Icon - General travel advice

General travel advice

Travel on dialysis

Travel when you are on dialysis is possible but does require special preparation. Be aware that blood tests are compulsory for most dialysis units in Australia and around the world.  Allow time to do the tests and receive the results.

When you are on holiday, your healthcare team must be able to contact you, especially if you are on the transplant waiting list. Give them a detailed travel itinerary with your contact details. Also let them know any changes you make to your travel itinerary or plans.

Travel  with a transplant

Travel when you have a kidney transplant requires some special attention to ensure that both you and your kidney stay healthy. The first step is always to talk to the medical person who takes care of you and your transplant before you finalise any plans.  We have a special fact sheet, developed in association with Michele Hervey of QLD, that provides detail and lots of useful tips about travelling with a kidney transplant. See the Transplant and Travel fact sheet here.

 

General Advice for both Dialysis and Transplant

Treatment letter

Keep an up-to-date treatment letter from your doctor with you at all times, and have a copy in your checked luggage. The letter should summarise your health condition, recent blood results and your medications.

Keep scanned e-copies in an email file (e.g., Yahoo, Hotmail) in case you lose the letter, and for access in emergencies. At such times, your doctor can provide a copy but that’s not ideal if you need urgent treatment or medication. Alternatively consider registering and keeping an up-to-date electronic health record; My Health Record; https://myhealthrecord.gov.au/internet/mhr/publishing.nsf/content/home

Essential extras

Pack an emergency supply of bandages, painkillers, insect-bite ointment and anti-diarrhoea pills. Ask your health team for the names of over-the-counter drugs you can use if needed. Avoid over-exposure to the sun; take a high-factor sunscreen and use it. Sun protection is particularly important for people with kidney transplants.

Travel insurance

Consider taking out basic travel insurance to cover emergencies. Pay for your travel with a credit card that offers some level of travel insurance, or consider organising general travel insurance through a union, bank or superannuation fund. To save time, you can also use an insurance broker to find the most appropriate cover.

Find more information on travel insurance here.

 

Travelling by air

Here are some things to consider when you are travelling by air.

On-board meals

If you travel by plane or train, make arrangements for special meals (e.g., low-salt, low-fat, diabetic). If you are diabetic, carry glucose tablets and snacks (e.g., low-potassium juice) to treat low blood sugar. In case of delays, travel with lunch or nutrition supplements.

Managing diabetes can be made simpler by having in your hand luggage a travel pack containing your insulin, syringes and blood glucose monitoring unit.

Keeping medications cool

Planes don't have fridges for personal use. If you have medications that must be kept cool, ask your pharmacist how to pack them for travel. Check beforehand if your hotel room has a fridge. Consider packing medications in a thermo-bag with re-usable freezer packs, or use a wide-necked thermos chilled in advance.

Syringes

If you need syringes, you must have with them the medication you inject, such as insulin. There is no limit to how many unused empty syringes you can travel with, but the associated medication must have a professionally printed label that clearly identifies it.

Reserve supplies

Travel with at least three days of supplies to cover you for flight delays and unexpected scheduling or shipment delays. Bags can also go astray; they may arrive on the next flight but to be safe always pack medications in a carry-on bag, never in checked luggage.

There are conditions for taking medical supplies on planes and in the hold. You can read about these conditions here.

You can find information on travel on peritoneal dialysis here.

You can find information about travel on home haemodialysis here.

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