Tips for Traveling While Undergoing Chemotherapy

Traveling while undergoing chemotherapy is possible for many people with cancer. You may want to use the down time between treatments to enjoy a vacation or to visit family and friends. A family emergency or other crisis may require you to travel when you didn't plan to. These tips will help the trip go much smoother and you will be prepared for many situations.

Talk to Your Doctor Before Your Trip

Doctor discussing with patient
Doctor discussing with patient. Getty Images/Portra Images/Taxi

Discuss your travel plans with your physician to ensure it is appropriate during your treatment. Your doctor can give you specific tips related to your medical condition. Will you fly, drive, take the train or be on a cruise ship? What kind of lodgings you will be in, climate, food? Will you have access to medical supplies, pharmacies and medical care? These are all things your doctor needs to know to give you advice and judge whether travel is appropriate for you. Ask for written notes. For some situations, you may even need a documented medical clearance for travel.

Take Extra Medications With You

Man taking medication
Man taking medication. Getty Images/Take A Pix Media/Blend Media

It is vital to take along extra medications in case they are lost. When travelling, keep medications with you, not in checked luggage that may go its own way without you. Bring copies of prescriptions in case you  lose your medication. It will make it much easier for a pharmacy or hospital to verify the prescription.

Know Where to Find Medical Care Throughout Your Trip

Man researching online
Man researching online. Getty Images/Hero Images

Before your trip, look up and make a list of treatment centers and physicians at each stop, as well as at your destination. Your doctor may be able to provide recommendations. In an emergency situation, you will know exactly where to go and what to do.

Check With Your Insurance Company for Coverage

Woman talking on phone
Woman talking on phone. Getty Images/JGI/Jamie Grill/Blend Images

Before you leave, give a call to your health insurance company to see if you are covered in other states, or if you need to go to a certain hospital or doctor if you need treatment. You may want to check to see if you may need travelers insurance if you are travelling overseas.

Have Verification of All Medical Equipment

Doctor with bottle writing prescription
Doctor with bottle writing prescription. Getty Images/Hero Images

If you have been assigned medical devices, make sure you carry verification that they have been prescribed for you and what exactly the medical equipment is. This will be especially important in airports and for foreign travel.

Are Your Meds Legal Where You are Traveling?

Doctor's note
Doctor's note. Getty Images/Image Source

If you have meds that are illegal in the country you are travelling to, make sure you have a doctors note explaining what the drug is and why you need it.

Take Time to Rest During Your Trip

Man relaxing and taking a nap
Man relaxing and taking a nap. Getty Images/Martin Barraud/Caiaimage

Rest is important for a cancer patient. Don't overdo it! When you need to rest, sit down or lay down and relax. Just taking 15-20 minutes of rest every few hours can save and build up energy for later. You may need to schedule this into your day so you will have more energy to enjoy your other activities. Allow time between different activities to grab some needed rest.

Arrange for Assistance to your Gate at the Airport

Man in wheelchair at airport
Man in wheelchair at airport. Getty Images/Akiko Aoki/Moment

Walking to different terminals and gates can be physically exhausting for someone who doesn't have cancer, let alone a person that does. When checking your baggage, let the airline know that you need assistance to the gate. Don't risk not being able to get on your flight because you didn't think you would need help, or were too proud to ask.

Bring Snacks and Pack Light Meals

Meal on airplane tray
Meal on airplane tray. Getty Images/Anders Bergstedt/Maskot

Many chemotherapy patients experience nausea. The smell of food can be extremely nauseating. Bring along snacks and a packed lunch in case dining in a restaurant proves to be difficult due to food aromas.

Finally, Enjoy Yourself!

Happy couple relaxing at beach
Happy couple relaxing at beach. Getty Images/Portra Images/Taxi

If you are on a recreational trip, enjoy it. Keeping the mind off cancer can help you cope better. Be smart about your meds and avoid any undue stress.

Continue Reading