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Top 10 Travel Tips from an HPN consumer

As somebody who has traveled the world as a flight attendant, I can tell you first-hand that traveling on TPN is no easy feat! With some careful planning, however, traveling is not only possible but also fun and enjoyable. Here are my “Top 10 Travel Tips” to help get you off the ground safely…

  1. Advocate for yourself at the airport and on the airplane. You know your medical needs better than anyone else — don’t be afraid to speak up.
  2. Ask for help and be patient. There is airport and airline staff available to help you every step of the way. Airports can be overwhelming at the best of times! Let somebody know you need assistance whether it’s with checking in, dropping off your bags, getting through security or requiring help to board the plane. Remember to arrive early at the airport!
  3. Take a travel medical letter with you. Bring a few extra copies in case you lose it or have to hand it over to an airport official. Consider having the letter translated into the language of your destination country. Carry the letter with you at all times.
  4. Pack a carry-on specific for medical supplies. Bring at least one carry-on bag with 2-3 days worth of medications, ostomy supplies (if needed) and TPN supplies. Don’t forget your TPN pump! And remember to travel with your medications in the original containers with the pharmacy labels still attached.
  5. Bringing your TPN with you? Then make sure your TPN solutions are well packed in a box with styrofoam. Ensure to explain to both the check-in and ground agents that you are traveling with these supplies. Make sure your solutions are placed in a pressurized cargo hold or the cabin. Depending on the type of aircraft, you might be able to store your TPN solutions in a refrigerated cargo hold.
  6. Relax and lower your expectations. You might not get to see everyone or go everywhere on your list. Don’t expect everything to go as planned. Instead, think ahead and be willing to consider alternate plans. This attitude goes a long way toward reducing stress and disappointment. It’s okay to settle for less — at least you’re there!
  7. Be open about your limitations. Tell your traveling companions and/or hosts about your medical situation and what you are comfortable doing. Remember to take breaks and rest. If you get rundown, you will only stress more and a medical situation can go from good to chaos in the blink of an eye.
  8. Bring the phone numbers of your doctors and pharmacists in case you have a question or an emergency.
  9. Get a medical alert tag. Carry a card or piece of paper with physician contact information, a list of medications and your medical history.
  10. Always, always, always travel with medical insurance! Make sure your insurance covers “pre-existing conditions”.

Wishing you a safe and fun journey,
TS (HPN Consumer)