Kasey Armstrong
Author: Kasey Armstrong, Customer Experience Team Lead

Kasey is committed to understanding how we can improve our processes to better help travellers looking to find the right cover.

7 min read

Are you planning a holiday, but worried about how your epilepsy might affect it? According to Epilepsy UK, this condition is a common neurological disorder that affects around 1 in 103 people and manifests as a tendency toward recurrent seizures, caused by a surplus of electrical activity in the brain.

However, despite this commonality, triggers for seizures can vary between individuals and range from lack of sleep and missed meals to recreational drugs and alcohol. It’s important to gain as much information as you can when it comes to managing your condition – and this applies more than ever when you’re planning a trip abroad.

This convenient guide provides just some of the practical tips and advice to help you plan ahead and make sure you have everything covered before setting off on your holiday. From pre-trip medical evaluations to making sure all medications are in order, we'll walk you through every aspect of preparing for a stress-free holiday when travelling with epilepsy.

We'll help make sure you're ready to hit the open road or soar through the skies safe and sound - so get ready to start crossing things off that bucket list!

Sunset with Hut

Research Your Destination

Investigate local laws, customs and medical services at your destination

Planning ahead when travelling with epilepsy is essential to make sure you have a safe and enjoyable holiday. Researching your intended destination beforehand can prove invaluable, ensuring you are aware of local laws and customs, as well as the availability of medical services should they be needed.

Be sure to familiarise yourself with the country or city’s accessibility for persons with disabilities, and confirm in advance if any language barriers may need to be overcome or specific medication needs sourcing that may not be available overseas. It pays to do a little detective work prior so that you know what you can expect on your arrival.

Get Travel Insurance

Check you have the right insurance cover before you leave

Before travelling with epilepsy, it's important to make sure you have the right insurance cover in case of a medical emergency. Don't forget to check that your travel insurance covers you for any pre-existing conditions you have, especially for epilepsy.

When considering what cover you need, be sure to factor in details like the cost of medications and unplanned doctor visits. Additionally, consider if it would be worth investing in extra coverage for costly medical treatments or evacuation costs if necessary. 

Making sure you have adequate insurance will give you peace of mind for your trip so you can enjoy yourself without having to worry about unexpected medical expenses. You can find out more below.

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Dr Sarah Jarvis, MBE

Top Tips for Travelling with Epilepsy

Dr Sarah Jarvis is the Clinical Director of the Patient Platform, an active medical writer, broadcaster, and the resident doctor for BBC Radio 2.

For most of us, the fact that holidays are so different from the rest of our lives is part of the appeal – different weather, different routine, different time zones, exotic locations. But while it's perfectly possible to holiday safely if you have epilepsy, some of these changes can increase the risk of more frequent seizures.

With a few simple precautions and a little advance planning you can keep the risk of seizures to a minimum and maximise the chance of coming back with nothing but happy memories.

Find out more in my Top Tips for Travelling with Epilepsy.

Read more

Prepare a Medical Kit

Include necessary medications and first aid supplies

Having the right medical supplies is essential for travellers with epilepsy. To ensure that you have everything you need while away, assemble a medical kit before travelling. This should include your medications (if applicable); some basic first aid items such as antiseptic, bandages and painkillers; and any other items you think might come in handy during your time away.

Additionally, you'll want to keep them somewhere handy so that you can easily and reliably access all of the items without having to search through multiple bags. Doing this ahead of time will make it much easier to focus on making sure your trip is otherwise worry-free!

Whilst abroad, you could carry a copy of The Traveller’s Handbook for People with Epilepsy, published by The International Bureau for Epilepsy, which includes first aid information and useful phrases in a variety of languages.

Make Sure You Have Enough Medication

Pack enough for the duration of your holiday and in your hand luggage

It’s important when travelling with epilepsy, to make sure that you bring along enough medication for the duration of your holiday. Pack it safely in your hand luggage, so that it can be easily accessed if needed. It's also a good idea to bring a doctor’s letter confirming the prescription and your medical needs, as this could help simplify things if there are any security or airline issues.

Don’t forget to look into what legal requirements are in place in your destination country too – some countries have restrictions around carrying Lorazepam and Diazepam, so make sure you’re aware of the rules before travelling. To find out more, you can check out our guide to travelling with medication below.

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Landmark Postcards

Talk to Your Doctor About Your Plans

Make sure they know what type of seizures you may suffer from

Before embarking on your travels, it’s important to consult with your doctor. Be sure to tell them about the specifics of your plans and the different kinds of seizures you may experience. They'll be able to provide advice on how best to manage any concerns around epilepsy and possible seizures while travelling, and are likely to have some helpful tips based on their experience.

Together, you can create a plan that will help make your holiday as carefree and stress-free as possible.

Speak with the Airlines

Make sure they are prepared before you fly

Whilst flying is generally considered safe for epileptics, advice from British Airways includes refraining from travel within 24 hours of a major seizure. With this in mind, it's essential to alert the airline ahead of time about your medical condition, so that they can be properly prepared for any potential emergency situations during the flight.

Airlines enforce certain protocols for passengers with special medical conditions, and speaking with them ahead of time will ensure you are aware of all necessary regulations before embarking on your journey. Additionally, informing your airline could also provide extra peace of mind while you travel, allowing you to enjoy your holiday knowing everything is taken care of and in compliance with regulations.

Travelling with epilepsy can be an exciting yet stressful process. By following these practical suggestions, you can help make sure your trip runs as smoothly as possible.

Research your destination and be aware of any local regulations or laws, get appropriate travel insurance cover for pre-existing medical conditions and make sure you have enough medication with you at all times. Don’t forget to alert the airlines about your condition, so they are prepared in case of an emergency situation during the flight. In addition, talk to your doctor to ensure that they know what type of seizures you may suffer from and how best to manage them if one occurs while travelling.

All of these considerations will help give you peace of mind when travelling with epilepsy.

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A pre-existing is any medical condition for which medical advice, diagnosis, care or treatment was recommended or received before applying for a travel insurance policy. Some conditions we'll need to know if they have ever been present, whilst some within a certain time period.
Medical expenses abroad and repatriation can be very expensive. Having travel insurance that includes cover for existing medical conditions is the best way to ensure you are protected from financial loss in the event of having to cancel the holiday or receive emergency medical treatment abroad.
Yes. Any changes to your health or medication that occurs before your departure need to be declared to your insurer.
If you are going on 2 or more trips a year, then an Annual Trip policy may save you money!
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