Travelling should not be an issue but these helpful tips will make travelling less stressful:

  • Always carry identification. Your ostomy chapter, ostomy retailer or company will often provide ostomy identification cards.

  • Before departing for a trip, research the name and address of a local ostomy vendor and Enterostomal Therapy (ET) Nurse in the area you are visiting. Your ET nurse can provide you with that information.

  • Always take at least one-third to twice as much ostomy supplies than your normal requirement and always carry supplies in your hand luggage. Do not check them with luggage as it could get lost.

  • With new airline regulations, you will want to avoid carrying scissors in your luggage. Pre-cut your flanges or appliances in advance.

  • To avoid unnecessary questioning by customs officials in the event of a luggage check, carry a letter outlining the medical reasons for the ostomy supplies. Your Enterostomal Therapy Nurse or physician can provide you with a letter.

  • Always carry a supply of prescription drugs that you are using. Have a written prescription with the name, address and telephone number of your physician. Obtain the generic name or chemical composition of the drug from your doctor or pharmacist. Brand names vary in different countries.

  • Keep prescriptions in their original bottles instead of other plastic containers. This way, you will not have to explain your medication to a customs official.

  • Make sure you have travel insurance.

  • Do not put supplies in the trunk of a car in the summer. Heat can interfere with the barrier and adhesive.

  • If using an appliance with a closure clip, always carry an extra one in your emergency kit. However, a rubber band or child's barrette may be used in an emergency.

  • Place your closure clamp underneath your watchband when emptying your pouch to keep it from falling or being misplaced.

  • Take advantage of available bathroom facilities to empty your pouch more frequently than you normally would to avoid unexpected bathroom delays.

  • Carry extra toilet tissues or pre-moistened wipes in the event the restroom is not well-stocked.

  • Always be prepared for potential problems by carrying an “emergency kit”. A make-up bag, tobacco pouch, glass case or man’s handbag (fanny pack) can be used. The kit should contain a zip lock baggie, extra closure clip (if needed), pre-cut flange, pouch, paste (optional), individually packaged pre-moistened towelettes or J-cloths to serve as a washcloth/towel, and a mirror. It is important to periodically check your kit. Heat can interfere with the adhesiveness of the appliance.

  • In an emergency, your pouching can be emptied into a ziplock bag or baggie with a twist tie until it can be disposed of later.

  • Learn to say "toilet" in more than one language.

  • Apple sauce, oatmeal, bananas, cheese, creamy peanut butter, boiled rice, tapioca, boiled milk will help to thicken loose stool.

  • Drink at least 6-8 glasses of non-caffeinated liquids each day.

  • Caffeine may cause diarrhea. Beverages such as coffee, tea, chocolate and cola drinks contain caffeine.

  • Eat lightly and sensible, especially on airplanes. Gases expand as the plane ascends.

  • Yogurt helps to control gas formation and buttermilk helps to soothe an irritated bowel.

  • If carbonated drinks result in gas problems, a shake of salt or sugar will cause fizzing which helps to dissipate the carbonation.

  • Plan your visits to the washroom on airplanes to avoid peak times, such as after meals, after the movie, and before landing.

  • Travel with understanding, patient people.

  • Following ostomy surgery, it is advisable to carry some form of identification in your wallet or purse. Of benefit to any health care professional would be a list a list of: the type of ostomy, products being used, name and contact information for your Enterostomal Nurse and surgeon. This can be simply written on a card.

  • Medical "ID bracelets" can be ordered through and click on "ID bracelets". Bracelets can also be purchased through drug stores.

Adapted from the United Ostomy Association's "Tips for Travelling with an Ostomy".

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