On the Move with Kidney Problems: Travel Tips for Health Management

For patients who have had kidney transplants or are on dialysis, as well as for individuals living with chronic kidney disease, travel can be an important aspect of their lifestyle. Exploring the world builds self-confidence, increases happiness, and brings a sense of normalcy that many kidney patients may lack. Not to mention that certain emergencies and important family events might also call for travel. With that in mind, those with kidney problems may be wondering how to plan and organise a trip while prioritising their health. This article will cover travelling with kidney problems in depth, ensuring each renal patient has a pleasant experience.

Consulting with a Healthcare Provider

Before considering a trip, it’s vital to consult your nephrologist or primary care provider. They will give you personalised advice regarding travel with your condition, prescribe the medication you will need during your holiday, and plan your treatment abroad. This will help to ensure that all your needs are met while you’re away, as well as when you come back home. If you frequently visit a local nephrology clinic or dialysis centre, ask whether they have a staff member experienced in arranging treatments internationally. They might be able to help you plan your therapy and organise your holiday in greater detail.

Planning a Trip as a Kidney Patient

If possible, it’s recommended to begin planning your travels six to eight weeks in advance. Allocate even more time for travel during the holiday season or trips to popular tourist spots. Aim to be as flexible as possible regarding the dates and times, especially if you plan on receiving treatment in a medical facility abroad – the available space in units might be limited. If you prefer receiving your treatments at specific times and days, let the facility know in advance and organise accordingly. This could significantly affect your travel plans. However, it’s best to keep in mind that the treatment centre may not be able to honour your requests, due to their capacity or scheduling conflicts.

Flying as a Renal Patient

Air travel is a possible option for most kidney patients. However, those who are on a special treatment schedule should always plan their flights around their therapy dates. You should never miss an important course of treatment just because of a flight. In case you need to fly on particular days, speak to your healthcare providers and medical facilities to rearrange your treatment sessions.

Finding Medical Facilities Abroad

For dialysis patients, finding medical centres that can provide the appropriate treatment is paramount when planning a holiday, especially abroad. Leverage platforms such as bookdialysis.com to find dialysis clinics internationally. Using this website, you can locate excellent medical facilities in your chosen destination, book treatments, and read patient reviews to ensure you’ve made the right decision. This will make your trip-planning process simpler and less stressful. You could also speak with your doctor or patient travel coordinator about any medical facilities they recommend for your treatment. In either case, consider visiting the facility when you arrive, before your first treatment, to meet the staff and ensure you feel comfortable there.

Gathering the Necessary Information

When booking therapy at a new medical facility, the centre will require some of your personal information to assess your health more accurately and plan your treatments accordingly. This data includes your medical history, dates for dialysis treatments, recent physical exam reports, recent lab and test results, prescriptions and treatment records, dialysis access type, special treatment requirements, information about your general health, insurance data, and more. If you’ve planned your holiday well, your physician will know to send this information to the healthcare facility in advance. They may even collaborate to ensure the best possible care. However, it’s still advised to bring a hard copy of these documents with you, just in case.

Insurance and the Cost of Treatment

If you live in Europe, dialysis should be free in most countries for European Health Insurance (EHIC) card and Global Health Insurance (GHIC) card holders. However, some healthcare facilities may not accept this form of insurance, and some countries might require a co-payment that can be as high as 20% of the total cost of treatment. The best course of action would be to extensively research your destination ahead of time to find out more about the available medical facilities and pricing strategies. You could also ask your healthcare provider for confirmation that your treatment will be covered by EHIC/GHIC. If you live outside of Europe, insurance and pricing will likely depend on your chosen travel destination. Research the country and its laws using official government websites, search for private medical and travel insurance, and ask your doctor for more information.

Home Haemodialysis during a Holiday

Patients using portable home hemodialysis machines should consult their home therapy team when organising a trip. They can arrange for your medical supplies to be delivered to the holiday destination and provide advice on machine transportation. In many cases, this service is free of charge, but customs charges may be incurred in some countries. Consult your medical team and the destination country’s official website for more detailed information. It’s also wise to check with insurance companies for available coverage for dialysis machines.

Travel Advice for Peritoneal Dialysis Patients

Peritoneal dialysis fluid can also be delivered to your holiday destination. Consult your medical team or your fluid supplier to arrange this. You will likely need to contact the healthcare facility at your chosen destination and confirm that they would be willing to receive the medical supplies delivery on your behalf. Make an effort to schedule the delivery for two days before you arrive at the holiday destination, to ensure a smooth and stress-free treatment procedure.

