Travelling with cancer
Travelling during any illness presents its own list of challenges that otherwise healthy holidaymakers don’t have to worry about – but that’s not to say travelling with cancer is impossible or should always be avoided.
Our desire for adventure and travel doesn’t stop with a cancer diagnosis, and in fact, in the face of uncertain times a holiday surrounded by family and friends can be a welcome respite from the stress at home.
If you or someone you love has cancer, here are some tips for travelling that can help you plan a great holiday.
Check you’re fit to travel
Before any travel plans can get moving first you need to ensure you’re fit to travel. Speak to your doctor honestly about your plans and make sure they are aware and supportive of any holidays you are considering. Your doctor can tell you if there’s anything that could make travelling unsafe or if there’s a time that’s better to go away.
Consider your flights
In general, cancer patients are usually advised against flying if they are breathless, anaemic, at risk of developing swelling in the brain or have recently had surgery. If you are given the all-clear to fly, think carefully about how long a flight will be realistically manageable for you. If you intend to make a longer journey, try breaking it up into a series of shorter flights to make it more comfortable and less exhausting.
Try a staycation
If you’re not fit to fly it doesn’t necessarily have to derail your travel plans. Consider alternate modes of transportation or plan a staycation closer to home. There are excellent British cities that can still make you feel like you’re a world away. If flying isn’t an option try planning a trip to the continent by train – the Eurostar services France, Holland and Belgium – or by a combination of car, train and ferry.
Access to the medication you need is one of the most important considerations when planning a holiday with cancer. Make sure you have enough of what you need for your trip plus extra in case of unexpected delays. Many medications need to be refrigerated – keep them in a cool, dry pouch while you are in transit and ask ahead at your hotel to make sure there is a small fridge in your room. Travelling across time zones is another consideration – keep a detailed list of what medication you need to take and when you need to take it, then adjust this for your new time zone so that your dosage stays consistent.
Travel insurance is essential – don’t leave home without it. In the case of a medical emergency before or during your trip, you need to know you have the cover in place so you’re not stranded when you need help most. Look for cover before you book your holiday as it can be more difficult to secure a policy with cancer. If you’re travelling in Europe, make sure you have a European Health Insurance Card. For more information on this subject, Macmillan offers a helpful guide.
If you have pre-existing medical conditions contact Free Spirit:
Call FREE on 0800 170 7704 quoting ‘Silver10’ (Mon to Fri 8am-6pm, closed Bank Holidays)
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