Travelling in the UK when you have cancer might mean you need to plan a little ahead.
Before you travel it is helpful to think about these things:
- how you will get to and from your holiday
- what equipment you will need (such as bath aids or a commode)
- what type of accommodation you will need: for example, a ground floor room or extra space around the bed
- whether you need a fit to travel letter from your doctor
- whether you need access to medical care while you are away
Getting help with travel
You can get help with your travel if you need it. For example, if you're travelling by train you can book with the train company to have help:
- getting on and off the train
- carrying your bags (there is a limit, so ask when booking)
- getting you around the station
You can book this help 24 hours a day by contacting Passenger Assist on their freephone number 0800 022 3720.
Airports can also offer help getting around. You can book this through your travel agent, tour operator or airline. They usually require at least 48 hours notice so they can get the assistance you need ready. It is also important to make sure that you have the confirmed arrangements in writing.
Tourism For All can suggest holiday accommodation that’s suitable for people with disabilities.
Matching Houses is another website that caters for people with disabilities. This website is about swapping houses with other disabled people.
Click on the links below to find other accommodation and places that have easy access for people with disabilities:
Care while you're away
You can go to the nearest hospital if you need care or treatment while you are away. Or you can register with a local GP as a temporary resident if you are in the area for more than 24 hours but less than 3 months. The care or treatment is free if you are a British citizen or you are legally living and working in the UK.
Take a doctor’s letter with you showing:
- all your medical details
- your NHS number
- contact details of your cancer team and GP who look after you
- a list of medication you are taking and any you have recently finished taking
This will make it much easier for you and for the staff at the hospital or GP surgery.
You might be due to have a routine blood test or an injection while you’re away. Your medical team can arrange this with the nearest hospital or GP surgery before you go.
Some people find it helpful to carry a medical identity bracelet or necklace. This has your illness and an emergency number on it.
MedicAlert is a registered charity that provides ID jewellery engraved with your medical condition and a 24 hour telephone number to call in the event of an emergency. The jewellery starts at around £20 per bracelet.
Help with the cost of your holiday
You might be able to get help with the cost of your holiday. Some cancer charities offer financial help to cancer patients and their families. For example, Macmillan Cancer Support offers grants to people with cancer who have a low income.