Ask the Nurse: Holiday Planning

As we get closer to summer, people often start thinking about going on holiday. Whether it’s a staycation in the UK or a trip abroad, a holiday can be a great way to relax and unwind. However, living with myeloma can make holiday preparations more complicated than before.

In this month’s Ask the Nurse blog, we provide tips on preparing for your trip, arranging travel insurance, and looking after yourself while you’re away.

Involve your healthcare team

Talk to your healthcare team before you book your trip to make sure your travel plans fit in with your treatment. They may be able to suggest when a good time is for you to travel and help you think about where to go and how long your trip can be. Your doctor may suggest you delay your trip or advise against travelling if they don’t think you are fit enough to travel or that the trip would affect your treatment.

Your team can also help ease the planning by:

  • Supplying details for your travel insurance
  • Making sure you have enough drugs/treatments for your trip
  • Helping to arrange appointments so you don’t miss any necessary check-ups or treatments
  • Agreeing to a short treatment break if appropriate

Ask your healthcare team to write a letter

Ask your healthcare team for a letter containing details of your condition and any treatments you are currently on.

The letter should include the generic names (not just the brand names) and doses of each drug.

If you need treatment when you are away, you can give this letter to any healthcare provider. It will make sure they have the information they need to take care of you.

Purchase travel insurance when you book your accommodation and travel

Travel insurance gives you financial protection when things don’t go according to plan. It’s important to book insurance as soon as you can and not leave it until you’re about to go away in case your plans change in the meantime. However, getting travel insurance can be difficult if you have a medical condition like myeloma.

Our Travel insurance and myeloma Infosheet outlines what you need to consider when buying insurance. It lists some travel insurance companies that specialise in providing travel insurance to people with pre-existing medical conditions and that other patients have got travel insurance from in the past.

If you are travelling in the EU, get a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC)

To be able to receive state-provided healthcare when visiting an EU country. You should hold either:

  • A UK European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
  • A UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC)

The GHIC card has replaced the previous EHIC card system, but if you have a UK issued EHIC card that has not expired, you can still use it.

The GHIC covers “necessary healthcare” that might include emergency or routine treatment of a pre-existing condition such as myeloma. It will not cover any private medical costs or help you return to the UK should you become unwell while on holiday. It is not an alternative to medical insurance.

If you need to apply for a new GHIC card, you can do so through the NHS website. This card is free, but there are scam or unofficial website that may try to charge you to apply, so always go through the official NHS website.

Remember your routine

Travelling can mix up your routine, changing mealtimes and rest times. This is especially true when the journey time is long or you’re travelling to a different time zone.

Try to rest when you need to, eat balanced meals regularly, take food and water with you, and remember to take your treatment at the right time.

Check with your healthcare team when to take timed treatments if there is a large time difference.

Tailor your trip to suit you

Everyone’s idea of a relaxing trip is different. Some people like sun and sand whilst others like art and culture.

When planning your trip, it is important to think about a good break for you.

If a big trip abroad seems too daunting, you can start small and have a weekend away somewhere that is a short drive away. If you are worried about your mobility, look for trips with less walking and ask your travel provider for assistance. If you are concerned about infection, you may want to avoid public transport or crowded places.

Consider the things you enjoy doing and tailor your holiday activities to what you feel able to do.

Try to involve yourself in activities that you don’t find too physically challenging. Taking your mind off your illness and enjoying the company of your family and friends can bring you joy and improve your overall mood.

To find out more about travel and holidays, you can read the travel section of our Infopack for living well with myeloma.

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