Preparing for a holiday when you have a medical condition

24 May 2018

Time to Read


Preparing for a holiday is exciting!

You’ve chosen this year’s adventure, and you’re putting the final details in place for what you hope will be a memorable trip.

But if you’re one of the 15 million people in England with a long term condition, there’s a few more planning steps to make sure everything goes smoothly!

So to help you tick every box for getting ready…

Read on for a one-stop-guide to preparing for a holiday with a medical condition from AllClear Travel

Getting medical travel insurance 

ABTA recently revealed that 40% of British holidaymakers went abroad in 2017 with the wrong cover…

This lead to a staggering 9.9 million travellers being at risk of having their claim turned down last year!

Minimise your chance of having problems during a claim by choosing specialist medical travel insurance.

Basic travel insurance – like those provided with some bank accounts – often provide no cover for your medical conditions, or far too little.

Choose comprehensive cover which will let you travel with peace of mind.

Check the facilities of your destination 

After finding the right medical travel insurance, it’s now time to prepare yourself for any medical events at your destination – just in case!

Consider the following:

  • The quality of the healthcare at your chosen destination. As much as we knock the NHS, not all healthcare systems around the world are as capable. Make sure there’s suitable facilities close to your accommodation
  • The local medical emergency numbers. Now, whilst you should always try and call the medical emergency number of your travel insurance, if you misplace it, it’s good to know the local number instead.
  • Is the landscape suitable for your medical conditions? For example, you might not want your hotel on a hill if you have breathing difficulties!
  • Are the facilities of your accommodation suitable? For example, if you have mobility problems you’ll want easy access around the place. If you need equipment like a wheelchair, call ahead and you may be able to rent one.


Making sure you have enough medication for your holiday is vital!

So book an appointment to see your GP before you go, let them know how long you’ll be away for, and make sure your prescription covers you.

This would also be a good opportunity to ask your doctor any questions you have about your trip. Such as:

  • Are you definitely fit to travel? This is essential to any medical claims being valid on your travel insurance.
  • When should you take your medication if you’re in a different time zone?
  • Are there any activities you should avoid?

Once your prescription is sorted, try to travel with your medication in your hand luggage in case your luggage gets lost or damaged.

Medical travel insurance should cover you for any loss or theft of medication… but it’s also a good idea to know the name of your medication in the local language,  just in case you need it.

Notify your airline and cabin crew

To ensure your journey is comfortable and runs smoothly,  let your airline know about your medical condition before you travel.

You might be surprised by how much they can help!

From priority boarding to needing oxygen in the cabin, it’s always best to check your options.

Tips for specific medical conditions


If you’ve recently had chemotherapy, avoid live vaccinations. They’re not recommended for six months after the treatment – they can cause serious infections to a weakened immune system.

Are you awaiting a date for future treatment?

Consider waiting list cover on your travel insurance – available from AllClear as an optional extra.

And remember some cancer treatments can make the skin more sensitive to sunlight – so be aware of taking time out of the sun.


Taking a holiday can help to ease the symptoms you may be experiencing, but travelling can sometimes increase anxiety.

Consider travelling with someone who understands your anxiety, and have an itinerary to ensure you’re organised.

If you’re worried about flying, then simple tips like listening to music may help.


Always keeping your medication in your hand luggage is extra important if your diabetes requires you take insulin!

If your insulin goes into the hold it could freeze –  which isn’t good!

Instead, it’s a good idea to bring a note from your doctor explaining that you must keep your insulin and syringes with you while travelling.

High blood pressure

Have you considered a blood pressure monitor?

That way you can keep an eye on your blood pressure whilst you’re away and ensure that it remains within a safe blood pressure range.

If you’re flying, stay hydrated! The air in an aircraft is very dry,  and if you do have a few glasses of alcohol, don’t forget the increased affect it can have in the pressurised cabin.

Looking for more information on travel insurance with a medical condition?

Read AllClear's helpful guide.