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Travel top tips

The good news is, there’s no reason for your urinary diversion to hold you back from travelling, so the world can still be your oyster!

It’s natural to feel a bit apprehensive though, so supporters of the Urostomy Association have kindly drawn on their own experiences to develop these top tips.

If you’ve any top tips of your own, do let us know and we can share them with other urostomates.

  • “Put all your supplies in your hand luggage, and the airline SHOULD allow you an extra piece of hand luggage” – Margaret
  • “If on a long journey I always sit with a night bag on, then you can relax. I’ve flown several times since my op and I have letter and travel card. I’ve stopped getting in touch with airlines to request extra luggage as I’ve had a small bag with me and nobody has ever questioned why I had an extra bag. Book an aisle seat near the toilets” – Marie 
  • “Some airlines will let you book seats in advance, free of charge. Worth asking.” – Margaret
  • “3:1 with supplies and at least two sets ready for travel. Despite several 14+ hour flights, I’ve never had issues. Sit near to the toilets in an aisle seat, and use night bag if needed. Take extra clothing, just in case, and do not stress.” – Freddie
  • “Pack plenty of supplies (more than you would usually use in that time period). Split your stoma supplies between all of your bags so that if one bag is lost, you will always have access to other supplies in another bag. Most airlines will allow you extra hand luggage too. Plan ahead – get supporting letters from your consultant/stoma nurses/GP to cover you, your supplies and any medicines that you may need.” – Jennifer
  • “If flying wear a sunflower lanyard and tie a second lanyard onto your hand luggage. Airport security staff can then connect you with your hand luggage.” – Donna
  • “If going to the USA keep your medications in their original boxes.” – Donna
  • “Carry your travel certificate in your hand when going through security as they won’t let you access your bag if you get stopped for any reason.” – Helen
  • “If travelling by plane use the special assistance available via all airlines as you won’t need to queue.” – Megan
  • “Put a night bag in a tote bag so that you can attach it discretely if the seatbelt signs stay on for ages. Double check both the airport’s security and airline’s policy about carrying medical scissors if you’re still cutting your own bags and make sure to have some pre-cut bags in case of issues with scissors. Keeping a letter from your GP to hand to security is really helpful. I found making up little ‘travel bags’ with 2x supplies of everything (stoma bags, seals, wipes, disposal bags etc) really helpful so I could just grab one of the travel bags and knew everything I needed for a bag change was in there (the 50ml mini adhesive spray bottles fit perfectly into mini toiletry bags). – Katie
  • “Take a pillow case then after you’ve washed out your night bag you can pop into pillow case and hang it up in the wardrobe. I didn’t really want mine hanging in the hotel bathroom.” – Anne
  • “If wearing a stoma belt, be prepared for further checks at security. I have no issues with that. I even tell them before I go through the xray machine.” – Jessica
  • “Carry a travel card (available from your stoma team or stoma equipment provider). This will allow you easy access through all airports. This needs to be signed by your GP. Do not date the form, and then you can use for multiple trips. If you show it at scanner points, they will then leave your equipment bag alone to enable it to remain as sterile as possible. The card is one of the most useful things that you carry with you when flying.” – Elaine
  • “Take a pillowcase and two nappy pins. Put your night bag in it and pin to the side of the mattress. Much easier than using a night stand.” – Donna
  • “Go on a short trip first to boost your confidence. That way if it gets impossible you can return home – but it won’t of course!! A more practical tip – take stock from different batches in case there is a fault with one batch.” – Rachel
  • “You may wish to start with a short stay in the UK while you get used to travelling again” – Jonathan

A huge thank you to members of our ‘Urostomy Association Help and Support‘ Facebook group for these suggestions. These ideas are representative of each person’s experiences, and are unique and individual to them. Please note that inclusion in this list does not constitute recommendation by the Urostomy Association. Please remember to ask your own stoma specialist if you have any questions or concerns about your own urinary diversion.