Travel tips

These tips are for people who have cancer, are having treatment, or are recovering from treatment. They will help you plan a safe journey.

Always check with your doctor that you are fit to travel before you book your holiday.

Planning ahead

It can take some time to arrange everything you might need when travelling, so it is important to plan ahead.

Before you book your trip

  • Ask your doctor what travel vaccinations you may need for the destination you are going.
  • Check your passport is valid for when you travel, as you may need to renew it. You need at least 6 months left on your passport for most countries you travel to.

You can research the country you are visiting on the Travel Health Pro website.

If you live in Scotland they have some information and advice about different countries also. 

At the same time as booking your travel

  • Book your travel insurance, this is in case you need to cancel your trip before you go and to check that you can get insurance cover at a reasonable cost.
  • Let the airline, accommodation and transport you book with know of any necessary equipment you will need or have with you, such as oxygen.
  • If you have made any special assistance arrangements in your booking make sure you have a print out of what’s been organised.
  • Check any restrictions on the drugs you can take in or out of the country you’re visiting.

About 8 weeks before travelling

  • If you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) you can continue to use it until it expires. 
  • From the 1st of January 2021 certain people can still get a new UK issued EHIC card, check and apply if you are eligible on the website.
  • If your EHIC has expired and you are not entitled to a new UK issued EHIC, you need to apply for a Global Health Insurance care (GHIC) on the GHIC website.
  • Book in to get your travel vaccinations you may need.

About 4 to 6 weeks before travelling

  • Sort out any necessary equipment, such as oxygen if this has not been dealt with at the time of booking.
  • Sort out any travel needs. For example, book help getting on and off trains, or request early boarding on flights.
  • Check whether you need a licence to take strong painkillers abroad.

About 3 weeks before travelling

  • Make sure you have enough of your medicines to last the holiday, plus a few days extra.
  • Get a doctor’s letter with details of your cancer, your treatment, and a list of your medicines (including how much you take and how often).

Your smartphone and health information 

If you have a smartphone there is an area within your phone settings to store health and medical information. You can also store information like your travel insurance policy number and phone numbers you may need when abroad. 

You can find out how to access and change this information on ABTA's travel insurance page. You need to scroll down to the heading 'Keep Health & Medical ID section in your smartphones up-to-date'. 

When travelling

Make sure you have your:

  • passport and any other proof of identity that you need
  • travel insurance policy, European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) if travelling in Europe
  • emergency telephone numbers written down or saved
  • special travel arrangements that you agreed printed out
  • doctor’s letter and prescriptions to hand
  • controlled medicines such as opiate painkillers in your hand luggage
  • insect repellent and a basic first aid kit

Don’t forget sunscreen and clothing such as hats to protect you from the sun.

Related links