Travel should be enjoyed by everyone, but many people with chronic illnesses and disabilities choose not to.
The trick to travelling with any medical condition, is to plan ahead and do your research to ensure that you have everything you need for a comfortable and happy trip.
I have put together a quick guide to some of the things you will need to do, when planning a holiday with a chronic illness.
Before you go
Travel insurance is a must for any holiday, but even more important for those travelling with a chronic illness.
Don’t rely on travel insurance provided as part of bank account offer as this is often only basic cover. It is best to purchase extra travel insurance depending on your travel destination and ensure that you declare all pre-existing medical issues before you go and CHECK you are covered for all eventualities.
It goes without saying that you need to ensure you have all the medication you need before you travel. Are you fit to travel safely? Discuss your fitness to travel with your GP, as airlines and insurance companies may request proof of this and put in any repeat prescription requests at least 10 days before you are due to leave, to allow for any delays at the GP surgery or pharmacy.
You may also need to check that you can take your medicine to the country you are visiting. See www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/medicines/can-i-take-my-medicine-abroad/ for more information.
Did you know that you are unable to take NHS equipment out of the UK?
Check with your travel company to see if they are able to provide any special equipment – many flight companies will provide wheelchairs to help you around the airport, but you may need to hire any additional equipment you need to take with you. Look for approved NHS suppliers such as the Oxygen Store who provide oxygen rental for those heading out of the UK on holiday.
On your travels
Take all your medications in your hand luggage so it is with you at all times. There is nothing worse than a lost suitcase and a lost suitcase with all your medicines in would be a disaster. Most airlines will allow an extra carry-on for medical purposes.
Have a Travel Folder
I always take a travel folder with us which holds our boarding passes, passports, travel insurance documentation etc. If travelling with a chronic illness I would also add paperwork that lists your diagnosis, all of your medications with schedule and dosages, your doctors contact information and your emergency contact information.
It’s easy for anyone who is travelling to forget to drink enough water. For people with chronic illness, this can be a sure-fire way to trigger a flare. Don’t forget you are not allowed to take more than 100ml of liquids through airport security screening, so take an empty refillable bottle in your hand luggage and refill it on the other side and ensure you keep it topped up throughout your travels.
Plan rest times
There is nothing worse than rushing from activity to activity, so make sure you also plan down times, where you can rest and recuperate.
The stress of planning your holiday is now over. Relax and enjoy your holiday!
Do you have any tips on travelling with a chronic illness?