We asked our community for their tips on traveling with IBD and/or Ostomy

IBD Travel Tips

  • This one is more related to food but I pack foods that work for me that travel easily, mainly snacks, or microwaveable quinoa for the hotel etc. That way I do not need to worry about having a hard time finding things to eat at the airport or on the road. I also bring a pill organizer with extra days worth of meds even if the trip is 2 days long in case anything happens I have extra medication.
  • Depends silhouette in a dark color don’t make me feel like I’m wearing a diaper. I’ve never actually had an accident, but they make me feel better to have on, if I end up somewhere without easy bathroom access. Also, chewable Imodium. Again, mainly psychological, but if my tummy rumbles like at the airport, it’s nice to have on hand, and no need for water to take, since they don’t let you carry water in the security line.
  • I always take a week’s extra medicine, and anything prescription, I bring the actual bottles. I know it’s rare, but I got stuck in Manhattan for a week longer than expected, as I was visiting (from the West Coast) when 9/11 happened. And I always keep them in my carry-on.
  • I never travel without Dude Wipes in the pack and the individual packets. I also take a full bottle of Lomotil and extra daily meds. Also when I fly I choose the seat in the back row next to the bathroom.
  • I always bring my meds in their original containers & keep them in my carry on. I put all meds supplies in a clear bag just in case TSA has any issues.
  • I bring my own toilet paper. My family makes fun of me but the chaffing is real & they end up using it as well lol. I bring one roll per three days & only use it in my room.
  • I used to work in the theme park industry. Many of them have assistance programs if you are unable to stand in long lines. Disney requires more paperwork for their program, but other places like seaworld just need you to stop by guest services to get enrolled.
  • I  have IBD. I bring my own TP and I bring twice as many pairs of undies as clothes. A lot of airports will have lacking TP or it physically hurts, so having my own in my purse is helpful. Just take the tube out and it squishes up really easily. I also use the handicap seating so that it is very easy for me to get up as often as I need.
  • Stateside, once you get to your destination go to the grocery store and get your staples. I always pack double undies. I set my own boundaries to have scheduled rest time. Wear comfy shoes (w/ insoles). Public bathrooms, IMO McDonald’s actually have decent ones.

Ostomy Travel Tips

  • “Traveling with Ostomy: 1. You can obtain an ostomy travel card from UOAA website. 2. I make sure the majority of my ostomy supplies are in my carry on bag 3. Be prepared to be searched at airport screening, but before they do that tell them you have an ostomy. They will swab your hands and have you place your hands over your ostomy. 4. You may want to get TSA(TSA Cares provides travelers with disabilities, medical conditions and other circumstances additional assistance during the security screening process) 5. If you have to pre-cut any of your ostomy supplies, do that while packing at home. 6. Find where the nearest hospital is located where you are traveling(just in case of emergency OR you might need emergency ostomy supplies. 7. Be mindful of what you eat or drink before boarding(to help avoid any accidents on the plane). 8. ENJOY YOUR TRIP”
  • I always keep an extra appliance in my purse, and an extra outfit. I never check medication or medical supplies…these are put in a separate medical bag and brought on the plane with me.
  • Flushable baby wipes, sanitizer. Sectra underwear as well as 1-2 complete appliance changes.
  • I bring twice as many ostomy supplies with me as I expect to use and pack them in my carry on (just in case). I try to change the pouch the morning of the flight so that I have a fresh bag with an unclogged filter. I also tell the security people that I have a medical device on my abdomen before going through the scanner.
    “Don’t take it personally or get embarrassed at the security checkpoint. You 100% will flash on the thermal scan. So be prepared. Some just dust my hands while others pat me down top to bottom.

    • Tip 1: empty your pouch before you hit security so it will be flat.
    • Tip 2: Once you walk out of the body scan just tell them outright you have an ostomy.
    • Tip 3: Don’t make a big deal about it, most don’t really know exactly what an ostomy is. We can’t get angry or offended if they ask to see it. Nine out of ten times they just make you rub your hand over it.
      For me I laugh about it, we poop in the front. It is kinda funny. Lastly empty before you get on the plane, I do it right before I board. This way if it gets air or fills some you know it’s ok. 1 less worry.
  • If traveling in a car, I take a large pickle jar, paper towel and wipes, and a plastic hefty bag in case there is no bathroom and I need to empty my ileostomy bag into the jar. Then I can tidy up and throw it all away.
  • I have a bag and in it I put my butt basket bag, extra paper towels, hand wipes, hand sanitizer, blue pad or just a towel to put on my lap so that if I have to empty my bag nothing gets on my clothes, I also pack a bag of extra ostomy supplies. At least 2 sometimes 3 depending on how long you are going.

IBD/Ostomy International Travel Tips

  • When going on a cruise, bring more than you think you will need because you are stuck on a boat & going to other countries. I always pack extra underwear & pants in case I have any accidents. I also bring my own snacks just in case I can’t handle the heavy food they normally have. Also, if you have any food restrictions, you can contact the Cruise lines in advance.
  • Internationally, I bring snacks from home, ex.peanut butter packets. Lots of them. I try to plan ahead for public bathrooms…Learn the word Toilet in their language. Or more-so “Where are the toilets?” in their language. As much in normal life, remember to advocate for what you need. I had an emergency one time in Paris. It was night time and NOTHING was open. I saw 2 security guards at a museum. I ran up and said “Où se trouvent les toilette, s’il te plaît?!” (Where are the toilets please?!, in French) And I motioned I WILL GO in the lobby. I was NOT leaving till they showed me a toilet. They rushed me to their break room. Toilet, mop, broom, and all. It’s a hilarious memory – now. Remember: this is your vacay too. Be gentle with yourself and treat yourself.


The United Ostomy Association of America (UOAA) offers travel cards and helpful tips for ostomates who are traveling. To obtain a travel card and learn more check out:

UOAA Website Travel and TSA Communication Card

PDF of Ostomy Travel Card


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