Responsive Menu
Add more content here...

3 Strategies for Migraine During Vacation

Girl with suitcase on boardwalk

Having a migraine during vacation is not the way anyone imagines things. When planning your trip you envision making memories, relaxing, or taking on a new challenge. A migraine should not steal any of those from you. I can think back on moments from several trips where I found myself secluded in my dark hotel room while others went out on an excursion. Because of those moments, I do have some anxiety about ruining the fun for myself and others. This list could help prevent or manage a migraine attack so it doesn’t steal all the time.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read the full disclosure for more information.

Migraine During Vacation: Personal Experience

Migraine during vacation-cruise ship room

I will share a little personal experience first. On a cruise with my husband and his family, we made the most amazing memories and he actually proposed in Rome. However, he almost missed his chance as that was our last stop on the cruise. He said he knew Rome was special to us and wanted to do it there. Our first day in Rome I ended up with a terrible migraine. We waited too long to eat and it was very hot. I kept water and snacks with me, but didn’t realize how long we would be out. By the time we sat down at dinner, I was too nauseous to eat. 

My husband was planning to propose that night. After dinner, I admitted I had to lie down. I knew I was done at that moment. His sister asked if she would see us/him later. I thought maybe they were just going to get together as a family. Their family is very close and we enjoyed the whole cruise time together. Now, I know the whole family knew about his plans. 

While in our hotel room, my migraine continued to get worse. I was vomiting and in so much pain. I had my medicine with me and this was earlier in my migraine journey. I had been to the ER with other migraine attacks, but at this point had not been admitted before. I was terrified of having to go to the hospital on our trip and so badly didn’t want to ruin anything for anyone else. I felt alone and prayed my medicines would help my migraine attack. Fortunately, my rescue medicines worked. While that was a huge relief, it is safe to say my migraine postponed the proposal.

Migraine During Vacation=Rome

However, it didn’t ruin it. The next night my husband and I went on a walk in Rome. This was the last night of our trip before we flew home. The city is beautiful at night. Everything was lit up and I can still see it in my mind. I was thinking about the memories made and some other things. I had also reflected on the night before. Migraine causes guilt and doubt. I was wondering if my husband would think my migraine attacks were too much. In the midst of that, I also thought about how blessed I was to have experienced so much with my husband and his family.

We stopped and sat down on a bench. I wondered if we needed to talk about my worries. Before I knew it he was proposing. I was totally shocked. My head had been full of other thoughts. He addressed being there at all times. I am now jokingly harassed for repeatedly asking if he was serious. It was such a special moment. However, it was the easiest decision I had ever made. We had been together for quite a while. I had trauma from other experiences in my life.  My husband took his time showing me his heart and we made sure we were on the same page with our faith. 

What I learned from that trip, especially as my migraine attacks have become more severe, is I must address my fears and have a plan.

The Fears

For a person with migraine, a vacation can have many hopes. A hope of fun and memories or hope of relaxing from life’s stress. However, a vacation can also cause anxiety due to the fears. The fear of a migraine attack. This includes many questions:

Will I ruin our trip?

Will my meds work?

What if my medicines don’t work?

How will I get help if needed?

What are all the things I need to bring?

How can I be sure everyone else has a great time?

Where can I go during our trip if I need to take my medicine?

How can I get back to my room if I need to rest and not cause my family to miss out?

Can I go through this vacation without an attack???

Strategy 1: Have a Plan

Plane in trees-migraine during vacation

Being prepared is really the best and only way to battle a migraine attack. You can do all you can to try to prevent and treat it. This is not a guarantee, but we hope the work we do to take care of our well-being and plan helps. If we are in a good place, then maybe our hopes will be our reality. This could mean we prevent an attack or are able to better treat one.

Pack all the things that are vital to you when you have a migraine attack. Also, include things that will help you prevent an attack. This is just as important if not more than all the other items you take. In fact, this could be a game changer for you.

I will share things that have been helpful to me. There may be additional things that are helpful to you. The bottom line is to assess what helps you and take it with you if possible. Or at least include some form of that medicine or relief aid. For example, I have a really nice heating pad for my neck and back. It’s bigger, but it is the best I have found. So for my trip, I will take a small one. 

Must-Have List

All Medicines: Include all preventatives, rescue meds, and any over-the-counter medications that are helpful

Plan from your doctor and their contact info–This can be for you, your family, or if needed another doctor to reference.

