Travelling with Epilepsy


Epilepsy severity varies from person to person, but with the right preparations and considerations, it shouldn’t stop you from enjoying a holiday abroad. Chartwell Insurance, a completely independent insurance broker that offers a specialist, caring service for disabled customers, has put together a list of things to bear in mind when travelling with epilepsy.


  • Take with you enough medication to last more than the length of your trip. This way you have plenty in case you experience any delays. Take copies of your prescription with you and keep medication in its original packaging. If your medication needs to be stored in a specific way, such as in a cool dry place, make sure there is somewhere suitable to keep it as failing to do so can put you at risk of seizures. Epilepsy Action has put together more information on medication when travelling.
  • Arrange an appointment with your GP or epilepsy specialist to discuss your treatment and your holiday plans. If there is a time difference at your destination, you may need to gradually change the times that you take your medicine so that you don’t, for instance, have to take it in the middle of the night. At this appointment you can request a letter from your doctor confirming the medication, doses etc. that you are taking with you. This will be required if you are carrying medication in your hand luggage and if you need medical advice when you are away. You may need to pay for this letter.
  • Check that any vaccinations you require are safe for people with epilepsy. Anti-malaria medication can cause problems for some epilepsy sufferers so make sure you do your research. The Epilepsy Research Foundation have produced more information on epilepsy and anti-malaria medication.220px-Carte_Européenne_d'Assurance_Maladie_France
  • Make sure you have adequate travel insurance that covers your epilepsy and incidents related to it and that you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which helps you to get free or lower cost healthcare if required.
  • Consider buying identity jewellery or epilepsy aware cards to alert people to your condition should you have a seizure in a public place. The Epilepsy Society has a page on their website with more information on identity cards and jewellery.
  • Contact the airline before you travel and check their policy on seizures, some may need fit to fly certification from your doctor. It is also important to notify the cabin staff of your epilepsy at the time of departure. If you don’t have a travel companion who is aware of your epilepsy, you may want to notify those sitting around you.
  • Check airport restrictions on carrying your medication in your hand luggage. You will almost certainly need to have a doctor’s letter and copy of your prescription. Contact your airline in advance if you need more than 100ml of liquid medication on the flight. Up-to-date airport restrictions can be found on the GOV.UK website.
  • Do your research on your destination, including key phrases and climate, as excessive heat in some countries could cause problems. The International Bureau for Epilepsy have produced a Traveller’s Handbook which includes first aid instructions in different languages and practical phrases to assist travellers.
  • Ensure you have enough sleep as tiredness and jetlag can trigger seizures. The World Health Organisation (WHO) offers advice on combating jet lag on their website.
  • Stress can be a trigger for seizures. Pre-planning your trip activities, checking in online before travel and arriving at the airport in plenty of time can help to alleviate stress. Make sure you drink as you normally would. Try to relax and keep calm even if plans go awry.
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