10 Tips for Traveling While Undergoing Chemotherapy

Just because you have cancer doesn't necessarily mean that travel is always off-limits. If you feel well enough, sometimes a trip in-between treatments to visit friends or family, or a much-needed vacation, can be just the thing to recharge you.

Other times, travel might be necessary for a family emergency or an unexpected event.

Traveling while undergoing chemotherapy is possible for many people with cancer. Here are some tips for traveling to help make things go as best they can.


Talk With Your Healthcare Provider First

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Discuss your travel plans with your healthcare provider to ensure it's appropriate during your treatment. Your healthcare provider can give you specific tips related to your medical condition and travel plans.

Be prepared to tell your healthcare provider details about your travel plans. Will you fly, drive, take the train, or be on a cruise ship? What kind of lodgings will you be in? Will you have access to medical supplies, pharmacies, and medical care? These are all things your healthcare provider needs to know to give you advice and help determine whether travel is appropriate for you.

Ask your healthcare provider for written notes to ensure you don't forget. For some situations, you may even need a documented medical clearance for travel.


Take Extra Medications With You

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It's vital to take extra medications in case they get lost. When traveling, keep medications with you, not in your checked luggage that may go its way without you.

In addition, bring copies of prescriptions in case you lose your medication. It will make verifying the prescription much easier for a pharmacy or hospital.


Know Where to Find Medical Care Throughout Your Trip

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Before your trip, look up and make a list of treatment centers and healthcare providers at each stop and at your destination. Your healthcare provider may be able to provide recommendations.

In an emergency situation, know exactly where to go and what to do.


Check Your Insurance Coverage

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Before you leave, call your health insurance company to see if you're covered in other states or if you need to go to a certain hospital or healthcare provider if you need treatment. You may want to check to see if you need travel insurance if you're going overseas.


Bring Your Medical Records

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If you have been assigned medical devices, make sure you carry verification that they have been prescribed for you and what the medical equipment is. This will be especially important in airports and for foreign travel.


Make Sure Your Medications Are Legal

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If you have medications that are illegal in the country you're traveling to, make sure you have a healthcare provider's note explaining what the drug is and why you need it.

Before traveling, check with the embassy of the country you're visiting for rules about bringing medication into the country. In addition, it's also important to keep your medication in its original packaging and containers, complete with package inserts, to verify its authenticity.


Know Your Body's Limits

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Rest is important for a person with cancer. In other words, please don't overdo it! When you need to rest, sit down or lie down and relax. Just taking 15 to 20 minutes of rest every few hours can save and build up energy for later.


Contact the Airline

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Walking to different terminals and gates can be physically exhausting for someone who doesn't have cancer, let alone a person that does. When checking your baggage, let the airline know that you need assistance to the gate.

Contact the airline if you're traveling with more than 100 milliliters of liquid medication. Tell them about your medication, and ask if there are any particular guidelines you need to follow.

Don't risk not being able to get on your flight because you didn't think you would need help, or were too anxious to ask.


Bring Snacks and Pack Light Meals

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Many people undergoing chemotherapy experience nausea. In fact, just the smell of food can make a person's stomach churn. Bring along your favorite snacks in case dining in a restaurant proves to be difficult due to food aromas.


Enjoy Yourself!

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If you're on a recreational trip, enjoy it. Keeping your mind off cancer can help you cope better. Be smart about your medications and avoid any undue stress as best as you can.

Originally written by Lisa Fayed