If you are feeling the pull of a summer holiday but are uncertain about how cancer will affect your ability to travel or to participate in some of your favorite activities during this vacation season, we’ve collected tips and suggestions to help make your summer holiday one that will be enjoyable while keeping your comfort and well-being a priority.
Get the okay from your oncologist
Your first concern may be whether it is safe to travel if you have been diagnosed with cancer. If you are (or will be) in treatment during the dates you plan to travel, this is a question to discuss with your oncologist. Once you get the green light, there are still things you will want to prepare for before you start packing your bags. Be sure to find out from your healthcare team what to do in case of any unexpected event or emergency. Know where you will be able to get good medical care near your destination in case of an emergency.
Make a list
One thing you definitely want to do is take along a complete record of your emergency contact numbers, medications, physicians, and other details related to your treatment. Leave a copy for a friend or family member at home too. To make it easier to keep all your information in 1 place, fill in our downloadable CONQUER Travel Checklist and bring it with you. It’s a useful way to keep all your essential information at hand for your summer travels, and it’s easy to update for future trips.
Pack your medications
Be sure you have all your medications for each day of travel, plus a little extra. Fill your prescriptions before you leave. If you’ll be flying, take your medications in a carry-on bag with you rather than packing them in your checked luggage. Ensure that any medications that must be kept cold or away from light or heat are packed appropriately.
Consider travel insurance
Although no one wants to think about what could go wrong while on vacation, protecting yourself with travel insurance may be the best purchase you make. Your existing health insurance may not cover you fully for accidents or illnesses away from home or apply to the cost of paying for your travel home in the event of an emergency. It’s best to check your insurance coverage before you go, thoroughly understand what is and is not covered, and arrange for extra coverage, if necessary.
While you’re enjoying the change of scenery, make sure to practice good sun sense. Chemotherapy, radiation, and some medications can make skin especially prone to sunburn and sensitive to exposure to sun and heat. And guard against mosquito- and tick-borne illnesses, too. These illnesses are on the rise in many parts of the country.
Whether you’re staying with family or at a hotel or other lodging, call ahead to ensure that any items or conditions necessary for your comfort will be ready when you arrive. If you require a handicap-accessible room or other such accommodation, a quick call before you leave home may save you delays and frustration in the long run.
Know your limits
Although you’re away from the daily grind, it is important to stay on a sensible schedule. Be sure to eat well, stay hydrated, and get plenty of rest. Travel can disrupt our routines as well as refresh them, and you may find that you tire more easily than before. Respect your body, and don’t push yourself to do more than you feel ready for. Build plenty of breaks into the day. Maintain your regular bedtime. Don’t go back home from vacation in need of a vacation!
Whatever you choose to do, remember that a few health and safety measures are essential to the success of your trip.