hotel to check in and rest before heading back out. Then, we went to check out the new Guinness Brewery. I brought my rollator to help conserve energy and minimize fatigue when walking around. We got to tour the brewery, and although it was very crowded in the taproom, the service staff there was very accommodating and found us a seat to enjoy some brews. After that, we came back to the hotel and rested before dinner. We went to our favorite spot for Maryland’s famous crab cake in Fells Point, and it was simply amazing!

Arrange accessible accommodations

When you live at home, you are so used to the adaptations that make your home accessible. For example, in my shower, I incorporated two bars on the walls to help me move with ease and stability, and a shower mat on the floor to reduce the risk of falling. When I reserved our hotel room, I ensured that I had a guest room with these same or similar accommodations as my house. It’s also a plus when the showers in the guest rooms have the amenities already placed in the shower so there isn’t a struggle to set everything up. I also ensured the room wasn’t too far away from the elevator to reduce my walking and save energy.

I am so happy that Justin and I have made going to Baltimore an annual trip. I have to give a huge thank you to him for making our trips as accommodating and as easy as possible. He makes everything stress-free, even when traveling with mobility issues and a rollator. Justin, I truly appreciate your patience and understanding when we go places. I can’t wait for more adventures in the future, especially our honeymoon in Nassau, Bahamas, in less than two months!


Friedreich’s Ataxia News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.


Betty Johnson avatar

Betty Johnson

Thanks, Christina. Good advice on hotel arrangements. I'm finding the fatigue worsening and have learned to respect it. Toughing it out worsens my balance and fear.


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