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If you’ve had a colostomy, an ileostomy, or a urostomy, you may worry about traveling. Prepare for travel with a stoma with these handy tips.
Does the thought of traveling make you concerned? Maybe you’re worried about not having a clean place to change your pouch? Or stressed about possibly running short on your ostomy products, or losing them in transit?
There’s a great solution for those worries and many others: preparation. Preparation will put your mind at ease, and you’ll quickly realize that you can indeed travel– not just a few miles from home, but anywhere in the world.
Prepare for your next trip with the following guidelines.
Prep tip #1 – Create a checklist: Don’t wait until the day before your trip to make a list of supplies. Make it a few weeks before, in case you need to order more. Count the number of pouch changes you would normally need to make, and then double the number. That way you’re ready for anything, even the unexpected. That’s especially important on cruise trips, where you won’t have access to suppliers (you may even want to pack a little more). Travel delays, lost ostomy supplies, or frequent changes due to hot climates won’t be a problem either. Items to bring may include:
Prep tip #2 – Have a backup plan: Even if you pack more than you think you’ll need, anything can happen. The good news is that most manufacturers have products available around the world. Before you leave home, find out where you can buy supplies near your travel destination. Start with The United Ostomy Associations of America (UOAA) for information on suppliers abroad, or at ports of call on a cruise. Check with your ostomy manufacturer for suppliers in your area of travel. It’s also a good idea to find out where the nearest medical facility is, and have your emergency contact information ready.
Prep tip #3 – Get an ostomy travel card from your healthcare provider: This should explain why you need pouches, skin barriers, and medications to customs and security personnel at checkpoints. In the U.S. a travel communications card from UOAA is available in a variety of languages (helpful if you need supplies while traveling abroad too). Even with such a card, it’s also a good idea to have a letter from your healthcare professional explaining your medical condition.
Prep tip #4 – Check your travel insurance: Some policies may have age or pre-existing medical condition limits. Be sure you are fully covered before you leave. Check with your insurance or travel agent to avoid any unwanted surprises.
Prep tip #5 – Make a final change: It’s a good idea to change your skin barrier and pouch just before you leave your home. This minimizes the possibility of leaks, and gives you a boost of confidence as you venture out.
View or print the full PDF booklet: Living with an Ostomy: Travel.
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