Going on holiday

Practical issues when going on holiday

Insurance

You should arrange full travel insurance for yourself before going on holiday abroad.  If you’re travelling with a friend or family member, check they are fully covered too. By taking out travel insurance you can avoid huge medical bills if you are taken ill or if you have an emergency during your trip. Look into the cost of this well in advance as you may find it’s too expensive or you may need to find a specialist provider.

Read Gordon's advice.

Make sure your insurance policy covers all your medical conditions. You need to have the right insurance for your individual circumstances – there is no one insurance provider that is the appropriate choice for every individual with a lung condition. If you don’t declare relevant medical information to your insurance firm, your policy may not be valid, leaving you facing a huge medical bill if you are taken ill while on holiday. For example, it could cost £25,000 if you had a moped accident in Greece, and needed surgery and repatriation to the UK.

When you’re travelling, keep your travel insurance documents in a safe place, such as your hand luggage. On reaching your accommodation, put them in a secure place like the hotel safe.

European Health Insurance card

The European Health Insurance card (EHIC) entitles you to reduced cost - sometimes free - medical treatment if you fall ill when travelling in the European Union. Keep it with you at all times. With your EHIC, you should be able to get the same treatment as a resident of the country you're visiting. In some countries you may have to pay a patient contribution, also known as a co-payment. Since 1 July 2014, you can no longer be reimbursed for co-payments once you go back to the UK.

The EHIC is not a replacement for travel insurance. It won’t cover any private medical health care or costs, such as being flown back to the UK, or lost or stolen property. So you should take out full travel insurance before travelling. Some insurers now insist that you hold an EHIC, and many will waive the excess if you have one.

You can apply for the EHIC free of charge onlineBeware of other websites which may charge if you apply through them.

You can also apply by post by downloading and filling in a form, or by phoning 0300 330 1350

The European Commission has produced an app that is a portable guide on how to use the EHIC.

Contact our helpline on 03000 030 555 for advice on where to find suitable travel insurance for your individual circumstances

Medication

Give yourself plenty of time to organise medication for the duration of your trip. You may need to ask for extra to cover potential delays or emergencies. If you have a rescue pack, take this away with you too. If you take prescription medication, you should discuss your trip with your GP or practice nurse at least 2 months before you plan to travel. Your GP may write you a repeat prescription if your medication is due to end during your holiday. For extended trips, a maximum 3 months’ supply can be prescribed if you have a stable long-term condition. Discuss with your GP whether you need emergency antibiotics.

Take a list of your medication and doses with you, and remember to carry your medication in your hand luggage when you’re travelling. A doctor’s letter is required if you take liquid medicines exceeding 100 millilitres into an aircraft’s cabin.

If you’re travelling outside the EU, check with your GP whether your medication can be obtained at your destination and whether there are any restrictions on your medication in your destination country. If you take certain medication you may need to carry a letter from your doctor when you travel. Alternatively, contact the British Embassy in the country you’re visiting for further information. You can find details at gov.uk/government/world/organisations or by calling 020 7008 1500.

You will need a letter from your doctor confirming that you need the medication, and you should also keep a list of all the medication you take in case you need to get more during your stay. List the proper names - not just the brand names - and keep all medication in its original packaging. Also remember to take your repeat prescription with you in case of emergencies such as your medication getting lost. You should also keep a written record with you of any other medical condition you have.

If you are given medication abroad, check whether it can be brought back into the UK. If you are in any doubt, declare the medication at customs.

Next: View our holiday checklist >

Download our going on holiday PDF (437KB)

Last medically reviewed: March 2018. Due for review: March 2021

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.