Travelling after a stroke

Suffering from a stroke is an extremely traumatic experience, both for mind and body. A holiday can be extremely helpful as part of the healing process, giving you the time and space that you need to fully recover. Life post-stroke does carry a degree more complexity, so it is important that your holiday plans change to accommodate the changes in your personal circumstances, especially if you’re travelling abroad.
In this article we’ll illustrate some practical ways that you can plan for a holiday after a stroke, allowing you to confidently enjoy your time abroad.


As with anyone about to embark on a holiday abroad, travel insurance is extremely important; while things rarely do go wrong on holiday, you want to ensure that you have appropriate coverage on the off chance that something does. As someone who has had a stroke, insurance will be harder to find, as most insurance companies will be unwilling to cover the extra risk. Indeed, the wide spectrum of post-stroke side effects make the task of assessing an individual particularly difficult, especially for insurers that lack experience in this area.

Fortunately, Insurancewith was started specifically to allow those suffering from debilitating or high risk medical conditions to gain travel insurance. As we work on a case by case basis, utilising a bespoke medical screening system, we are able to form a far more accurate picture of your medical situation than other insurance companies, and therefore provide you with a much fairer, cheaper premium. When your case is assessed you’re being seen as an individual, not just as a stroke victim, and both the premium and coverage of your Insurancewith policy will reflect this.


It’s always a good idea to check ahead with both the foreign office, and, if necessary, with a relevant travel authority from the country you intend to travel to, as to what medication is and isn’t allowed to pass across their border. The last thing you want to happen is for essential medication to be confiscated once you reach your destination.

Another thing to bear in mind is how easily luggage can go missing in airports or transport hubs; a good practice to get into when travelling with essential medication is to pack more than you would normally need for the time period of your holiday, and to spread this medication over multiple pieces of luggage. This way, if one goes missing, you still have medication available, to you. It almost goes without saying that you should also ensure that you have medication in your carry-on luggage, to ensure that you are not caught without them during the flight!


In relation to flying post-stroke, the best policy is always to ask your doctor. Generally speaking you should definitely avoid flying for the first two week post stroke, as this is the highest risk time period for side effects to materialise. It is just an unfortunate fact of flight that there are numerous factors that can exacerbate side effects from your stroke, or even suffer a second stroke.

One of the most well-publicised risks associated with travelling via airline is deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a condition that arises as a result of the long periods of inactivity that are endemic with air travel. Sitting still for long periods of time slows blood flow, which can lead to blood clots forming in your veins. In air travel related cases of DVT, this most often occurs in the leg. If the clot breaks away and reaches your brain, blood flow to your brain could be prevented, causing a stroke. While this is a risk for everyone who travels on a plane, you are at additional risk from DVT if you have already suffered a stroke.

This means that DVT prevention is even more important if you’ve had a stroke, so if you find yourself travelling by plane post-stroke, be sure to utilise the following the DVT risk reduction techniques. Fortunately, these DVT risk prevention techniques are easy to perform, and require minimal space, which is doubly helpful in the tight confines of a plane! Firstly, you can wear elasticated compression stockings, an easy to purchase passive DVT prevention tool. Secondly, make an effort to stay hydrated, as dehydration increases the risk of blood clots by thickening your blood. Lastly, manually re-establish circulation! By performing small exercises throughout the flight, you promote blood flow, minimising the chances of blood clotting, and therefore minimising the chances of DVT developing.

Don’t let diabetes affect your travel plans

Summer is approaching rapidly, and this means that many people in the UK will be considering going abroad on their holidays. If you’re a diabetic, it is particularly important for you to plan appropriately for your holiday, as many aspects of your daily routine and medication schedule may need to be changed. As well as the additional considerations you must take into account with foreign travel as a diabetic, insurance premiums can also be higher as a result of the added perceived risks.

insurancewith: are committed to helping the sufferers of many illnesses and debilitating conditions to be able to confidently travel abroad, knowing that they are covered by travel insurance that is not only comprehensive, but fair. insurancewith: created a specific travel insurance policy; insurancewith: Diabetes to combat this. As insurancewith: has gained an in depth understanding of diabetes, from extensive work with diabetes charities, and is therefore far better positioned than other insurance companies to offer a superior deal on travel insurance for diabetics.

