Travelling with a stoma? 86% of Ostomates still holiday abroad

Sun hat, cocktail and sunglasses

We wanted to find out how travelling with stoma affected our community. Whether it’s for a holiday or a work trip, with a stoma, there are certain considerations to be taken into account, but the good news is that over 86% of people still travel overseas with many making multiple trips each year! Over 60% of respondents said that they still travelled abroad about the same number of times since having their stoma, which is great news. 

Take a closer look at our findings:

Over 60% of respondents still travelled abroad more or less the same amount since having a stoma, and a lucky 14% travel more often than before! It’s a real shame that 25% of people reported that they were travelling less since having their operation. While there might be many reasons for this, we would encourage those who would like to holiday or travel aboard, but don’t feel comfortable doing it since having a stoma, maybe think again and hopefully get some tips from our survey. As with most things, planning and confidence seem to be the key to success!

How are people travelling with a stoma?

We weren’t surprised to see that most people had travelled by plane to their destination overseas. Most airlines will allow you to bring extra baggage to carry medical supplies, but you may need a doctor’s certificate – check the requirements when you book your flight. Take a look at our tips section below for some really good advice on how to prepare for a flight, making sure you have everything with you and some nifty tricks. 

Of course, it’s natural to feel a little flustered before going on holiday. But as with everything else, with practice, planning and some helpful advice from folks in the know, we know it’s still possible to enjoy those well-earned holidays.

It’s so good to see that more respondents didn’t worry, but for those that did, the top worries are:

  • Going through security checkpoints
  • Heat impacting the adhesive on your bag
  • Taking enough supplies with you

Taking out adequate travel insurance can go a long way to smoothing over concerns. It’s sometimes seen as an unwelcome expense but, travelling with a stoma, it’s really important to make sure you’re covered, should the unexpected happen. And remember, the best time to arrange your insurance policy is when you book your trip (not the day before you travel!), that way, you’re covered if you have to cancel at short notice for any reason. 

Taking enough supplies with you plus extras to cover the unexpected, such as a change in diet or flight delays is a sensible precaution. It’s good the hear that 93% of respondents didn’t need to have any extra supplies sent to them whilst travelling with a stoma.

Some people feel more confident wearing a Hidden Disabilities lanyard.  These are gaining in popularity and many airports, airlines and travel companies recognise the need to be more understanding and to improve the experience of travelling for those with a whole range of conditions.

Tips & Tricks

So, what advice do our well-seasoned travellers have for our community? Turns out they have a lot of really helpful tips and tricks which we will definitely be copying:

  • Watch what you eat the day before you travel
  • Get proper medical insurance and check every detail
  • The airlines usually allow extra baggage allowance to carry your medical supplies as long as you tell them before you go. I usually sort this when I book.
  • Take double the supplies that you think you might need. Keep your supplies with you as cabin baggage – most airlines will let you have a greater allowance for medical supplies. Explain clearly to airport security staff that you have a stoma.
  • Drink plenty (urostomy) especially if warm or hot country.
  • Have a good dictionary with you, to translate any issues or use Google translate.
  •  If going on a long-haul flight loose clothing is useful. 
  • Ensure you have adequate supplies of stoma products – I like to take twice as many as I normally use. Carry this in your cabin baggage, perhaps in a separate medical bag. 
  • Wear a drainable colostomy pouch for travelling – easier to vent or drain if you need to. I haven’t needed to, but provides extra confidence when travelling. Don’t worry too much about it – once you have done it once, you’ll have the confidence to keep doing it!
  • Most importantly… ENJOY YOURSELF! Having a stoma should not prevent you from having a fantastic time on holiday or abroad!

If you use a bladder or bowel appliance and would like to join our panel of experts and have your voice heard please click here to apply. 


The information in this blog is intended as a guide only. Always consult your GP or healthcare professional before planning an overseas trip, especially if you have recently had surgery. 


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