Always be prepared. We recommend you to follow this motto if you are an ostomate and want to enjoy your life to the fullest without having to worry about your stoma.
Whether it is to travel for a short or a long trip, visit family and friends, or simply to go to work. Having a stoma travel bag can prepare you for any unexpected leak that may happen.
Many people with ostomy bags avoid traveling because they are worried about situations in which they have to change or clean their stoma bag unplanned.
But having an ostomy pouch does not mean that you have to put your life on hold; you can do all of the things anybody else can as long as you are prepared. How should the travel bag be and what should it have included?
We will tell you in the following paragraph:
Your stoma travel bag is there to make your life easier, that is why the bag should be light and compact, easy to travel with, with a lot of storage, and of course stylish.
The bag should include:
- an ostomy pouch
- a wafer
- barrier wedges or rings
- specialized wipes
- adhesive remover wipes
- stoma hygiene detergent
- moisturizing cream
- a measuring guide and pen
- hand sanitizer
- resealable bags
- medical tape
- a compact mirror
- a small squirt bottle or a syringe with water
- your ostomy travel card
- change of clothes (if you have space).
In this article, we will tell you in further detail what you should look for when picking a travel bag for your supplies, and what essential items you need to carry in your bag, and further important tips to be prepared for every emergency.
Why do I need a stoma travel bag?
A stoma travel bag is to prepare you for any emergencies that might spring up when you least expect it. It is essential not only for when you travel, but also useful in the day-to-day, for example when you are at work or maybe even when you are only just going to the supermarket for some grocery shopping.
Having a travel bag prepared means that you will no longer have to worry about a sudden leak affecting your mobility and preventing you from living your life to the fullest.
What should I look for in a travel bag?
Your stoma travel bag is there to make your life easier. If it fails to do so, it does not do its job right.
You will want to consider the following things when picking a stoma travel bag that is the right one for you:
The bag must be light and compact
if your stoma travel bag is large and cumbersome, it defeats the purpose of being ideal for traveling. Pick a bag that can fit a range of supplies that you will need and at the same time does not take up a lot of space or make it difficult to travel with.
The bag is easy to travel with
A stoma travel bag must be easy to carry with you without hindering your day-to-day. A backpack is too large; a fanny pack can be too small and perhaps also not very stylish. Bags that have shoulder straps can be useful as you carry them with ease and they are also rather stylish.
The bag has adequate storage space
Look for a bag that has plenty of storage space and compartments so you can organize all of your essential items in them well.
It is easy to access supplies in the bag
When you are changing your ostomy pouch in a small toilet, it is extremely inconvenient to have a bag that cannot keep all the supplies in. Bags with compartments with zippers or straps can be useful to make sure all your supplies don’t accidentally fall out when you are trying to get only one but are easily accessible at the same time.
The bag is stylish
This may not be entirely essential for you, and that is okay. But if you don’t want a stoma travel bag that looks very obviously like it contains medical supplies, you may think of it as an accessory and not just a necessity when picking it. Personalize your bag so that it becomes something that makes you feel comfortable and stylish, and even proud to carry. You could decorate it with sew-on or iron-on patches, or pick a color that reflects who you are!
Which models make the best ostomy travel bag?
Here are three bags that we recommend and that could be a stylish addition to your travel equipment:
A multifunctional, water resistant bag with a detachable transparent bag for liquids for maximal comfort at the airport. It comes with a rotating metal hook for hanging, a removable mirror and an all-round holder for towels. 32 x 27 x 9cm, weight: 320g – available in grey, black, rose, turquoise
A waterproof PU leather bag with multiple pockets and double zipper with three separate compartments that dry quickly , plus a complimentary waterproof shoe bag. 30.5 x 17 x 18 cm, weight: 370g – available in 7 different leather colors
Waterproof and scratch-resistant PU leather bag with 6 removable dividers, shoulder strap, and removable mirror. 26 x 23 x 10 cm, weight: 1000kg – available in black
What do I need in a stoma travel bag?
You will want your stoma travel bag to be light and compact, and easy to travel with. Some items are a must-have and some are extras that are your decision.
Here is a list of 17 items that you don’t want to miss in your standard stoma travel bag:
- Ostomy pouch: Have at least one. If you have a lot of space or your journey is longer, it is better to carry two pouches.
- Ostomy wafer: In case you are using a 2 piece system.
- Barrier wedges or rings: In case you usually use it.
