Choosing the right destination following a stroke
Going on holiday after a stroke could be just what you need, but it may mean you need to spend a little longer planning where you are going to go and how you are going to get there.
The stroke may have affected your mobility and, if so, it is a good idea to speak to a travel agent or tour operator when booking your holiday as they will be able to arrange any additional assistance or equipment you need to make your trip a little easier. It is worth noting many airlines will offer ‘airport assistance’ where a member of staff will help with bags and transport around the airport, so be sure to enquire about this if necessary and pre-book in advance.
Following a stroke, it is best to take it easy so choose a location where the hotel, dining and entertainment is close together – this way you will not be to exert yourself moving around the complex.
It is also a good idea to investigate destinations within Europe for your first trip away after a stroke – a long haul flight is taxing at the best of times! A few hours to travel to Italy or Spain, for example, will be enough to begin with.
European Health Insurance Card
Another benefit of going on holiday in Europe is the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC); this is valid for five years and is free of charge for UK Citizens. The EHIC entitles you to free or discounted emergency medical care abroad and some travel insurers will waive the excess on the policy if the EHIC is used – but check this before buying a policy as terms and conditions can differ.
Although the EHIC will come in handy of you need emergency medical treatment it should never be used as a replacement for travel insurance as it will not cover aftercare or repatriation back to the UK.
Precautions to consider when travelling after a stroke
When booking a holiday it is important to bear in mind some airlines will not allow you to travel alone following a stroke if you are unable to aid yourself in an emergency and may insist you travel with a companion.
Flying by air increases the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis, a clot or an embolism which can be dangerous if the clot was to travel to the lung or brain. If you are travelling by air is it recommend you wear flight socks to assist with circulation and also try to move your limbs as much as possible. It may be a good idea to check your GP is happy for you to travel by air or look at an alternative mode of transport.
If you are travelling with medication or equipment be sure to let the airline know in advance so they can make the necessary preparations. Some airlines may not be able to carry additional equipment so you or your travel agent will need to find one that can.