If a friend or relative is diagnosed with cancer, they don’t just need your support through their various stages of treatment, they also need your guidance when looking to relax and unwind. A holiday can give cancer patients the valuable time and space they need to come to terms with the illness or to simply rest after finishing active treatment. Read more
For people with disabilities or pre-existing medical conditions, some holiday destinations are a lot more accessible than others. Traversing old, cobbled streets or walking down miles of sandy beaches may sound like bliss but a lack of facilities for the disabled and other accessibility issues may put paid to such aspirations. Read more
Spending quality time with your family is one of the best things about being on holiday. Travelling with your parents or grandparents can also be really memorable and rewarding as you bond over the memories and experiences you have in one destination.
- As more and more people are going away in multi-generational family groups, finding and enjoying a destination that is suitable for all age ranges is increasingly difficult. Plan ahead and allow for plenty of time, as a hectic see-it-all holiday might result in frustration if people are moving slower than others. Don’t try to see and do everything as this is only going to result in an overwhelming amount of risks and children will become harder to handle, or the whole trip will become stressful in planning around schedules.
- You don’t want to risk your health or safety whilst you’re meant to be relaxing, so always research anything before you book it and make sure it’s suitable for your needs.
- Photocopy all of your important documentation like visas and passports and keep them in a secure place.
- If you carry a walking stick or use a wheelchair, make sure you arrange transportation and ensure you can get around easily.
- Make sure you invest in some quality travel insurance that covers any pre-existing medical conditions.
- Before you leave, it’s a good idea to have a check-up from your doctor.
- Move around and stretch during your journey, it isn’t always good to be sat still for long periods of time. Allow for breaks if you’re on your feet a lot and drink plenty of bottled water, taking regular sips to make sure you’re not dehydrated.
- If you’re carrying large amounts of cash with you, split it with a friend, member of your family or travelling companion as it will be safer. Don’t wear expensive jewellery or watches and don’t advertise your cash or wallet too much – keep it in a bag that goes across your body and that is close to you at all times.
- If you’re travelling somewhere hot, seek out shade during the hotter parts of the day and drink plenty of fluids. Cover up, wear sunscreen and reapply every 2-3 hours.
Travelling during holiday season can be draining at the best of times, but with a long-term condition like cancer, there’s a lot more to worry about and people can become overwhelmed. However, what many would look forward to as a time of joy, may become a disaster should something unexpected happen whilst out of the safety net of their local cancer services.
It is recommended that you discuss any travel plans with your doctor before you book a holiday abroad, as they will know the ins-and-outs of your individual situation and can advise you on any vaccinations you might be unable to receive, whether or not you will be considered fit to fly and any help needed in regards to treatment options.
Below are some tips and pieces of advice for those wishing to travel after experiencing cancer:
- Think about things such as the duration and pace of your journey, whether you’ll need transport to or from the airport, specialist travel insurance, any vaccinations you’ll need, travelling with any medications and air travel. Planning ahead allows you to travel worry and stress-free so you can make the most of your trip.
Consult your GP
- Check that you are fit to travel and discuss any holiday plans with your GP before you book your trip. They will know more about your specific situation than anyone else and can advise on things such as vaccinations, medications, destinations and travelling by plane.
Research healthcare in your destination country
- Check your destination’s standards and provisions of healthcare with the relevant consulate or Embassy before you leave, as they are often quite different to what we’re used to in the UK.
- If you’re travelling within Europe, from 1st January 2021 rules around travel to Europe have changed, visit the Government website for up to date information on passports, EHIC, healthcare and more. We’ll update this page with more information as and when the Government release it. You can also check whether your destination has a reciprocal health agreement (RHCA) with the UK, as these entitle you to free or subsidised emergency medical attention and medicines should you need it. However, this is not a replacement for travel insurance, which will cover a lot of costs that the RHCA won’t.
Sort out any necessary equipment, like oxygen and medications
- Travelling abroad with equipment like oxygen can be risky because it’s a fire hazard, but check with your GP or supplier and see what can be done for when you’re away.
- Travelling with liquids, gels or creams in your luggage nowadays can be difficult. Under current security restrictions, you cannot carry containers with liquids, gels or creams that exceed 100ml in your hand luggage.
- You can carry essential medicines of more than 100ml on-board, so long as you have prior approval from the airline and a letter from your GP listing your condition and your medicines, as well as a prescription.
- Be prepared to take your entire holidays worth of medication with you, as some countries have restrictions on the amounts of drugs they can give out, especially with opiates like morphine or strong painkillers which you often need a licence for. If you need a licence, apply ten days before you plan on leaving.
Protect yourself in the sun
- Chemo and radiotherapy can either temporarily or permanently alter your skin by making it ultra-sensitive to the UV rays which lead to skin damage. Protect yourself in the sun by covering up, seeking shade or wearing high-factor sunscreen.
Asthma is a common condition and with the right preparations, shouldn’t be a reason not to travel. Planning ahead is essential in ensuring that you can enjoy your holiday to the max.
Follow our handy checklist to make sure you’re prepared for your time away:
- Book an appointment with your GP and go over things like your personal asthma plan and what to do in an emergency, so you’re up-to-date and can inform anyone you’re travelling with what to do too.
Order extra inhalers should any get lost or stolen on your trip.
- Take a print of your prescription with the generic medical names of your prescriptions as they are easily translatable for foreign pharmacists.
- Research medical facilities and how to get help at your destination, in case of an emergency
- If you use a nebuliser, make sure it’s been serviced and is working well. Make sure you have a mains adapter to suit the electricity supply at your destination. You can buy portable battery-operated nebulisers for on the plane whilst you travel.
- Invest in some quality travel insurance that provides adequate cover for your condition and what you want to do.
- Bring your own pillows if feather-filled ones make your asthma worse, or ask your hotel/resort for an alternative. Similarly, if you’re sensitive to smoke, ask for a non-smoking room – smoking rules differ from country to country.
- If you’re short of breath, even when resting, you may need evaluation before you fly because of the reduced oxygen levels at high altitudes.
- Carry all your asthma medicines as hand luggage, in case your checked-in luggage goes missing or your medicines are damaged in the baggage hold.
- Under current security restrictions, you cannot carry containers with liquids, gels or creams that exceed 100ml in your hand luggage.
- You can carry essential medicines of more than 100ml on board, but you’ll need prior approval from the airline and airport and a letter from your doctor or a prescription.
- All asthma medicines taken on board should be in their original packaging, with the prescription label and contact details of the pharmacy clearly visible.