Traveling with IBD

What to expect

Traveling with a child who has Pedi IBD can seem difficult at times. What if your child experiences a flare while you are away from your regular doctor? What if your child gets sick right before you’re ready to leave? Being as prepared as possible can help you to relax and enjoy your trip together.

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Getting There

It is important to be prepared for Pedi IBD related situations when traveling by car or airplane. Each way of traveling has its good points and bad. Once you decide how you and your child will be getting there, you may want to consider some of the following ideas.


  • watch for restroom signs on the road and take bathroom breaks as needed
  • keep medications, snacks and drinks in a place that is easy to access during the drive
  • pack your child’s In Case of Emergency Kit in an easy to reach location
  • travel toilet can be a helpful option for long drives off of main highways

To find restrooms and rest areas along interstate highways:

  • Interstate Rest Areas – a listing of over 2,000 rest areas in 48 states
  • Interstate 95 Guide – a listing of all rest areas along I 95 from Maine to Florida
  • To find a listing of gas stations along the way, map out your specific route at AAATRAVELING.


  • ask for a seat assignment nearest to restroom when checking in
  • let the flight attendants on the plane know that your child will need access to both first class and coach area restrooms in case one is occupied or has a line
  • keep medications, snacks, drinks and emergency kit stowed under seat for easy access to them during the flight
  • use restroom right before takeoff
  • use restroom right before plane begins descent as you may have to stay seated for some time
  • keep the entire day’s doses of medications with you in case the flight is delayed
  • take more doses of medication than the number of days you will be away
  • pack your child’s In Case of Emergency Kit in carryon bag
Traveling with medications

It is important to remember to bring all prescription and non –prescription medications your child normally takes with you when you travel.  

When packing for a trip, make sure that all medications are:

  • in original containers with labels that are intact
  • listed in the letter from you child’s doctor
  • packed in carryon luggage on a plane or in an easy to reach place in the car

Airport security may ask you to:

  • open medication bottles
  • check to see if the names on prescriptions match the passenger’s name

To make this process easier and faster it can help to have all medications packed inside a large clear plastic bag.

If more than one person traveling with you is bringing medications, remember to pack each individual person’s medications in a separate bag.

For answers to specific questions about traveling with prescription medications by plane, contact the Transportation Security Administration at 1-866-289-9673.

Important health documents

Remember to make copies of all important health documents in case the originals are lost or stolen.

  • health insurance policy identification card
  • telephone number for health insurance customer service
  • letter from your child’s gastroenterologist describing Pedi IBD and listing
  • brief medical history for your child
  • all medications including dose and any generic names
  • instructions for taking medications
  • any instructions in case of an emergency
Health insurance out of area coverage

It is important to check with your health insurance provider to find out if your child will be covered in case of a Pedi IBD related issue while traveling. Many health insurance plans do cover at least part of any emergency care that occurs out of the normal coverage area.When checking with your health insurance company, you may want to find out if your child will be covered for

  • emergency room visit
  • pharmacy or prescriptions
  • hospitalization
  • co-pay amounts for above services
  • maximum amount of coverage allowed for above services

It is important to remember to have copies of all health insurance information in case the originals are lost or stolen. Many health insurance companies have 24 hour customer service help lines to assist you.

Traveling outside of the US


In case of a health emergency, U.S. Embassies can help you locate medical services in the country that you are visiting and often have hospitals and physicians listed on their websites.Locate the U.S. Embassy in the country you are traveling to.


Many children with Pedi IBD are immuno-compromised because of medications they take to manage their disease. This means that the body is less able to fight off infections, colds and flu.

For this reason, children on immuno-suppressive medications should speak with their healthcare provider about whether or not it is safe to be vaccinated or immunized before traveling outside of the United States.

Travel Insurance

Because Pedi IBD can flare up at any time, there is the risk that a trip may have to be cancelled or cut short or that you may need to get medical assistance while away. Travel insurance can help with these issues.

Travel insurance will often cover

  • nonrefundable deposits
  • prepayments if you have to cancel your trip even at the last minute.

Travel insurance plans can also offer health insurance plan options. These plans can cover:

  • medical expenses your home health insurance may not
  • a 24 hour help line to assist customers with finding a doctor or specialist where you are traveling
  • emergency travel arrangements back to the United States for serious health emergencies

Still have questions?