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How to Travel with Crohn's Disease


Purpose of this article

This article is designed to help you plan your future travels to ensure they remain as stress-free and accident-free as possible

Travel by Car

  • Proactively search out bathrooms or possible pitstops on your route to ensure you always know where the next toilet is
  • Keep a spare change of pants, socks and underwear in your backseat or trunk just in case of an accident. Keeping these items in a gym bag will not draw any suspicion from anyone who rides in your car.
  • Always plan for a worst-case scenario. If a trip is expected to last 5 hours, consider what you will do if there is traffic or a road is closed and the trip will be several hours more. This might mean packing a safe snack or meal with you to ensure you will have something to eat that you can tolerate during the trip

Travel by Airplane

  • Before you go, you need to seriously consider buying travel insurance. Even if you are a UK citizen travelling in Europe, and can recieve free emergency medical care, you would have to pay out in the event of cancelling / cutting short your trip.
  • The day of the flight try to eat "safe" foods that you know from experience will not cause excessive gas or frequent bathroom visits, and bring safe food on board in your hand luggage in case the in flight food is not suitable for you
  • If you can choose your seat for the flight, ensure you are sitting near a washroom, in an aisle seat
  • To ensure there are no confrontations during the flight, alert the main flight attendant about your condition and any support you may require (such as a bit of leeway using the toilet even if the seatbelt sign is on)
  • Take any medications in your hand luggage, or carry prescriptions so in the event your hold luggage gets lost, you are not left without your medications. As well as prescription medications, you should consider carrying antacids, wind remedies, anti diarrhoea and painkillers, as the pressure change on the plane may affect your stomach and bowels. You may also need a letter from your doctor in order to be able to take prescription medicines into another country.
  • If you are in a flare, you may be more at risk of blood clots. You may want to consider using in flight support socks, and exercising during the flight, particularly if it is long-haul.
  • Check out the Crohn's and Colitis Associations for the country you are visiting. You can find handy tips, and even translations of medical jargon in case you can't find an English speaking doctor in an emergency.

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03-02-2012, 10:04 AM   #1
rygon's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Grimsby, United Kingdom
For UK Citizens travelling to other European countries, you must carry an EHIC card to obtain free medical insurance at State Covered Hospitals (ie not private hospitals).

To get this card for free Click Here

More info for travelling can be found on the UK Crohns & Colitis Website
Travel and IBD

and a list of IBD friendly travel Insurers IBD and Insurance
Current Meds:
2x 1200mg Mezavant, 3x50mg Azathioprine, Infliximab (6 weekly)
03-02-2012, 10:58 AM   #2
Gstar's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: London, Ontario
Hi Everyone..

I just would like to comment that was a great article with alot of great advice regarding travelling!

I know its human tendancy to always stress when you are about to go on an 'out of routine' venture. I believe we are the victims of our own demise too greatly at times. We put this extra stress on us which affects our GI system further because we are always think about it. We need to turn off the thinking machine, and relax, and enjoy our surroundings..

I'm not trying to make light of the situation when I say this, but if you $hit your pants, you $hit your pants! Something you should never feel ashamed about! It can happen to anybody, and it even happened to celebrities who have the same disease of us!! (And their stories / accidents get posted for everyone to read) You are a person with one life to live, live it with utmost positivity and live it with pride! Yes.. you may be hindered from the average folk BUT that doesn't mean you need to lay your head down low! There are far greater diseases out there. Enjoy the simple things each and everyday.

A smile goes along way and when you see positives before negatives, life becomes more enjoyable all around.. Always keep positive folks, the glass should always be half-full!!
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