Freedom to Travel

Wherever you plan to travel, close to home or abroad, it is important to ensure that you plan ahead and are well organised 


If you are travelling within New Zealand, the Toilet Map can be a useful tool for finding a public toilet.

New Zealand Toilet Map

Travelling Abroad

Travel Documents

When travelling abroad, you will naturally make sure that you have important papers such as a passport, tickets, visas, etc.

However, other documents may come in handy. A travel certificate available from your Stomal Therapy Nurse or Ostomy Association will help explain what your pouches, skin barriers, and medications are for, thereby avoiding embarrassing questions at Customs.

The certificates are available in a variety of languages, which may be helpful should more supplies be required or medical advice needed while travelling abroad.

Click here to view the Hollister Travel Certificate in a variety of languages.

You also may be purchasing travel insurance to cover loss of luggage or money as well as cancellations. Carefully check for any exclusion, such as age limits or pre-existing medical conditions. If you are in doubt about whether you are fully covered, check with your insurance agent, broker or travel agent.

Finally, before you leave, find out how to obtain medical aid abroad and have emergency contacts available.

Travelling with Pouches and Supplies

When you are at home, you probably keep most of your pouches and supplies together. For travel, you might want to consider the “divide and conquer” approach – divide the items you will need, and keep some in your carry-on bag. Put the rest in the luggage that you check with the airline or in the baggage of a travelling companion. That way, if one of the bags is lost, you still have supplies available in the other. Remove your stoma equipment from its boxes and put in clean plastic bags for easier packing.

Your short-term needs go in hand luggage so they remain with you at all times and are within easy reach. A separate, small travel kit containing items needed for a change of pouch should be kept in your hand luggage to make visits to the toilet simple and discreet.

With recent changes in airport security, many airlines may not allow scissors on board aircraft, even for ostomy products. So if you use a cut-to-fit product, be sure you have enough pre-cut skin barriers to use before reaching your destination. You can pack your scissors in your checked luggage. Some airlines do allow ostomy scissors, but it is always better to be prepared either by checking first or having your products cut already.

Click on the following regions for Ostomy Associations:

Storing of Ostomy Products

When travelling by car, especially in warm and humid climates, do not keep supplies in the boot or glove department, which are often the hottest sports in the vehicle. A cooler may be a useful container to transport your pouches.

Disposal of Pouches

Make sure your travel kit contains toilet paper to wrap up the used pouch, as well as plastic carrier bags to dispose of them at a convenient place and time. Carry cleansing wipes to clean up any accidental mess. Don’t hesitate to go into hotels or restaurants; their facilities are more likely to be clean and have sinks and sanitary bins available.

Some manufacturers supply disposal bags in which used pouches can be wrapped for easy disposal. You also could use nappy/diaper disposal bags that come pleasantly scented. Freezer bags, available in convenient sizes with ties to close them, also make disposal of used pouches simple and discreet.

Travelling with a stoma


Here are a few ways to make sure you are comfortable and prepared when you fly or take a trip by car, bus or train.

Airplane Tips

Weight Limit

If you are travelling by air with a lot of supplies, check with the airline for the luggage weight allowance. Some airlines may offer special allowances for medical supplies.

Forbidden Items

Remember that IATA (International Air Transport Association) regulations forbid dangerous items on board. For example, ether, methylated spirits, or flammable aerosol adhesives and removers are not allowed because of a fire hazard. Scissors are usually not allowed either, so pre-cut your barriers before travelling.

Your travel agent, pharmacist or ostomy product supplier can usually advise you of items that are on the prohibited list. You can also check with the airline.

Pre-Boarding Security Tips

Your hand luggage will be inspected at the security baggage check before boarding the aircraft. If you have any drugs with you, have your doctor prepare a card explaining that they are medical supplies. Some countries do not allow certain drugs, such as codeine, to cross their borders.

You may be searched before boarding the aircraft, so be prepared to explain about your stoma. Travel cards for this are available from some companies and Ostomy Associations.

Using Airplane Toilets

During a long flight, there are times when many people want to use the toilet, perhaps after a meal. During mealtime, food trolleys can block the way to toilets. So keep your eyes open for a chance to use the toilet when most people are in their seats.

You may want to request a seat that has easy access to the toilet and is easy to get out of, like an aisle seat.

Car Tips

Travelling by car is much simpler than flying, and there are ways you can plan ahead to ensure your comfort and convenience.

Your car seat belt should sit across your hip bone and pelvis, not your abdomen and stoma. A small pillow or cushion between your abdomen and the seat belt can help prevent rubbing on your stoma.

If you want to give your stoma extra protection from the strap, car accessory shops carry products that make seat belts more comfortable. An extension bracket can be fitted to lower the angle at which the belt crosses the body