A world of travel is waiting for you
Everyone deserves a holiday – a week or two away from the stresses of everyday life and the chance to recharge your batteries, set off on a thrilling adventure or just relax in the sun. And just because you are living with an ostomy, there is no reason to give up the treat of travelling to new destinations. All it takes is a little bit of extra planning and preparation, and you’re all set to go.
Before you travel
Preparation is key for any traveller, ostomy or not, and writing a list of what you need to do well in advance of your trip will ensure nothing is forgotten.
A seat near the restroom
When booking flights, you might prefer to choose a seat near the restrooms, which are usually at the front and rear of the plane. An aisle seat could also be best for you, as it saves you having to disturb a sleeping passenger to get to the restroom quickly.
Carry a statement from your healthcare professional stating your need for ostomy supplies. You can also download and print our discreet TSA card to show to security officers with questions.
TSA rules state that you can be screened without having to empty or expose your ostomy; however, you may need to conduct a self pat-down of the ostomy, followed by a test of your hands for any trace of explosives1.
Relax & shop
Shopping and enjoying a drink or a bite to eat at the airport is all part of the fun when travelling. Remember to eat slowly so that you’re not swallowing too much air, and you’ll want to avoid the types of food that you know produce gas, as well as carbonated drinks both at the airport and when flying. We recommend emptying your pouch just before boarding. All you have to do then is relax, enjoy the flight and look forward to the adventures that lie ahead.
If you are traveling to a foreign country, bring this information written in the appropriate language. Google Translate may be helpful with translations. If you find you need additional supplies while traveling, a local pharmacy is a great starting point. The local pharmacist should be able to provide you with the necessary supplies and/or refer you to a local clinic/hospital for support.
Pre-cut all cut-to-fit barriers at home. Although current United States Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) rules2 allow curved point scissors with blades less than 4" in length in your carry-on luggage, keeping your ostomy scissors in your checked luggage may avoid delay and extra screening
Consider purchasing travel insurance that guarantees getting you to a hospital, if necessary.
When it comes to supplies, OVERPACK! Better safe than sorry. Pack at least three days’ worth of ostomy supplies in your carry-on luggage, just in case your checked luggage is misplaced or there are delays and/or non-availability at your destination. Here are some packing tips.
Drink, drink, drink. Nothing slows down a vacation more than dehydration. Read more about tips on hydration.
If traveling by car, take advantage of rest areas. Stop and empty your pouch regularly; you never know how far it will be until the next one! If possible, review your route on a map to plan for regular restroom breaks.
Pack ostomy-friendly snacks.
Keep a set of clean clothes handy whether in your carry-on luggage or in the trunk of your car.
Carry a few plastic bags and wet wipes for quick clean-up.
A little pre-planning and understanding of both security rules and your right to privacy can help you avoid problems in transit and enjoy your travels.
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