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Travelling with cancer in a cold climate

There are few things more liberating than partaking in winter sports while on holiday; troubles have a tendency to melt away when you’re bombing down a ski-run, regardless of age or medical conditions! In the same way, sometimes taking a holiday to regions with a cold climate can give you a fresh perspective, blowing out the cobwebs while dazzling your sense with scenes of a more stark natural wonder than you would find in the Caribbean or in the Serengeti.

There is no reason that being diagnosed with cancer should in anyway diminish your ability to enjoy a holiday in a colder climate. No medical condition should get in the way of you living your life to the full! With that in mind, we’ve collected some tips on how to minimise the effects of cancer while travelling to more chillier climes, maintaining your freedom to travel!

Talk to your GP

This is probably the most crucial piece of advice when travelling with any long term illness. No one is better placed to understand your needs as a patient than your GP, so you should always consult them prior to making travel plans. This way, they will be able to better advise you on what precautions to bear in mind, what medication that you’ll need to take with you, and in what quantity.

Plan for the worst case scenario

By maintaining your normal routines in regards to medication and general living, you should be able to stave off the usual symptoms of cancer and the side effects of treatment. However it’s vital that you compensate for some of the additional risks that colder weather can bring to cancer sufferers. Bear in mind that this is something you’ll have to deal with while travelling (at airport, bus stations etc.), as well as at your final destination.

The effects of cancer and cancer treatment such as dehydration, weight and hair loss, can all negatively affect your body’s ability to regulate temperature, so it’s important to factor this into your holiday plans. Make sure that you remain hydrated and avoid excessive consumption of alcohol, to ensure that you have a good time. Nine to thirteen cups of water a day are recommended; check with your GP as to what amount is best for you.

Pack sensibly

With this in mind, make sure that you have packed sufficient additional clothing to keep yourself comfortable and warm. Temperature regulation is essential to decrease the risk of the development of hypothermia or other cold related illnesses.

More general cancer travel tips still apply to holidays in frozen regions; for example, always pack more medication than you may otherwise need in case you lose any during your trip. This is doubly important if finding replacement medication will be particularly difficult at your chosen destination. Take steps to ensure that your holiday resort has medical facilities nearby to deal with any emergency complications you may have.

Get the right level of insurance for your needs

It’s fair to say that it’s a lot harder to get travel insurance for cancer patients, which is where we come in. Our specially tailored cancer travel insurance is designed to give you wide-ranging cover while remaining fairly priced. Travel insurance for Cancer from Free Spirit gives you the peace of mind both before and during your holiday/trip, so should the worst happen while abroad we will have you covered (policy terms and conditions apply of course!).

We offer two different levels of insurance cover – ‘Super’ and ‘Super Duper’ – details of Free Spirit can be found here.

Additional resources

For further information on how to best prepare for a cold weather holiday while suffering from cancer, these charities have a wealth of additional information: Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support while organisations such as the NHS also offer expert advice to holidaymakers in regards to counteracting the effects of cancer while abroad.