Travel tips for those who use catheters
You can safely manage your bladder with Clean Intermittent Catheterization (CIC) both at home and on your travels. Here we have gathered some advice so you can be prepared, and avoid the need for troubleshooting on your journey.
Packing for the trip
- Bring extra catheters
Always pack extra catheters. Your journey home can be delayed, or other contingencies may occur that cause the need for more catheters.
Tip! Bring extra hand sanitizer. Wet wipes are also good to have.
- Catheters in your carry-on bag
Ensure that you pack extra catheters in your carry-on bag in case you lose the rest of your luggage. It’s a good idea to ask if your travel companion can bring catheters on your behalf in their luggage.
During your travel
- Being discreet
Bring a travel certificate (Medical Validation Certificate) from your catheter provider. This explains in different languages why you are carrying catheters in your luggage. There is also a section on the certificate that urges the customs service staff and TSA officials to show discretion.
- Medication abroad
If you take any medication, it is wise to pack this in your carry-on bag. Be aware that some medication requires certain certificates. Ask at your pharmacy or your doctor.
- Empty the bladder on the flight or train
You might fear long journeys, where you know you will need to empty your bladder at some point, and the space is limited in both the seat and in the bathroom.
One solution is to use an indwelling catheter, on a temporary basis, but there are other solutions as well, if you can’t leave your seat. It is possible to attach a urinary bag to the catheter and use a blanket to cover your lap. There are good kit products on the market. The urine will be collected in a plastic bag, and can be taken away by your traveling companion.
When you are abroad
- If you run out of catheters
If you realize that you don’t have enough catheters during your trip, you can contact the local office of your catheter provider. In most cases they can help you out.
- Clean water
If you travel in countries with poor water quality, you can bring ready-to-use hydrophilic catheters.
Don’t forget to wash your hands before CIC – and after!
Tip! If the water quality at your destination is good enough to drink, you can use it for your catheter, but note that it should be cold water to reduce the risk of bacterial infection.
Tip! If the tap water is not good, you can use bottled water.
Things to mark off your checklist
√ I have chosen the catheters with consideration given to my travel destination
√ I have packed enough catheters
√ I have divided the catheters between my carry-on bag and my other luggage
√ I have also brought hand sanitizer and wet wipes
√ I have a travel certificate for my catheters