The Travelling Spoonie Checklist

Deciding what to take with you on holiday can sometimes send the most highly organised person into a panic. There are some people (admittedly like myself) who like to take pretty much everything and anything in their suitcase and would try to justify almost every item as an essential, then there's the carefree people who happily just take hand luggage and live for the moment. When you're someone who suffers from a chronic illness also known as a 'spoonie', packing can be much more difficult, especially if you're going abroad. In fact many people with chronic illness often fear travelling because they are scared it will exacerbate their condition or they will fall ill on holiday. Being a Spoonie is life changing, but it doesn't have always restrict you. In the first instance check with your doctor if you're allowed to travel and if you are, take precautions. As a spoonie myself, I will not allow my conditions to prevent me from doing the one thing I love the most. In fact being able to travel gives me something to look forward towards and sometimes can distract me from my pain for a weekend. Here's a check list of things I would personally pack/organise if I was going away. 

Doctor Check up

If you're travelling long distance or you're worried about your condition preventing you from travelling, book an appointment with a GP or Nurse. They can advise you of the medication you may need to take with you and answer many health related travel questions.

Travel Insurance

Always have travel insurance. I wouldn't dare think of travelling abroad without travel insurance as I know so many people who have fallen ill abroad and had to use it. If you suffer from a long term health conditions, check for travel insurance that covers 'pre-existing health condition'. Usually these cost a little bit more as the insurance is catered towards your conditions, but it would be cheaper than falling ill on holiday without backup. When I went to Thailand, my insurance cost me approximately £40 for the week.

European Health Card Insurance

If you live in the UK and plan on travelling to Europe, make sure you apply for a European Health Card. These cards grant you access to immediate reduced cost or free in some cases care with temporary stays abroad. You can get these for free from the NHS website.


If you plan to travel further afield, check to see if you need vaccinations for your trip and make sure to inform the nurse of any medication that can interfere with the vaccination. The NHS offer some vaccinations for free and some you do have to pay for, keep this in mind when you are budgeting for your holiday.

Medication/List of Medication

When travelling always take your medication with you and have a list of medication you take with you at all times. There's nothing worse than going to your doctor and trying to remember the name of that awkwardly named tablet you take, imagine trying to do that in a different country. If you're running low on tablets before you leave, always try to get your repeat prescription before you go to avoid running out when on holiday. Also, always pack your medication in your carry on luggage in case anything happens to your suitcase.

Doctors notes/contact details

If you think your illness will cause problems on holiday, make sure you carry a letter or a note with your doctors details incase another doctor needs advice or if you fall ill and want to talk to someone who knows your condition inside out.

Create an itinerary

I always try to plan my days out before I go on holiday to ensure there are times in the day I can get rest - such as planning in coffee breaks/meals/a trip back to the hotel if needed and I know how eventful my day ahead will be. Of course I do love being spontaneous every now and then, but planning ahead helps me see everything I want to see and do everything I would like to do in the time that I'm away without causing my body distress.

When travelling with a chronic illness, preparation is always key. Think ahead and plan for every different outcome, therefore if anything does happen all you need to do is focus on getting better so you can enjoy the rest of your holiday.



  1. Some good travel tips for anyone but I've made a few notes as we will shortly be travelling with my parents who both need medication.

  2. I have a travel list that I refer to to make sure I don't forget anything. I once forgot my contact lenses and it was a nightmare, even in this country to get replacements.

  3. Thank you for reminding me to get my EHIC sorted!

  4. I haven't travelled outside of the country since having chronic fatigue, but these are great tips, thanks.

  5. Oh this has come at a good time as my teen is off to Spain in a few weeks with her girlfriend and the family and we need a checklist

  6. You're very organised! It's been a while since I went on holiday and with children packing is often a nightmare.

  7. These are great tips would you mind me asking what illness you have? It is so important to not let your illness stop you from doing the things you love and you are doing just that!

    1. I have rheumatoid arthritis and sphincter of the oddi dysfunction ( a stomach disorder) x

  8. We have travel lists too, it makes planning a trip so much easier.

  9. Fab tips here and I LOVE that image! So arty :)

  10. Great tips! Planning my itinerary is one of my favourite parts of my holiday planning :)

  11. Great round up, I know my spoonie friends have to plan ahead to make sure everything goes to plan x

  12. Some great tips, I am hopeless with planning an Itinerary and just go with the flow x

  13. Really thought provoking post. Travel planning can be stressful if you are short on time and if you have to factor in another much more challenging element this must be difficult at times.

  14. I am happy to find this post very useful for me, as it contains lot of information. I always prefer to read the quality content and this thing I found in you post. assurance expatrié

  15. Thanks for some great tips.

    Here is a printable version of all the essentials you may need while travelling.


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