global view constructed of white lines
Cinque Terre coast
May 31, 2016

Travel Checklist for People with Cancer

by Zara Jethani

It’s time for a vacation!

Taking a break can be rejuvenating and provide a lovely change of scene. Whether taking a trip a few miles away or across the country (or globe), people traveling with cancer can make their journey more enjoyable with these plan-ahead tips.

General travel considerations:

  1. First and foremost, get clearance from your medical team to make sure you can travel. Infection and blood clots are some of the most important risks to consider
  2. Keep all your medications in their original containers
  3. Keep a document of your treatment plan, medications, allergies and any other pertinent medical information with you
  4. Have extra prescriptions on hand in case you need to refill unexpectedly
  5. Pack anti-nausea medication for motion sickness
  6. Bring foods that you can digest easily for the journey
  7. Take a light sleeping aid, if appropriate
  8. For international travelers, ask your doctor how to adapt your medication schedule to the time change
  9. Check whether you are able to tolerate any immunizations that may be required
  10. Have emergency contacts & doctors on speed-dial
  11. Find out about a health facility at your destination before you leave
  12. Check your insurance coverage
  13. Protect yourself from the sun as certain medications make the skin more sensitive
  14. Bring a sitting cane to stave off tiredness
  15. For young patients, pack fun and comforting distractions like, toys, games and music

If you are flying:

  1. Request any special requirements prior to travel, such as a wheelchair, oxygen, aisle seat, seat close to bathroom. Cure offers some detailed considerations and proactive planning information
  2. Print out boarding passes at home ahead of time
  3. Make sure all your medications are with you in your carry-on luggage
  4. If you need to bring injectable devices, ask you doctor to provide a note explaining why you need these
  5. Bring extra doses in case you are delayed
  6. Wear compression garments to stabilize circulation as needed
  7. Aspirin may be indicated prior to travel to facilitate blood flow and prevent blood clots
  8. Bring sinus medication to stabilize sinus pressure if required
  9. Stay warm

If you traveling by car:

  1. Plan frequent stops and walk around
  2. Add an extra day into your itinerary for rest
  3. Bring disposable plastic bags as a precaution against motion sickness
  4. Take a travel change of clothes and blanket/pillow so you can rest comfortably if you have the opportunity
  5. Store medications in cool areas, not in the glove compartment or trunk

Travel Checklist graphic

At your destination, make sure to allow for downtime, rest and relaxation. For international patients coming to see us for treatment, please review our international patient resources information. If you have any questions about your travel, please contact us at 310-582-7640 or visit the Pacific Neuroscience Institute website.

We hope you have a wonderful trip!

Other sites with articles on traveling with cancer:

National Comprehensive Cancer Network

About the Author

Zara Jethani, MS, MBA

Zara Jethani

Zara is the marketing director at Pacific Neuroscience Institute. Her background is in molecular genetics research and healthcare marketing. In addition, she is a graphic designer with more than 20 years experience in the healthcare, education and entertainment industries.

Last updated: November 13th, 2019