Finding Stability

How to Plan for Travel During Chemotherapy

Travel during chemotherapy can be a wonderful experience with a little extra planning.

A cancer diagnosis does not need to sideline your travel plans. It is possible to travel during chemotherapy treatment and have a wonderful time away.

It just takes some clear communication with your doctor and a little more planning. Some people have even been able to go camping while undergoing chemotherapy.

Talk to Your Doctor

Make sure your doctor knows exactly what your plans are as soon as possible, and then they can work with you to make sure you’re covered for contingencies. Part of your doctor’s role is to help you find ways to embrace the adventures of life, regardless of the health obstacles in your way. Depending on your treatment protocol, there may need to be some changes in the schedule. Your doctor may also have some suggestions for safer travel.

Ask them for a letter describing your medical condition, your treatment plan and any other issues that should be taken into consideration in case you need to seek medical care from another doctor during your travels. When you pack, make sure your medications are in your carry-on bag, so you don’t get separated from them. Bring enough medication for the entire trip, plus a few extra days just in case there’s some kind of delay. Make sure your medication containers are clearly labeled to ease your passage through airport security.

If you are flying and your treatment has involved lymph nodes, bring along your compression garments and use them while flying. Discuss lymphedema risks with your doctor to determine if there are any other precautions you should take during your travels.

Bring a Friend

Some people enjoy solo travel, but this is not the time to be traveling alone. Bring along a travel companion — someone who can handle the heavy lifting, take the reins and guide you through security and other road bumps that happen during travel. You might be fatigued or otherwise not at your best while making connections between planes or other logistical challenges that happen on adventures.

Most likely, you won’t need the help, but it’s best to have someone with you who is looking out for you just in case. If you’re traveling with children, bringing another adult to help manage the kids can make your adventure that much more enjoyable.

Keep it Simple

Don’t overbook your travel. If possible, keep transfers and connecting flights to a minimum, and only schedule one or two activities a day. Allow plenty of time for rest and down days where curling up with a book is all you need to do. When you’re traveling and undergoing treatment for cancer, keep things low key. This is not the time to plan your summit of Everest — save that adventure for a different day.

Traveling during chemotherapy does require a bit more forethought, but it’s worth it to take a break and get away from your usual environment. Take good care of yourself by getting plenty of rest and staying hydrated, and embrace these moments of adventure. Have a wonderful trip.

Make sure you discuss any travel plans with a doctor who can give you additional tips and resources.

Learn More
Judy Schwartz Haley
Judy Schwartz Haley