Planning for your trip checklist

There is a lot to think about when travelling abroad with cancer. Use this checklist to help you prepare for your trip.

Asking for a doctor's letter

It may be helpful to ask your GP or cancer doctor for a letter giving a short explanation of your diagnosis and treatment. If you get copies of your hospital letters, these often summarise your condition and treatment.

You can take the letter with you and show it to healthcare providers abroad if you become ill. Some travel insurance providers may ask for a doctor’s letter confirming you are fit to travel.

If you are travelling abroad, you could look up translations of key phrases in the doctor’s letter. For example, you could do this for the name of the cancer or treatment. You could use a foreign language dictionary, a translation app or the free online translation service at translate.google.com It is important to be certain that the translation of medical terms is correct.

You need a letter from your GP or cancer doctor if you take medication abroad with you.

Cancer and travel checklist

  • Have you spoken to your cancer team, GP, practice nurse or a travel health professional about whether you are fit to travel?
  • Do you need a companion or helper to [travel with you]?
  • Have you told your travel company and accommodation about your needs?
  • If you are travelling to a European Union country, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, have you applied for a General Health Insurance Card (GHIC)?
  • Have you found suitable travel insurance and packed your travel insurance policy?
  • Have you got a travel certificate or medical card describing your condition?
  • If you are going somewhere hot, have you packed sun cream with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30, a wide-brimmed hat and suitable clothes to cover up in the sun?

Medicines checklist

  • Do you need any vaccinations for the country you are visiting? Speak to your GP, practice nurse or private travel health clinic at least 8 weeks before travelling.
  • Do you need a letter from your doctor for taking your medication abroad?
  • If you are carrying enough medicines to last 3 months or more, do you need a personal medicines licence?
  • Have you got enough medicines to last for your whole trip and extra supplies?
  • Have you spoken to a health professional about taking your medicines at the right time?
  • Do you need to take anti-malarial tablets?
  • Do you need to take any medical equipment or arrange oxygen supplies on holiday?
  • Have you packed important medical supplies or products? These could include:
    • a cool bag if you are travelling with medicines that need to be kept cool
    • insect repellent containing up to 50% DEET (diethyl-m-toluamide)
    • antiseptic cream, in case you get a [cut, scratch or graze]
    • anti-diarrhoea medicines and rehydration sachets.

Special needs

  • If you have severe mobility problems and will be driving in the UK or Europe, do you have your Blue Badge?
  • If you have a stoma (opening on your tummy), does your accommodation have a private bathroom, including facilities to dispose of appliances, if you think you will need this?