Planning a trip for vacation? for work?

You can have a great trip even with IBD.   There are a few things to remember and plan for so that you can rest assured that you can manage your IBD during your trip.

  1. IBD medications:

    1. make a list of all the IBD medications you need to take, including any prn or as needed medications
    2. take enough of each medication to last you the trip plus a few extra days, in case of delays or emergencies
    3. ideally, it is recommended to take your medications in their original bottles with the labels on them from the pharmacy
    4. if you are taking a medication that is in liquid format (e.g. enemas, methotrexate) or requires needles (e.g. methotrexate, a biologic) you may need to ask your doctor for a special letter explaining why you are bringing these, as there are restrictions (for air travel) regarding the amount of liquids you can bring or sharps on board
    5. if you are taking a medication that has to be at certain temperature (e.g. fridge temperature), you may  need to ask your pharmacist for advice on storage during travel and at your destination, and speak to the travel personnel (e.g. flight attendant) for assistance
  2. IBD disease activity:

    1. hopefully you are in remission before you travel, but if you have active disease, speak to your gastroenterologist about how to manage your IBD during the trip, and what to do if you get worse
    2. have a contingency plan for flare ups – your gastroenterologist may develop an emergency plan with you
  3. IBD complications:

    1. if you have known complications of IBD such as strictures, perianal fistulas or abscesses, speak to your gastroenterologist about how to manage these during the trip so that you do not run into trouble while away
  4. Insurance:

    1. since you have a chronic illness, many insurance policies may have limitations on what will be covered regarding medical care when away from home – read the details carefully and speak with your insurance agent to understand your insurance coverage
  5. Emergency contacts:

    1. ensure that your friends or relatives know about your travel plans so they can help should you run into trouble
    2. keep a copy of the contacts for your friends or relatives handy in your wallet or bag
  6. Immunizations/vaccinations:

    1. ensure your basic vaccinations are updated, but if you are travelling to certain countries you may require specific vaccines
    2. speak to a travel physician at a travel clinic to review what vaccines are needed before traveling
    3. remember if you are on a biologic medication you should not receive any live vaccines – this may affect where you can safely travel
  7. Foreign diets:

    1. often times when travelling, you will be eating foods that may be different than your “normal” – you may wish to bring some non-perishable snacks or foods with you on your trip or find out where you can purchase your type of food at your destination
    2. be careful about water – ensure to take bottled or boiled water
    3. be careful about street food – ensure well cooked and clean and safe cooking conditions
  8. Ostomy:

    1. if you have an ostomy, ensure to bring enough supplies with you for regular changes plus additional changes – carry supplies with you as carry on as well as in your check in luggage
    2. bring a travel letter or card to help explain that you have an ostomy and why you carry your supplies
    3. try to get an aisle seat so that you can have easier access to get up to use the bathroom if needed


For some handy tips and resources on travelling, check out the following:

IBD passport website

Travel – Crohn’s and Colitis Canada


For some handy tips and resources on travelling with an ostomy, check out the following:

Travel with an ostomy – United Ostomy Association of America

Travel with an ostomy – Coloplast Canada

Ostomy travel tips – Convatec Canada

Living with an Ostomy – travel – Hollister Canada

Traveling with an ostomy – VeganOstomy