Travelling With a Chronic Illness

Posted on Mon, Aug 28, 2017

travelling-with-a-chronic-illness.jpgTravelling is a demanding task that often involves a great deal of physical exertion, and travelling to new areas can put even the healthiest immune system to the test. With this in mind, the stress is multiplied by tenfold for those travelling with a chronic illness, as many illnesses and treatments may lower the efficacy of the body’s immune system.

Travelling with a chronic illness requires a great deal of early preparation in order to ensure a safe trip. What will you need to bring? In case of an emergency during your trip, are you familiar with air ambulance transport services? These are questions that should be asked along the way. Thankfully, with careful planning, an individual living with an illness can still experience one of the many joys of the human experience – exploration.

We have put together a list of steps to take in order to make your trip as relaxed as possible.

Visit Your Doctor Before Travelling

It is highly important to visit your doctor and completing a pre-travel physical exam before you leave. We suggest doing this at least a month in advance, just in case you require any special treatment or medication to travel. This is especially important if you plan on travelling to a new country, because these trips often require specific vaccinations to prevent area-specific diseases from attacking your body. A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 26% of travelers returned ill from Africa, followed by 17% returning from Southeast Asia. This is why it is important to ask your doctor about any travel-specific preventative measures that need to be taken before you begin your adventure.

Bring a Copy of Your Health History

It is recommended that you bring an up-to-date and signed copy of your health history information sheet (HHIS). This should include both personal and emergency contact information, as well as in-depth coverage of your medical diagnosis, previous treatments, and information regarding any medications you are currently taking. This document will significantly assist any care you may need in the event of a medical emergency.

Prepare the Medications You Are Taking

Of course, if you are currently taking medications, you should be sure to bring them with you on your journey. Yet, it is equally important to bring an extra supply of medication – enough to cover the necessary doses for your entire trip, plus two or three extra days to cover any unplanned delays. Furthermore, always bring signed copies of your prescriptions. This will help prevent any misunderstanding when it comes to flying with medication or syringes, as many airlines have very strict restrictions when it comes to what can be brought on an airplane.

Verify Your Insurance Information

Travel insurance is especially important for those travelling with chronic illnesses, because preexisting illnesses may require a last-minute trip cancellation or picking up an unforeseen illness during your travels may require an early trip home. With this in mind it is important to understand what most travel insurance providers cover. Here is a list of the most common coverage points:

Trip Cancellation Insurance

The trip is cancelled before departure due to personal illness, or illness within the party you are travelling with.

Trip Interruption

An illness caused the trip to end early, causing you to lose unspent travel expenses.

Emergency Medical Care

Covers medical treatment needed outside of your current health insurance network.

Emergency Evacuation

The country or area you are in cannot provide the necessary medical care, forcing an emergency trip home.

Most of the above coverage points are standard coverage items in travel insurance plans, but it is important that your travel insurance provider will suit your needs before you leave.


It is important to perform the necessary preparation. Doing so will significantly reduce the chances of any problems along the way. Afterall, travelling should be a fun and relaxing experience for anyone involved.


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