There are things to consider when traveling for pleasure or work when living with chronic kidney disease (CKD) or caring for someone with CKD. Always check with your family doctor or a member of your health care team to make sure you or the person you are caring for are in stable health to travel.
Medications and vaccinations
Depending on where you are travelling to and your unique circumstances, you may need to consider additional medications or vaccinations for your trip.
Learn about your travel destination in advance. Some areas have a greater risk for certain viruses and diseases. Check with your family doctor or a member of your health care team to make sure you are able to have these vaccinations.
It is advisable to seek out travel insurance and consider how you might access medical services away from home, in case they are required. Obtaining travel insurance when you have CKD can be challenging, but it is possible.
The information here is general in nature and does not cover all circumstances. Speak to a member of your health care team as well as a travel professional to assist you with your individual travel needs.
When purchasing travel insurance:
- Read and understand all the exclusions and limitations of your insurance policy. For example, some policies will not provide coverage if you have changed medications.
- If you are using travel insurance provided by your credit card, make sure you understand all the exclusions, limitations, and clauses for pre-existing conditions so that you know what is covered.
- Look for insurance that covers the person (assessed at the time you apply for coverage) rather than the trip (assessed at the time you make the claim).
- Check the policy for the number of days of travel coverage. Ensure you are covered for all days of your trip.
- Keep your medication in their original containers with labels.
- Carry a list of your medications with you.
- Carry your medications with you in your carry-on bag.
- Make sure you pack enough medications for the length of the trip and extra in case there are travel delays. For short trips, double the normal amount of medication you would take. For long trips, pack enough medication to last at least two weeks or longer than the length of your trip.
- If you are carrying liquid medication or syringes, carry a letter from your doctor stating you need to travel with your medications. This will help avoid delays or issues at security checkpoints.
- If travelling to a location where diarrhea is a common concern among travellers, be sure to discuss safe treatments with your doctor or pharmacist. Take a supply of the recommended medications with you. For more information, refer to our sick day medications resource.
- If you have diabetes:
- Wear medical identification that lets people know that you have diabetes, to help ensure you receive appropriate care.
- Items to take with you when travelling:
- Diabetes medication
- Insulin and supplies/cold pack
- High and low blood sugar treatments (e.g. glucagon kit)
- Blood sugar meter, batteries, test strips, lancet
Accessing health care away from home
- In Canada, the health coverage agreement among the provinces and territories allows you to receive health care anywhere in Canada at no additional cost to you.
- If travelling outside of Canada, you may require medical care due to a medical emergency, such as an injury or illness. This may come at an additional cost to you if you do not have adequate travel health insurance.
- If you get sick when you are travelling abroad visit: Medical Emergencies Abroad.
Government of Canada Resources:
- General Travel Insurance Information Why you need travel insurance and what to consider when purchasing travel insurance. Includes an informational video.
- Well on Your Way – A Canadians Guide to Healthy Travel Abroad A printable booklet with comprehensive information about travelling abroad, including medication and vaccination considerations, and what to do if you need medical help abroad.
- “Say Yes to Travel Insurance” A printable leaflet with information on why travel insurance is important, how much you might need, and pre-existing conditions.
- Travel Health Kit Helpful tips on packing a travel health kit.
- Medical Emergencies Abroad General considerations when experiencing a medical emergency abroad, including a helpful link to find the nearest Canadian government office and how they can help you if you have a medical emergency.
- Travel Insurance Tips A resource from the Kidney Foundation of Canada with tips on purchasing insurance and special considerations for people with CKD.