7 TIPS FOR WHEN YOU TRAVEL

The thought of traveling often scares people with an ostomy. Some of them even never travel. but we have big advantages over others: we don't have to run to the bathroom every 30 minutes when we drink margaritas, or we can stay on our deck chair when we suffer from stomach discomfort, like we see in the ads on TV! All joking aside, you don't have to be worried about travelling with your ostomy. Believe me.

Because I'm a photographer, I've had to travel to exotic places a few times to take pictures of newlyweds. That's why I've decided to share some of the tips and tricks I learned from those trips.

1. Swimsuits

How fun! Right now, the pin-up style is popular, which makes it easier to shop for the perfect swimsuit. We can finally buy a two-piece swimsuit!  They have a high waist, a youthful look and are colourful. It's been one of the hottest trends these past few years. Plus, the high waist lets us hide our little abdominal imperfections. We can't ask for more! You can also adopt tankini swimsuits. I don't recommend them if you want to swim in the sea, as they don't have a high waist. Waves can easily crash into your pouch, and rip it off even. Finally, there's the one-piece swimwuit that can be really sexy. Plus, it can support your ostomy device well. Multiple styles are available, like with holes in the back and/or laces. They look really good. A one-piece suit with a skirt is really comfortable to wear, and helps hide your pouch.

2. Ostomy kit

You should cut your flanges beforehand, as you can't bring scissors in your luggage. you can also bring small disposable bags if you don't want to have to kneel when you empty your pouch. Turbulences can be annoying! You can just throw your disposable bag away and put a new one back.

If you like to swim, I suggest you bring two to three times the amount of flanges you usually use. It's better to bring them back home than to wish you had brought more.

From my experience, Coloplast's Brava Elastic Barrier Strips are awesome. Their tightness allows your pouch to stay on longer.  I'd say I change my pouch every 7-9 days now that I use them.

3. Hydration

Being well hydrated is very important, especially for an ostomate. Due to the heat of southern destinations, you can dehydrate quickly. I notice it easily and regularly. I feel weak, I get tired more easily, and my stools are more loose. Increasing your sodium intake and adding Gatorade powder to your water can help. Remember to drink water!

5. Customs

You should tell custom officials about your ostomy before being searched or going through a body scanner. Try not to forget to tell them about your pouch, so you don't surprise them with something that may look like drug trafficking to them (laughs). This will also ensure that they are more gentle when they run their hands on your pouch. I would recommend emptying your pouch before going through customs so a bump under your shirt doesn't cause suspicion. I've been searched many times, and in different countries. The custom officials always were understanding and sensitive.

5. Smells

I use liquid deodorant when I travel. It's useful for when you have roommates and don't want to spoil their morning, or when you need to empty your pouch in the washrooms near the pool. It's a really useful liquid!

6. Just in case

I always pack Pedialyte Power Packs in my luggage, in case the "turista" decides to go on vacation with me. It's also a good idea to bring Cipro with you, which you can ask your doctor for. It's important to be ready for anything, since we are more likely to suffer from dehydration. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

7. Use your smile and your joy of living to discover new things

We often feel like everyone can see our pouch. Most of the people I travel with for weddings are surprised when they learn there's a pouch hiding under my swimsuit. Don't be afraid to live fully and enjoy every moment. Smile, dust off your swimsuit and enjoy the small pleasures of life!

On this, live from Jamaica, I wish you great travels. My tupperware friend, my swimsuit, my sunscreen, my water bottle and I are going to go enjoy the seaside, the turquoise sea and the hot sun like pros!

Geneviève A.

This article is sponsored by our partner : Premier Ostomy Center