“Think of the beach” the medication “sunshine” and the doctors letters “beautiful colourful cocktails” finding travel insurance “our gorgeous sunshine natural tans” let’s not forget the emergency hospital information
Is it easy for someone with a medical condition to go on holiday? Yes, it’s easy! There may be a few extra requirements we may need to think about but all you need is a little extra time and patience. Once you’ve done that you’ll be booking a holiday, packing your nearest suitcase and hopping on that plane in no time. I love travelling, and I’ve been to a good few countries, including New Zealand, South Africa, Dublin, New York City, Vienna, Paris and Spain. With my love for travelling and not letting epilepsy define me, I wanted to share some tips on how I plan a stress-free holiday with epilepsy.
Research: got that holiday destination in mind? Before you book anything and commit to that country, make sure you research the area. What’s the current political state and is it safe and advisable to travel to? If you know this area is safe and welcomes tourists, then you need to look into your medical condition and what countries and insurance covers your epilepsy.
Travel insurance: there’s many different travel insurance companies out there so I’d recommend finding the best one for your medical needs. I paid nearly £400 for 5 weeks on a wildlife reserve in South Africa. But this covered me for everything. Sometimes it’s better to be safe than sorry, especially if you have uncontrolled seizures. I would advise researching to make sure you’re confident with your decision, cover and payment.
More research: so you’ve researched your destination and you’ve found a suitable travel insurance company for your pre-existing medical condition – that’s great! If you have confirmation of your accommodation then you can now start to focus on the emergency details such as embassy contacts, the nearest hospital, chemist and doctors. Thankfully I’ve never needed to use these emergency details but I’ve always made sure I’ve created a document that has all of these details accessible to take with me. You never know what could happen!
Take a visit to your doctors: if you’re anything like me you probably already live at the doctors so I understand the pain and irritation of having to wait in the waiting room again! But it’s really important to have a doctor’s opinion. If you talk to a doctor about where you’re travelling and the purpose of why you’re travelling, they may be able to supply you with more information. This could include extra prescriptions and medical jabs, extra medication and a doctor’s letter to confirm these are your tablets to travel to said destination and you’re allowed to enter/exit the country with these. I know this may sound over prepared and a waste of time and money but you never know what could happen when you’re abroad and the last thing you’d want is the stress of not having your medication. Flight delays are out of your control hunny!
Medical ID: my medical ID bracelet has helped me so much in my daily routines as well as travelling. The medical logo is universally recognised and you can customise your bracelet to suit your needs. You never know when you could have a seizure, so giving paramedics a helping hand by stating your condition on your bracelet could dramatically help. I also keep emergency contact details with me whilst abroad incase paramedics need to contact any of my family.
Educate your travel chums: if you’re travelling with friends then you know you’re going to have an amazing time! To make sure you can focus on your holiday plans, make sure your friends know how to look after you, what to do in an emergency, what signs to look for and little things to avoid. So whether that’s having a chat, practising the recovery position or doing a simple step-by-step guide booklet, this relives any stress in the group and gives you more time to focus on you rather than the what ifs!
No matter what type of holiday you’re planning, it’s time for you to unwind and relax – whether you’re sitting by the pool or cheetah tracking in South Africa. Everyone needs a break. Travelling is so easily accessible to anyone, whether you have a health condition or not. If I can travel independently and with friends whilst having epilepsy than anyone can.