5 Travel Tips for Cancer Patients

Travel Made Stress-Free

Woman with sick child
Pixabay — Public Domain

Whether for business or pleasure, there may be times when people with cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma need to travel. While the initial thought may seem overwhelming - travel is stressful enough! - a little planning can help make travel smooth and stress-free. Here are five essential travel tips for cancer patients:

1. Do Your Research.

Start by doing a bit of research about the place(s) you plan to visit. Does traveling there require a special immunization or vaccine? Is getting a vaccine even feasible for you? Are there any illnesses specific to that region that you should be aware of? What types of medical facilities are there? How close are they to where you will be staying? Is there somewhere you could get medication if you need it?

2. Get Covered.

Learn about your health plan and what kind of coverage you have while you're away from home. It would be a great idea to purchase some extra insurance coverage if you don’t have it. Look for an insurance policy that includes an evacuation clause in case you need to be transported home or to safety during an emergency.

3. Talk to Your Doc.

Run your travel plans by your doctor to get the all-clear before you head off. Ask if they can provide you with the name of a doctor at your travel destination that can care for you if you become ill. Some cancer centers can also provide you with a note that can be presented at a different care facility in an emergency. This letter may include information about your condition, the medication you are taking and what they should do if you arrive with a fever or other common malady.

4. Get Your Medication in Check.

Medication is the one thing that you should overpack. Bring enough medication for your entire trip and then some, if possible. Be sure to check your supply and refill if necessary before you go. Some medications are not available in other countries.

It's tempting to toss everything in a pill box, but you should keep all medications in their original, labeled containers, especially if you're flying. Your name and the name and dosage of the medication should be clearly stated on the label. Put cotton balls inside pill bottles to prevent damage during transport. Keep your medication and any other supplies with you in a resealable plastic bag inside your carry-on so nothing spills, breaks or is lost.

You might also consider carrying a note from your doctor with a list of your required medications on it to prove that you need them. This is especially important for pain medications, antidepressants and stimulants that may be illegal in other countries. If you need syringes for your medication, make sure you bring enough for the entire trip, as well as a note from your doctor explaining why you need them. You may not be able to keep syringes in your carry-on baggage if you're traveling by plane, so documentation will be very helpful in this situation. Ask your doctor or pharmacist how to take your medication if you will be traveling to a different time zone.

5. Schedule in Some R & R.

Traveling can be downright exhausting, whatever your reason: whether sightseeing, visiting with family or attending meetings. Make sure to schedule in some rest every few hours so you don’t get too run down. This regularly scheduled “down time” will prevent you from missing out on activities in the future. Above all, take this opportunity to allow yourself some time to think about something other than your cancer and enjoy yourself.

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