Five Tips for Traveling with Breast Cancer

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Check with your doctor

Before you embark on a trip, check in with your doctor.  Depending on your stage in treatment, he or she may suggest tips or precautions to protect your health.  For example, if you've recently had surgery, you may need a compression sleeve to prevent lymphedema in flight.  He or she may also recommend you postpone your trip until you are more stable in your treatment or recovery.

Choose a restful vacation destination

If you are used to fast-paced vacations, it might be time to relax by a beach or head to a mountain cabin.  If you are going to a city, stay in a central location that allows you to easily move from place to place.  Use common sense as you plan the day's activities, schedule time for rest and be flexible if you experience unexpected fatigue.

Travel to places with good medical facilities

Trips to the wilderness or developing countries may need to wait.  Make sure you have a plan in place for any medical emergency - for you or your travel companion(s) - in place before you start your trip.  Research hospital or urgent care facilities in the area.  Also, check with your insurance company to ensure any medical care you need in your destination is covered and to what extent.

Be a germaphobe...a little bit

During chemo and after surgery you are at a greater risk of infection.  Avoid over-crowded or dirty places.  Watch the foods you eat and facilities where you dine. If you are undergoing chemo, avoid raw foods or street foods.  Most important: Be extra vigilant about hand washing.  Wash your hands before and after every meal and carry a bottle of hand sanitizer.

Be creatively frugal

The cost of treatment may have eaten up the money you had saved for a vacation, so look for creative ways to lower costs.  Stay with a friend instead of a hotel; shorten your vacation; or try a "staycation" where you become a tourist in your own city.  Once you've settled on a destination, do your research to find discounted tickets to museums, restaurants and other events.