When preparing for a holiday, travel insurance is exceptionally important, but should be far from the only consideration. This is no different for diabetics, and in this article we intend to set out exactly which steps and precautions you should take if you have diabetes and intend to travel abroad this summer.


In 2011 alone 26 million pieces of luggage went missing worldwide; this is a staggering statistic in its own right, but when you’re taking essential medication on holiday with you, it becomes that much more concerning. A sensible precaution to take while preparing to go on holiday is to carry twice as much medication as you would normally utilise for the timeframe of your holiday. This way you can split supplies between different pieces of luggage, reducing the likelihood of losing all of it in one go.

It is essential that you carry both diabetic identification and a covering letter from GP. These will not only ensure that you get the correct medical care should something unfortunate happen, but also allow you to carry your essential medication. The benefits of this are clear; in a post 9/11 world, airport security are going to be very hesitant to let you board a plane carrying either syringes, or unexplained medication!

It is also critically important that you store your medication appropriately; insulin in particular can become ineffective if exposed to particularly high or low temperatures, so be mindful of the environment you’ll be holidaying in. Altitude can interfere with specialist medical equipment, glucometers in particular, so if you’re likely to be staying in a dramatically higher or lower locale, it is crucial to check with your GP so you can understand how to counteract the effect.


There are a number of factors geographic, environmental factors that can have a negative effect on diabetes management while on holiday. One to take into account before the plane has even left the UK, is flight delays. No-one enjoys this unfortunate side effect of mass scheduled travel, but as a diabetic these delays can carry additional dangers: make sure you carry additional snacks to deal with any drops in blood sugar!

The particular climate of your destination can also affect glucose and insulin levels, so ensure that you’ve compensated for different time zones when deciding dosage and application time. In extreme heat, ensure that you are replacing lost fluids.

As well as climate, it’s important that you monitor and compensate for any changes in activity level; some people prefer a chilled out holiday by the pool, others an action-packed adventure, but you’ll need to be sure you manage your blood glucose levels in a manner that is appropriate for whichever you have chosen!

Staying safe at the seaside

Holidays mean that loads of families will be heading to the beach for a simple but exciting day out. But although it’s a great day out for all the family, it’s important to avoid some of the things which could lead to injury or an emergency situation. Here’s our guide to staying safe at the seaside:


  • Beware of strong currents. You can’t tell how strong the current is by sitting on the beach, but once in the water it can quickly pull you under and you can get carried out to sea.
  • Every European beach has red and yellow flags to signal which areas are being watched constantly by a lifeguard and are safe to swim in. Make sure you stay within these areas in order to stay safe.
  • The red flag means there are strong currents – don’t swim when this flag is flyng.
  • Don’t dive into shallow water.
  • Waves can be dangerous too, especially if they’re powerful. Make sure you venture into the sea cautiously.
  • Make sure someone on shore knows where you are. If you get out of your depth or carried away, they’ll be able to get help. Notify your parents, siblings or friends.
  • Never swim on your own, you never know when help might be needed.
  • Read the safety signs which can warn you about local dangers, notify you which parts of the beach are safe to swim and remind you about safety tips for the beach.
  • If you get into difficulty, stick your hand up and shout for help. The same goes for if you see someone else in difficulty, find a lifeguard as soon as possible or raise the alarm.
  • Beware of rockpools, when wet they can be slippery and dangerous. Sharp pieces of rock can also cut your hands and feet so wear sensible shoes and be careful.

 On land

  • Use the bins provided for rubbish, and make sure you tread carefully, as some people don’t follow the guidelines and use bins. Rubbish can be well hidden when buried under a covering of sand, and things like broken glass or crushed cans are painful to even an adult’s foot.
  • Dispose of barbeques safely and properly, don’t leave them to smoulder on the beach. This can be a fire hazard or could be fallen or trodden on.
  • Make sure you apply the right factor sunscreen every 2-3hours. Remember that you can get burnt even when it’s cloudy or if you’re underwater. Wearing a wet t-shirt offers you no protection from the sun, either. Stay protected.