Water (can get this during the trip also—could take own water bottle)

Snacks (I have them for plane or car rides and replenish them during the trip.)

Eye Masks (Sleeping Mask to block light and Ice Mask)

Small heating pad

Migraine Stick

Ear Plugs


bags packed for beach--migraine during vacation

Strategy 2: Talk to Your People

Be sure the people going with you understand your condition as best you can. They may need to know migraine is more than a headache, what steps you take if you get an attack, and how they can help you prevent one. This may mean you need to take the time to explain some of your symptoms and triggers to your family or friends. You can refer to my post-Migraine Facts 101: Knowledge is Power or The American Migraine Foundation for resources. Maybe they can’t change your whole world, but they could forgo that perfume. A vacation is the big picture and everyone wants to have a good time.

Migraine during Vacation--chairs on beachj

Strategy 3: Breathe and Give Yourself Grace

Migraine may be a beast, but it can be contained. Remember you did not choose this and you are doing the best you can. It should not steal all your memories and there is so much good to be found in life. Look for the good, the joy, and the wins. Let those be the lights that encourage you. My proposal story does contain a mixture of humor and love mixed in with a severe migraine. In my perspective that is real life and if we can focus on the blessings, we can get through the tough days. 

Girl on dock with arms out

Stay Connected

Remember migraine is not something you have to walk through alone. Reach out and join the Facebook group on the contact page. Come back here anytime for support, encouragement, and resources. 

I am honored you are here. In the future, I will cover topics such as my experience with Botox, working with migraine, and much more. Thank you for being here.

boats in dock

23 thoughts on “3 Strategies for Migraine During Vacation”

  1. Whilst I don’t get migraines I think this is invaluable information for planning a trip for those that do and those that travel with migraine sufferers…thank you

  2. These are such great suggestions! Getting a migraine on vacation is no joke. I especially love the strategy to take a breath and give yourself grace. I think this is something we don’t do enough of in general.

  3. I’ve never realized how intricately chronic migraines wrap themselves into your life. This story will help me be more empathetic with migraine sufferers in my family.

  4. I really appreciate your honest posts showing your experiences with migraines. Thank you for sharing these important suggestions when traveling. I’m glad all went well with such an important life event—- proposal 🤗🥰 Enjoyed reading. 🤗

    Pastor Natalie (ExamineThisMoment)

  5. This is such an important read for anyone who has migraines. I appreciate all of your suggestions and will definitely share it with my loved ones.

  6. Love this! I’m fairly ‘new’ in my migraine journey (2 years) but my husband is a long time sufferer so thankfully we both get it… these tips though will be awesome for us both as we travel A LOT! Thank you so much

  7. Great list. I don’t get a lot of migraines but the few times I had, noise and light really bothered me so the eye mask and ear plug list is a great recommendation.

  8. Such a moving post. Sorry to hear about having migraines. I love how supportive and such a rock your husband is. Thank you for sharing your experience and these tips as they’re truly such a big help for those going through similar challenges.

  9. Thank you so much for sharing! What a great reminder that you didn’t choose this, and you must give yourself grace when feelings of guilt come. Really appreciate your story! 🩷

  10. This is a really informative and helpful post! I think you are spot on in that being prepared (as much as possible) can really help. While things may be outwith our control, preparing beforehand can certainly make it feel easier! Thank you for sharing!

  11. Amazing article! These are great strategies for migraine during vacation and I loved reading your post. Thanks for sharing your personal experience it was so beautiful to read.

  12. This is such a great article. My husband had a migraine while were we on vacation in the mountains of Colorado. Nothing was open and we had to wait. It was awful, he was throwing up from the pain. Wish I would have read this before we went, would have been a different outcome

  13. I absolutely like this post! Since sunlight and heat often trigger migraines. These strategies are amazing and incredibly useful. Thank you so much for sharing your insights.

  14. Love love love this post! Sun and heat are huge triggers for my migraines so it’s pretty inevitable that I will experience one at some point during vacation. These strategies are incredible and so helpful, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts!

    1. I can relate to this in the manner that someone close to me has had migraine attacks on the days when some plans were made. It’s true that it might get disappointing at times. But it’s also true that the person is more important than the plans. So no guilt is necessary. Also thank you for sharing the tale about your proposal.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to content