Having a chronic illness means that there are many considerations to take into account when packing and planning your trip. We hope to make things easier with this list of essential items to help take the stress out of the flight, and to also help sustain your energies until you arrive at your destination (which is hopefully beautiful, restful and just as you imagined it!).  

  1. Medications: be sure to pack your medications in their original, labelled containers and keep them in a cool bag for easy access in case your checked bag goes missing.  
  2. Medical folder: containing your medical insurance details, your travel insurance details and a list of all your prescription medicines (including dosage), as well as a doctor’s note outlining your medical condition. 
  3. Additional first-aid kit: as well as your usual prescription medications, it’s smart to bring extra pain relief, anti-inflammatories, hydration tablets, stomach medication and vitamins, as well as bandages and sterile wipes.  
  4. Medical equipment: if you use any equipment, such as a CPAP machine, blood pressure monitor or heart rate monitor, make sure to pack these in your carry-on bag (and bring extra batteries, just in case).  
  5. Warm blanket: or a large wool scarf/pashmina that doubles up as a blanket. Gone are the days when airlines offer blankets, and with air conditioning on board, often flights can be uncomfortably cold (when they’re not the opposite – uncomfortably stuffy!) 
  6. Hand sanitiser: useful for anyone, but particularly those who are immune compromised. The last thing you want is to contract something on holiday as it could ruin your holiday. 
  7. Neck pillow: all those people walking around with memory foam neck cushions are onto something! They really do make you feel more comfortable and more able to nod off on a flight. 
  8. Ice pack(s): if you are suffering from inflammation, or swelling, a cold pack will be soothing (pop 1-2 in your medications cool bag and you’re killing two birds with the same stone). 
  9. Folding walking stick/seat: if feeling fatigued, having a place to rest in a jam-packed airport can make all the difference. 
  10. Eye mask and ear plugs: getting some shut-eye while travelling is helpful, especially when you’re dealing with health issues, but that can be easier said than done! Whether it’s to block the bright sun on an early morning flight or to drown out a snoring passenger or a fitful baby, you’ll be glad you packed them (or noise-cancelling headphones as an alternative). 
  11. Water bottle: always bring a reusable water bottle. Hydration is key for flights abroad as dehydration can make so many chronic illness symptoms worse. Drink often and refill.  
  12. List of hospitals/emergency numbers: this is especially important when travelling to a country with an entirely different healthcare system. Bring the important phone numbers for your medical and health insurers, as well as a list of nearby hospitals in the area where you’ll be staying. 

Happy Travels Readers!