Travel can be one of the joys of life - and sometimes a necessity - but if you are coping with a bladder control problem or soiling, it can be an anxious time. Planning ahead will help prevent embarrassment and hassles and make your trip so much more enjoyable.
Out and about: travel checklist
- 6-8 weeks in advance of your trip discuss your travel plans with your GP. Depending on your destination you may need vaccinations or booster shots.
- Talk to your doctor about medicines to take away with you. Do you need prescription medicines or products for constipation, vomiting or diarrhoea? Keep your medicines in their original packaging when travelling overseas.
- Book early and advise your agent of your needs. Book seats on the aisle, near a toilet or near the front of the bus/plane (where you can exit quickly).
- Plan each stage of your trip accordingly. If you wear absorbent pads for bladder leakage, allow an extra supply for unexpected delays.
- Check about possible extra luggage allowance when booking if you're taking a large supply of continence products.
- Inform airline staff of your needs so you can board the plane first. You'll be able to calmly organise and arrange your continence products, clothing and carry-on luggage.
- Choose clothes in dark colours (to disguise any leakage) that are easy to remove and comfortable to wear (elastic waists, track pants or longer, loose-fitting tops).
- For women travelling in the tropics, a sarong is handy to hide a leakage accident. It can also be placed on a chair. A jacket or cardigan can be tied around the waist to disguise an accident.
- Take along a small toilet bag in your carry-on bag, plus a change of clothing. Disposable wipes are handy generally and especially good for faecal incontinence.
- Drink plenty of ‘good' fluids (water is best) as air conditioning is dehydrating. Don't be tempted to cut down on fluids to reduce urine leakage as it can actually make things worse.
- Eat light meals so you won't feel uncomfortable, bloated or queasy. Your digestion and body clock can be upset when travelling.
- Avoid bladder irritants such as coffee, tea, alcohol, chocolate drinks, fizzy soft drinks and sports drinks. Spicy or acidic foods are best avoided too.
- Stretch and walk as much as you can, to help with circulation and digestion. Seated exercises (like those recommended by airlines) are good.
For car travel within Australia, planning your toilet stops can ease anxiety, the National Public Toilet Map is a great resource.
If you are caring for someone with bladder or bowel problems, practical tips and advice are available to assist you with your care. Read more on caring with someone with incontinence.