Overseas travel while on dialysis needs careful planning and thought about the facilities and cost of medical care in the country you intend to visit. Dialysis in other countries can be expensive. It’s also important to talk to your dialysis healthcare team about how travel may affect your health.

Read more general information about travel and health. See travel medicine advice for international travel after kidney transplant here.

Haemodialysis
Some global holiday groups specialise in organising dialysis and guarantee quality service, but apply charges. Ask what is covered in the fees and get a firm quote. Your dialysis healthcare team will need to give you a letter of introduction and list of medications and prescriptions.

You can see more helpful information in our booklet here.

Some locations for overseas haemodialysis units are listed below. 

Peritoneal dialysis
With careful planning, arrangements can be made in advance for dialysis supplies to be delivered to many, but not all, countries. Your dialysis equipment provider can advise if supplies are available in the country to which you you wish to travel.

You can see more information here.

Waiting for a kidney transplant
Consult your healthcare team and transplant coordinator to determine if you will be able to return in time if a kidney becomes available. Be aware that you are unlikely to be granted travel insurance while on the transplant waiting list, or for some time after the transplant. You are also unlikely to receive travel insurance.

Prescribed medication
Many countries, including Australia, only allow you to have enough medically required medication to cover you for three months at maximum dose. You can see the general guidance for travellers bringing medicines to and from Australia here.

For further information about travelling overseas with medicines listed under the Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme, phone the Department of Human Services on freecall 1800 500 147 or go to their webpage here.

Check that the medications you need, especially pain killers or opiates, are not considered illegal in countries you may be visiting. Erythropoietin is banned for sports persons, so ensure that if you need this drug it is noted in your treatment letter, otherwise you may face lengthy delays in Customs, be fined, or worse.

You can see the World Anti-Doping Agency’s prohibited list of medications and therapeutic use exemptions here.

Treatment letter
Ensure your doctor updates your treatment letter with your current health condition, recent lab results and medication list for you to provide to Customs.

Keep the treatment letter with you at all times, and have a copy in your checked luggage. Also 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.

Travel Doctor
This site provides medical information and services for holiday travellers, immunisation, medical kits and related products - click here.

Travel health insurance 
When you have a chronic disease be aware there are issues with buying travel insurance, but some level of travel health insurance is strongly advised. Don’t book travel until cover is secure.

Ask questions about details of the insurance cover, especially if you have multiple pre-existing health conditions, as most travel cover will exclude such conditions.

As a guide, travel insurance may be granted if you have kidney disease, have had a transplant six months or more previously, are free of complications from your transplant, and your overall health is stable. Travel insurance will not usually be granted to anyone on a transplant waiting list, on dialysis, or with a complex health history.

If you had private health insurance cover at the time you developed chronic kidney disease, the insurer may provide travel cover for dialysis. If you had a complex path to the disease, are experiencing dialysis issues, or have multiple health conditions, you may find it difficult to organise cover, and perhaps impossible.

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.

Travel insurance agencies known to offer cover to people post transplant
An applicant is assessed on individual health - if it does not meet the criteria you are likely to be refused. *Australia Post Travel Insurance (extra premium for kidney conditions) *Allianz AustraliaTravel Insurance *Cover-More Travel Scene *Chartis Travel *Columbus Direct *Travel Scene Insurance *Worldcare Travel Insurance Australia

You can also compare agencies by visiting the Compare the Market website here.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade provides guidelines for buying travel insurance here.

Reciprocal Health Care Agreements
Australia has Reciprocal Health Care Agreements (RHCA) with a number of countries, which cover the cost of essential medical treatment for Australian residents travelling in those countries. You can see more about RHCA here.

The other signatories to RHCA are New Zealand, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Sweden, Netherlands, Finland, Italy, Belgium, Malta, Slovenia and Norway. You can see details of the entitlements in individual countries here.

RHCA are not designed to replace private travel health insurance for overseas travel, as not all treatment is covered. Each agreement is different and varies in benefits, duration and eligibility for medically necessary treatment. This is a complex area of travel health cover, especially if you have multiple chronic health conditions. There are also limits to the cover provided.

Exceptions where no cover is available are pre-arranged or elective treatment that is not immediately necessary, ambulance cover and paramedical services, dental care, medical evacuation to a home country, funerals, and treatment in a private hospital or as a private patient in a public hospital.

To receive entitlements while visiting an RHCA country, you must provide local health authorities with:

  • your Australian passport or other passport that shows you are a permanent Australian resident
  • a valid Medicare card (check the expiry date to ensure you are covered until you return to Australia)

For more information, phone Medicare on 132 011 or visit their website here.

Private Health
This federal government site compares health insurance policies - freecall 1300 737 299 or visit the website here.

Private Health Insurance Ombudsman
Contact the Ombudsman if you have issues with health insurance - freecall 1800 640 695 or visit the website here

Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade - emergency contact
Australians travelling overseas can access a 24-hour centre for consular advice in emergencies. The number to phone from outside Australia is +61 2 6261 3305. Before travelling you should register with the Department’s ‘Smart Traveller’ service to receive up-to-date travel advice and consular assistance. Register here.


Specific destinations for travel on dialysis
Be aware that standards of care may differ to those in Australia. You must also confirm the costsof treatment, medications and your formal dialysis session bookings, before you travel. 

Bali, Indonesia

Canary Islands

Greece

New Zealand

Fiji

Western Samoa

-  Motootua Hospital Dialysis Centre, Tupa Tamasese Memorial (TTM) Hospital in Motootua, Apia.  
    Have questions, phone +685 21 212  / +685 66 600

United Arab Emirates

Europe/United Kingdom

United States of America

Disclaimer: This collection of dialysis and travel links are presented for your convenience. Although the quality of these sites is reviewed, Kidney Health Australia takes no responsibility for their service or reliability. Listing here should not be taken as our endorsement.

If you do have experience using an organisation listed here, for dialysis and travel, we would appreciate your feedback.

If any of the links above are not connecting, we would appreciate you advising us by email to kidneyhealthinformationservice@kidney.org.au

Dialysis & travelVisitors to Australia
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