Travelling abroad is an exciting time but as an ostomate you may have some concerns about airports. The most common worry is how to get safely through the airport with your stoma supplies and fears about being searched by security personnel. Make sure you get yourself a travel certificate, it can work wonders for making your pending travel less stressful and can help prevent any issues at security. Travel certificates can ease some of those anxieties as they provide a simple explanation of your condition and/or stoma surgery and why you always need to carry essential stoma supplies and medications, so you do not have to stand there explaining yourself. Security staff are usually very good at treating those with a stoma respectfully and discreetly, so try not to get too worried.
What are travel certificates:
Travel certificates are usually a handy pocket size certificate, ask your stoma care nurse if you are unsure where to get one. It provides a simple explanation of why you have a stoma, why you need stoma supplies with you at all time and certain medications. Some certificates show photo examples of what a stoma pouch looks like on and off the body.
It is a good idea to also take a copy of your repeat prescriptions which shows all your stoma product prescriptions and codes. Keep this with your travel certificate.
The information is written in English and ten other languages, so you can choose which is appropriate for you or where you are travelling to. It should save you having to explain yourself in front of any other people you may be travelling with.
The information on the certificate usually states:
- Your name and address
- Date of travel
- Passport number
- Travel Insurance Policy number
- GP details
- GP or Stoma Care Nurse signature to endorse the certificate
Some other travel certificates have additional information such as a “no waiting” statement, indicating that you have a medical condition allowing you urgent access to a toilet facility.
It also indicates that if it is deemed necessary for the certificate holder to be searched, the search must be carried out in a private room and the medical supplies should not be taken away as the person may need them.
The certificate will also advise security that you have a “hidden condition” and therefore need a bit of privacy and support when going through the airport. As an ostomate you are also welcomed to wear a Sunflower lanyard via the Invisible disability’s sunflower lanyard scheme. This scheme has been rolled out across the airports and will discreetly make airport staff aware you are traveling with a disability. This may prompt staff to offer extra assistance to make sure that travelling through the airport is as stress free as possible.
Planning for holidays helps you feel really organised and ready for a relaxing time away from home. Get ready by making a list of jobs you need to get done before the big day.
- Make sure your prescriptions are in for the next month and you have plenty of pouches and accessories to take with you, plus some spares just in case
- Don’t forget your wipes and disposable bags too
- Medications if necessary
- Hand wipes if running water is not available
- Hand held mirror may help
Finding out the nearest medical facilities:
Enquire as to where the nearest medical facilities are to where you are staying and have emergency information ready.
Check you have a good travel insurance and make sure you are fully covered on the day you leave until the day you return. Some companies may have age or pre-existing medical condition limits.
With all the recent uncertainty around travelling abroad over the last two years, people are now making up for lost time venturing further afield again. If you are going abroad, still remember to take your masks and hand sanitiser. It is no longer a legal requirement for passengers to wear a mask but vulnerable passengers have been told they should continue to wear a mask and people will be asked to observe social distancing in indoor areas.
You can show the vaccination records in your NHS COVID Pass as proof of your COVID-19 status when travelling abroad.
Before booking an international flight, you should check government travel advise for the latest information on Covid-19 entry requirements and travel warnings for the country you are travelling to on the GOV.UK foreign travel advise pages and on the websites of your destination country.