Date Revised:

Travelling with medical equipment

Always try to keep the equipment that you take with you on holiday to a minimum. Take only what is essential.   You may be able to hire equipment when to get there but check before you set off.

You can’t prepare for everything that might happen but if you have an emergency when you are on holiday you should be able to get help locally. 

However, you could look up the names of disability organisations in the area where you are going on holiday.  You could get in touch with them before you go or just make sure you have their contact details with you. 

If you use electrical equipment such as a ventilator, and are going abroad, check the voltage supply in the country you are visiting and carry a supply of spare batteries.

Travelling with medicine

Don’t put all your medicines in one bag. Instead make sure you have enough medicine in each bag in case a bag goes missing. Make sure you also pack enough medicine in case you are delayed.

It is a good idea to have a letter from your GP saying which medicines you need with you. 

Some countries may have different rules about which prescribed medications you are allowed to take into the country so make sure you check before you travel. You may need to get a permit to let you travel. Find out more about travelling with controlled drugs on

Also have a look at can I take my medicine abroad? on NHS choices for more advice about traveling with medication.

If you are flying

Carry medicines in your hand luggage and put any spares in your suitcase. 

Airlines usually let you carry medicine and medical equipment in the cabin for free and in addition to the normal cabin baggage allowance.

Carry a letter from your GP which lists everything you need to take.  

Check with your airline to see if there is anything else they recommend you do.

European Health Insurance card

Make sure you, and the person you care for, both get a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if you are going to a European Economic Area country or Switzerland. A valid EHIC gives you the right to access state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in those countries.   Apply online for your EHIC.

Be aware, the EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance. It will not cover any private medical healthcare or costs, such as mountain rescue in ski resorts, being flown back to the UK, or lost or stolen property. It is also not valid on cruises.

It is therefore important to have both an EHIC and a valid private travel insurance policy in place before you travel. Some insurers now insist you hold an EHIC, and many will waive the excess if you have one.

Next update due: September 2018