Flight restrictions

Alcohol, sharps, tablets, liquids and other items such as food substances, tobacco and souvenirs all ring alarm bells with those flying across the globe, and most countries have strict rules about the amount of these items they allow in. Customs dictate what you are and what you aren’t allowed to bring in to any country, so we’ve provided a handy guide below for you and your holiday:

Liquids – should be in your hand luggage, and should be in its own 100ml container, and carried in a single transparent re-sealable plastic bag of up to 20cm x 20cm.
Baby food or milk – You are allowed to carry as much baby milk, powdered formula, sterilised water and baby food as required for your trip, even if this exceeds the usual liquid limit.
Wheelchairs – Most airlines can accommodate all types of battery-powered wheelchairs. In order for the airline to be prepared for your arrival, provide them with advanced notification of your needs and follow their safety guidance on travelling with a wheelchair.


Liquid medicine – You are allowed to carry as much liquid medicine as is required for your trip, even if this exceeds the usual limit on liquids, provided you have a supporting prescription or doctor’s note.
Tablets and capsules – can be carried in either hand luggage or your main baggage.
Epi-pens and hypodermic needles – can be carried in your luggage as long as they are provided for inspection with a doctor’s note.
Oxygen and other small cylinders – require the airline’s specific approval. Contact your airline or travel provider to ask how to gain approval for this medical equipment.
Portable medical electronic devices (e.g defibrillators, nebulizers, CPAP machines with lithium batteries, portable oxygen concentrators) – also need the airline’s special approval. Contact your airline or travel provider for further advice on gaining approval for this medical equipment.
Small personal thermometers containing mercury – Can be carried on board provided they are in a protective case.


Flying with a child can lead to many dirty looks from fellow passengers when they start to get overtired, kick up a fuss, throw a tantrum or start kicking the back of the seat belonging to the person sat in front of them. Ideally, bring more than enough things to keep your child entertained in order to avoid being stared at by the entire passenger list.
Sticker books, colouring sheets, playing cards, movies, games on a tablet or portable device, are all good toys to bring with you. (You don’t particularly want anything that can cause a mess or be thrown to great distance by your little one, in order to help make your flight as hassle-free as possible)
Make sure you bring some snacks with you too, so you can curb your child’s hunger long before it starts to affect their mood. This should come in useful when you’re queuing at check-in, security, or to board the plane.


There’s nothing worse than packing to go away a few days before your holiday and finding that you, or your child’s passport is out of date or invalid.

If you’re still in the UK and need to get a passport urgently, you have to book an appointment with the Passport Customer Service Centre. After the appointment, you can get your passport the same day or even within a week.

The Passports Office have an urgent passport application service for anyone who wants to renew a passport quickly or for those who are travelling in less than 4 weeks. Urgent services are usually only available for passport renewals, lost stolen or damaged passports and first time child passports.

Bear in mind that your appointment with the Passport Customer Service Centre can be up to three weeks in advance from the date that you book it. A premium 1-day service is available for appointments on certain days, at certain times and at certain locations, all of which are listed on the Foreign Office website.

Please note that passport offices can get quite busy at peak times, especially in the months April, August and September. To avoid disappointment, we recommend calling and booking your passport appointment as soon as possible. We also recommend not booking a holiday until you’re sure your passport is valid or will arrive before your departure date.

Below are the prices of a fast-track new passport service from the Foreign Office:

Passport type Fast track service cost (1 week)
Renew a standard adult 32-page passport £142
Change or amend a standard adult 32-page passport £75.50
Replace a lost, stolen or damaged adult passport £75.50
First child passport £122
Renew or amend a child passport £49
Replace a lost, stolen or damaged child passport £49

If you have found that either you or your child’s passport is out of date, lost, stolen or damaged, but you do not need a replacement urgently, then you can apply online, through the Post Office’s Check and Send service, by completing the form in an application pack and sending it through by post, or at a regional passport office.

It usually takes up to 3 weeks to receive your new passport in the post.

InsuranceWith Awards