- Specialized wipes: Stoma-specialized wipes are gentler against your skin than wipes or gauze pads. They are designed for the stoma itself and the skin around it, but can also be used for any other purposes.
- Adhesive remover wipes: These are useful to clean up any excess adhesive on your skin before applying the new bag.
- Stoma hygiene detergent: A stoma hygiene detergent keeps your skin clean and disinfected, prevents and helps irritation and is essential for a proper care.
- Moisturizing cream: The skin around the area where your stoma bag is attached can get dry and itchy. Moisturizing cream can help keep the skin hydrated.
- Measuring guide and pen: The other option is to precut your supplies!
- Medical or manicure scissors: You will need scissors for sizing your wafer or to cut any other stuff. Generally, scissors smaller than 6cm can be carried in hand luggage for international air travel.
- Hand sanitizer: For sterilizing yourself or areas in a public environment.
- Resealable bags: These are useful to dispose of used supplies.
- Medical tape: If you use a 2-piece system, you can use the tape to extend your wafer. Additionally, it can be used to hold wound dressing in place or as a temporary fix for a tear in the ostomy pouch.
- Travel-size deodorant: Useful to eliminate odor or for refreshing yourself.
- Folding compact mirror: With a mirror you will be able to watch whether the ostomy pouch is attached properly or to check if you made any mess on your body or clothes.
- A small squirt/peri bottle or a syringe with water: This is useful to clean up or for rinsing the stoma bag.
- Change of clothes: Depending on bag size, carry a change of clothes for a possible emergency outfit change.
- Your Ostomy Travel Card: It helps you explain your condition easily and verifies the essentiality of carrying those products.
Of course, the list of essential items can differ from person to person, with a few more items added or removed depending on personal preferences and needs.
The above list is more of a guideline for what one might find useful to have in a stoma travel bag. Over time, you will begin to recognize your own needs and figure out what is useful for you, and the contents of your stoma travel bag can change.
This kit is already packed “hand luggage – safely”. You don’t have to worry about liquid restrictions, as they don’t apply to medical necessities. Make sure to have your Ostomy Travel Card ready that has the signature of your doctor.
5 Ultimate Tips for Your Stoma Travel Bag Tips
Now that you know the items that you shouldn’t miss in your stoma travel bag, we will give you 5 crucial tips in order that your travel kit will actually help you in your emergency:
1. Protect your ostomy travel bag from weather extremities
With travel comes unexpected weather conditions. Your stoma travel bag contains medical supplies that can be sensitive to weather extremities. If you leave your bag in your car, you may need to protect it from extreme heat or cold.
It is useful to have an insulated lunch bag to store your travel bag in such cases. This will protect your supplies such as wafers and barrier rings from weather extremities, and also keep you stress-free as you go about your business.
2. Make sure to change your supplies regularly
A stoma travel bag is for emergencies, and you may not need it often. Some of your supplies can expire , get damaged or dry out with time.
It is important to keep this in mind and replace your supplies at regular intervals so you don’t find yourself in a lurch when you need to use the travel bag.
3. Watch your diet before your trip
If you are going on a road trip or traveling on a plane, make sure to observe your diet before the trip. Avoid food and drinks that cause loose output or gas.
To know more about what foods and drinks to avoid, check out these articles about dietary plans to keep before a journey:
4. Store your travel bag or supply at your regular destinations
If your day-to-day involves a lot of travel or different regular destinations, it is useful to have multiple stoma travel bags stowed away at these locations.
Perhaps you visit your parents or partner regularly, or perhaps there is a storage space for you at work.
You may sometimes forget to carry your stoma travel bag if you only have one; it is handy to have multiple kept in these locations so you know even if you forget to take one, you are safe.
5. Prepare an extra wound care supply
If you are a new ostomate or you have had recent surgery, it is useful to have extra wound care supplies like bandages, disinfectants, or extra medical tape.
This can make sure that you are as comfortable as is possible during your travel or in your day-to-day as you go about your life.
You may have to use your stoma travel bag rarely, and you may feel sometimes that it isn’t necessary. But it is always better to be prepared for unexpected events than to leave them to chance.
Having a stoma travel bag will make sure that you are ready for any emergencies that may come your way.
If you are preparing for a long air trip, check out this article. It will give you the confidence to travel on a plane without worrying about an unexpected leak or the airport security.
There is no reason why you should not be able to travel or go about your daily business with confidence and without having to feel any fear of embarrassment.