The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation estimates that one out of every 500 Americans lives with an ostomy. This is not a life sentence by any means, but it requires some changes. This is especially true when traveling.
Living with an ostomy bag can be a daunting experience, but it should not hold you back from exploring and traveling the world. With the right preparation and knowledge, you can embrace all the exciting adventures and experiences that traveling has to offer. Whether your operation was for medical conditions such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, colorectal cancer or others, you can travel like it never happened.
People with ostomy bags can still lead fulfilling and active lives, and traveling is no exception. In this article, we will provide valuable tips and guidance on how to travel with an ostomy bag, making sure that you have a comfortable and stress-free journey.
1 – Preparing for travel
It is very important to have the right accessories for your ostomy bag before setting out on your trip. Since you will be going many hours without stopping in many cases, the chances of the bag moving too much are high. Make sure to have things like ostomy barrier rings, tape, and belts to keep it in place during your voyage.
Pack plenty of ostomy supplies in your carry-on bag or luggage, including extra bags, wipes, and skin barrier products. You should also carry your supplies in a clear, plastic bag to make it easier to pass through security checkpoints.
Finally, research your destination and make sure you have access to medical facilities and pharmacies that can supply ostomy supplies if necessary. Consider carrying a prescription for your supplies, as well as a letter from your doctor explaining your medical condition and the need for ostomy supplies.
2 – On the plane
Air travel can be stressful, especially for those with an ostomy bag. With some tips for air travel you should be able to travel without much fuss.
Contact the airline in advance to discuss your needs and request any necessary accommodations, such as priority boarding or a seat with extra legroom.
Also, consider bringing a doctor’s note to explain your medical condition and the need for ostomy supplies. This can help prevent any delays or questions at security checkpoints.
Pack extra supplies in your carry-on bag, including a change of clothing and ostomy supplies for at least 48 hours in case of flight delays or lost luggage.
Finally, if traveling internationally, research the customs and regulations for bringing ostomy supplies into the country. You may need to obtain a special permit or carry a translation card explaining your medical condition.
3 – In a car
Road trips can be a fun and adventurous way to travel, but they can also be challenging for those with an ostomy bag. Plan your route and schedule frequent stops to empty and change your ostomy bag. Be sure to locate rest areas and gas stations with accessible restrooms.
Pack a car emergency kit with extra ostomy supplies, medication, and snacks in case of unexpected delays or emergencies. You should also store your ostomy supplies in a cooler to prevent exposure to heat and humidity.
You Can Have a Pleasant Travel Experience with an Ostomy Bag
You will find that having an ostomy requires you to make some changes to your life. Fortunately, you can still have a pleasant time traveling. You just need to follow the tips listed above.