Who doesn’t love vacation? We all do, but it’s important to keep your IBD in check while you’re having fun. Here are a few tips to remember when planning your trip to make it even better!
You’ve been waiting for it, you’ve been planning for it, and it’s finally here—vacation! Before you leave for your vacation, here are a few tips and suggestions to make your vacation as smooth and hassle free as possible. IBD doesn’t rule your life at home, don’t let it rule your vacation!
Print out your patient journey summary and bring it with you on vacation. Keep a copy in Google docs in case you lose your papers.
Prescriptions: Make a list of all of the prescriptions you take as well as their dosages (how much you take and how often).
Doctors/Pharmacists: Make a list of all of your doctors and pharmacists, along with their contact information (phone numbers, fax numbers, and email addresses). Bring a calling card with you and know how to use it to dial home in case of emergency.
Insurance: Make sure to bring your insurance card with you. Before you leave, find out how your insurance works overseas. To find this information, speak with your parents about visiting the insurance website or about calling your insurance company to find how they work out of your home country.
Hospitals: Look up the hospitals that are closest to where you will be staying. Better safe than sorry.
Medication: Make sure to remember your medication(s) and bring them in their original bottles. This is just good practice and avoids any complications in the case you need to show them when going through security, like TSA. This is especially true if your medications are liquid or in syringe form. You may need to provide a written note from your doctor approving the medication.
Before you leave on vacation, make sure you have a sufficient supply of your medications for the time you’ll be on vacation, plus a few extra in case something happens, such as a delay in returning.
If you’re traveling to a different time zone, keep that in mind when it’s time to take your medication. You would not want to double up or miss a dose because the time has changed! If you will be vacationing in a different time zone, speak with your doctor about how to adjust when to take your medicine, both for when leaving and coming back home.
Carry it on!
Don’t pack your medication in your suitcase. Bring it with you in your carry-on bags. Keeping your medication with you is important because luggage can be lost and delayed when traveling. Plus, it is important to remember to take your medication (if need be) while traveling.
Bring a spare set of clothes with you in your carry-on. This way, just in case your luggage gets lost or there is an accident, you have a spare set to change into.
Pay attention to your diet: Whether you are traveling by plane, train, or boat, make sure you can eat the food served. More often than not, you can order special meals. If your diet is strict or you need to be careful about this, check to see if you can order a special meal. Or simply bring some food with you that you know you’ll be able to eat.
When you arrive at your destination, make sure to pay attention to what you’re eating. Just because you’re away, doesn’t mean you should abandon the diet you put together to manage your symptoms. You don’t want to unnecessarily cause a flare up or problem while on vacation, so be cautious.
Where is the bathroom? Whenever and wherever you’re traveling, it’s always a good idea to learn a bit of the language. Be sure to know how to ask where the bathroom is located in the local language. Other words that can be helpful to learn are:
“hospital”, “doctor”, “pharmacy”, “help”, and “emergency”, etc. It could be helpful to purchase a small guidebook, as these guidebooks frequently have not only maps showing locations that include restrooms, but also words and common phrases in the local language.
No matter where you’re going, do a little bit of preparation before your trip and have a relaxing, healthy, and enjoyable vacation.