Holidays are an important part of life, but if you or someone you care for has had a stroke, it can be difficult to find something suitable. But it doesn't have to stop you – there are lots of options out there.
Can I still go on holiday?
A stroke doesn't have to stop you from going on holiday. There are plenty of ways to take a break, it may just take a little extra planning.
There are a number of travel agencies that can provide care and equipment, if you have problems getting around on your own.
Respite breaks allow you to have a change of surroundings, whilst giving your carer a break too. It could involve a short stay in a care home or an overseas holiday.
If you are struggling financially, there are some charities that will help to pay for part or all of your holiday.
Flying after a stroke
You might want to avoid flying for the first two weeks. This is the time when your problems are likely to be at their worst and other conditions related to your stroke may come up. After this, seek advice from your doctor about whether it's safe for you to fly.
Contact the airline you are flying with to discuss any help you will need on the flight, at least 48 hours in advance. All European airports should have facilities to help you move through the airport and get on and off the plane, if getting around is difficult for you.
Airline crew are not able to provide personal care and your airline may insist that you travel with a companion if you are unable to understand safety briefings or reach emergency exits without help.
Most airlines will carry two items of mobility equipment for free. Larger items, such as wheelchairs, will need to be checked in.
Do I need travel insurance?
It is important to have travel insurance, especially if you are going abroad. We offer insurance services that can arrange this.
When you're arranging insurance, make sure you declare that you’ve had a stroke and check that you are fully covered. Many policies exclude medical conditions that you had before you took out the policy, which may mean that you would have to pay for anything relating to these conditions yourself. So make sure you check what you're covered for.
If you're travelling in Europe, apply for a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This allows you to receive medical treatment at a reduced cost or sometimes for free. However, the EHIC may not cover all costs, so it's still important to get private travel insurance as well.
Travelling with medication
If you need medication, make sure you pack it in your hand-luggage and take enough to cover any unexpected delays. You are allowed to carry essential liquid medication or liquid dietary foodstuffs. For the current rules on carrying medications and liquids, check your airline website before you travel. Check the UK government guide on hand luggage restrictions at UK airports.
You should take a letter from your doctor, or a prescription, stating what your medication is and why you need it. As well as helping you avoid any problems at customs, this will be useful if you need medical help while you're away.
It is a good idea to check the UK Government foreign travel advice for specific health advice and entry requirements for the country you are visiting, as there may be restrictions on taking medications into some countries.