Travelling with a mental health condition

Travelling is one of life’s perks and can be hugely enjoyable, but when you have a mental health condition, travel can add to the challenges of arranging a trip abroad.

With one in four of us expected to experience some form of mental health condition throughout our lifetimes, it’s common for people to travel with one disorder or another.

From depression, anxiety, eating disorders, or post-traumatic stress disorder, it’s important to remember that it’s all about planning well in order to ensure that your trip goes as smoothly as possible.

The team here at Insurancewith have compiled a handy travel checklist for you to read through before you embark on your trip:

  • Medication – As with any medical condition, if you’re on medication, make sure that you bring enough to cover the duration of your trip as well as extra just in case your transport is delayed, it becomes damaged or is lost. Also take into account the conditions that your medication will be travelling in i.e. humid climates or being on board a flight.
  • Doctor’s letter – If you’re travelling with medication, it’s important to also bring a doctor’s letter confirming the importance of the medicine and the consequences of not having them accessible or with you. Some medications are illegal in other countries without proof of prescription, so a doctor’s letter is essential should anything occur.
  • Doctor and prescription details – Make sure you include your doctor’s contact details and an explanation of your medical circumstances. This will come in useful should you need any treatment whilst abroad, as it can help any medical staff tending to you. If all of your medication becomes damaged or lost, having a copy of your prescription details will help you acquire further medication whilst abroad.
  • Identification – Having your hotel details, name and date of birth will come in useful should you find yourself lost or disorientated in an unfamiliar destination.
  • Travel insurance – Travel insurance is important for anyone thinking of travelling abroad. Your insurers will often specify that you notify them of any incident which occurs whilst on your trip, so having your documents packed will ensure you have contact and cover details to hand just in case you need to make a claim. To get a quote for travel insurance which can cover you for your mental health condition.
  • EHIC card – 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.

Packing physical things isn’t the only thing you need to think about before travelling. Travel can be stressful at the best of times, so doing your research and preparing well can lower your stress levels and reduce the risk of any panic. Insurancewith recommends that you:

  • Talk to your doctor – seek advice from your doctor before you travel. They know both you and your condition better than most so will be able to give you travel advice, and extra medication if needs be.
  • Have a flexible itinerary – Rushing around sightseeing can be fun, especially if you’ve only got a tight window to do everything in, but often tiredness and stress can exacerbate mental health conditions. Make sure you take time to rest and do things at your own pace.
  • Avoid nasty surprises – knowing exactly what you’re doing with a well planned trip and itinerary is a sure way to avoid triggering stress. Going and doing familiar things can also help.
  • Research what you will do if something happens. Find out what the medical facilities are like abroad – not every country has the same level of mental health care as we do in the NHS. Factor this in when planning your trip and decide on an action plan for you and your companion should something happen. Research what mental health services are available in your destination, and decide who would help you if your mental health deteriorated abroad, and how would you contact them?
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