Just because you have had a stoma doesn’t mean you can’t take a holiday. With a little preparation there should be no reason why you can’t jet off to the opposite side of the world; head for warmer (or colder) climes on a cruise; or take the caravan on the road in the UK and Europe; or Interrail to wherever you please. With a little forward planning before you begin your holiday you can certainly alleviate, or in most cases, dispel any stress completely. Use the list below to help make packing for your next adventure a little easier.
- Pack Extra Supplies. Make sure you have extra pouches, skin barriers and accessories so you're prepared to change and empty your pouch when needed. If you are flying, be sure to put ostomy supplies and a spare change of clothes in your carry-on as well as your checked luggage—just in case your checked luggage is misplaced. Extra supplies will help in the event of delays and/or non-availability at your destination.
- Drink up. Be sure to pack your me+™ refillable drinks bottle so you can stay hydrated. Nothing slows down a holiday more than dehydration.
- Pre-cut all cut-to-fit barriers at home. Why not try a Mouldable™ Skin Barrier? Cut out a few steps while you're traveling to help make pouch changes easier and quicker.
- Carry a statement from your healthcare professional stating your need for ostomy supplies. You can also request our Customs Advice leaflet to show to security officers with questions, covering many different languages.
Extra security precautions are being taken at airports and other transit hubs worldwide. 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.
In particular, remember that all airport screenings must be conducted with courtesy, dignity and respect. You may request screening in a private area at all U.K. airports and most international destinations.
A few additional tips to keep you on the go:
- The Sunflower Lanyard scheme was rolled out across UK airports in 2017 and indicates to airport staff that the wearer has additional, hidden, needs that should be considered to ensure a smooth experience through the airport. Sunflower lanyards can be obtained at any of the airport’s assistance desks.
- 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.
- Traveling to a foreign country? It is a good idea to have key questions, such as "where is the bathroom?", written down in the local language. Google Translate is helpful in almost any language.
- Don't forget to leave your anxiety at home. Travel with confidence. For more information download our Holiday Advice booklet or call the me+™ team to order your printed copy, along with your Customs Advice leaflet on 0800 467 866 (UK) or 1800 721 721 (RoI)
me+™ community travel experiences
Camping - Caroline
I was a little nervous of the idea of having to deal with my stoma whilst camping. But all it took was a little bit of forward planning. I knew that I would wake up sometime around 4am to go to the loo, so camped close to the toilet block. I had my bag of stoma products, my jacket, a torch and wellies sat in the corner of the tent ready for my night-time trip. It worked a treat. Knowing where my kit was made the whole experience easy. It was just like getting up at home, except I don’t usually wear wellies to go to the bathroom.
Spending a little bit of time researching some good campsites that not only ticked all the boxes for the family in terms of local facilities, but gave us the freedom to pitch where we liked and had appropriate toilet and washing facilities. Read full article
Air travel - Charlie
I was worried about whether my bag would inflate during the flight, and what the checks would be like passing through security. I needn’t have been so concerned, and to be honest I don't worry at all nowadays. On flights I never notice the stoma to be any more active and the bag itself never puffs up anymore than usual either. All I usually double check is that I have packed enough supplies! I'm no different to anyone else and don't feel any different. It doesn't impact on my holiday or flying experience at all.
Just enjoy and experience different places - after all, we deserve a holiday - don’t we? :-) Read full article
Car travel – Billy
I enjoy long car journeys. One such journey was from Edinburgh down to Land’s End and the thought of such a long drive and stopping at service stations was initially quite daunting. My solution, however, I thought was clever: I put a night bag under the car seat and connected it to my urostomy appliance and found I could drive for hours without stopping for the loo. I just stopped for a rest and a cup of tea every 3 hours. Read full article
Skiing – Rachel
Before surgery I resisted travel because of IBD and a mountain of associated anxiety. Since surgery (October 2016) I’ve been making up for lost time and have skied twice in the last two months. There were plenty of places to stop for a rest and use the bathroom up the mountain and I took a camelbak® so I could hydrate, which also gave me space to store ostomy supplies. The trip wasn’t without a couple of anxieties but they were easily overcome. The first ‘problem’ I hit was how to empty my bag when encumbered by layers of ski gear and making the squat down to the toilet seat wearing ski boots in a small mountain cubicle. With a bit of manoeuvring I made it without any disasters and was soon back on the mountain. After 16 years of IBD I’ve got some catching up to do! Read full article
Holiday Advice for people with a stoma
This booklet has been created with the support of Stoma Care Specialists and Amcare™ Group Nurses to provide you with general holiday advice for both UK and abroad.