Considerations for Transplant Patients

In case you are currently on the transplant list, you will need to convey your travel plans to your kidney team so that they can remove you from the list temporarily. If you are visiting Africa or the Indian subcontinent, you will likely be suspended for eight weeks after your return until tests confirm you haven’t been infected with a virus such as HIV or hepatitis. For all other destinations, you will probably be reactivated on the transplant waiting list upon return, once virology tests come back negative, as long as there aren’t any unique risk factors. If you are a transplant patient, always consult your nephrologist for personalised information. Your travel plans may need to be altered due to risk factors such as sun exposure and the lack of ability to receive vaccinations.

Following a Kidney-Friendly Diet

Exploring different cuisines and sampling new drinks is an integral aspect of many holidays. However, renal patients can’t always do this freely. If you’ve been prescribed a specific diet, talk to your physician or dietitian regarding any nutritional advice you should follow while travelling. In general, It’s recommended to follow the common dietary guidelines for travel, such as only drinking bottled water, avoiding ice in drinks, limiting foods high in potassium and phosphate, etc. When ordering takeout or dining out, don’t be afraid to ask for any accommodations you may need. Most establishments will be happy to modify your dishes if you explain your situation politely and respectfully.


Travel is more than possible for individuals with kidney problems. With extensive research, careful planning, and some general health considerations, renal patients can organise an enjoyable holiday that allows them to manage their well-being effectively while still experiencing all the joy and relaxation travel can bring.


Would it be a good idea for me to counsel my medical care supplier prior to arranging a holiday?

Absolutely. It is fundamental to talk with your nephrologist or primary care physician before arranging any trip, no matter how short. They can give customised counsel, endorse essential drugs, and assist you with arranging your treatment while voyaging.

How far ahead of time would it be a good idea for me to begin arranging my holiday as a kidney patient?

It is advised to begin arranging your outing six to eight weeks ahead of time, particularly on the off chance that you require clinical treatment abroad. Being adaptable with your movement dates and therapy timetable can make the arranging system smoother.

Is dialysis covered by insurance while travelling inside Europe?

On the off chance that you hold a European medical coverage card or a worldwide healthcare coverage card, dialysis ought to be free in most European nations. However, due to the possibility that some establishments will not accept this insurance, it is essential to research your destination and insurance coverage before your trip.

What if I live outside Europe? How do I handle insurance and treatment costs?

Costs for treatment and insurance will vary depending on where you live and which destinations you are planning to visit. Research the country’s medical care framework and regulations, and think about buying private clinical and travel protection. Your medical care supplier can give more data about inclusion choices.

How can I locate appropriate dialysis treatment facilities abroad?

You can utilise online platforms to track down international dialysis facilities. Also, talk with your medical care supplier or patient travel facilitator for proposals. It’s smart to visit the office before your first treatment to guarantee your solace.

What information should I give to a clinical office while booking treatment abroad?

They may ask for your medical history, dialysis treatment schedule, recent exam reports, lab results, prescriptions, insurance information, and other information when you book treatment at a new facility. Having both digital and printed versions of these records is ideal.

Can I keep doing home haemodialysis while I’m on vacation?

Patients utilising convenient home haemodialysis machines ought to counsel their home treatment team for direction. They can help set up clinical supplies to be conveyed to your vacation location. Make sure to check insurance coverage and customs fees.

How do transplant patients need to prepare for travel?

Transplant patients ought to inform their kidney team about their travel plans in order to be briefly taken off the transplant waiting list. Once virology tests confirm your health, you may need to be reactivated depending on where you are going. Counsel your nephrologist for customised advice.

Are there dietary limitations for kidney patients while voyaging?

Kidney patients ought to follow any dietary suggestions given by their medical services supplier or dietitian. It’s fundamental to adhere to general travel dietary rules, such as drinking filtered water, keeping away from high potassium and phosphate food varieties, and imparting your dietary requirements while dining out.

Is it possible for kidney patients to have an enjoyable travel experience while managing their health?

Yes, absolutely! With cautious preparation, careful examination, and adherence to your doctor’s suggestions, renal patients can appreciate travel while successfully dealing with their well-being and experiencing the delights of travelling.

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