Travelling with pre-existing medical conditions



As you get older, travelling with pre-existing medical conditions can be a worry, but medical experts advise that most people are safe to go on holiday as long as they take sensible precautions. It can also be difficult to get travel insurance for heart conditions, but again there are specialist providers who can cater for this need and will be happy to arrange a travel insurance policy that suits the individual.

Your heart

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) says as long as your heart condition is stable and you feel well, most people are OK to travel abroad. Of course, if you have recently had a heart attack or had a stay in hospital for a procedure, you should wait until you are fully recovered before considering going abroad, but there is no need to let an existing condition that is well-controlled stop you from making holiday plans.

Taking precautions

According to the BHF, it is a good idea for anyone travelling with a heart condition to choose accommodation that is easy to access and is close by amenities such as pharmacists and doctors, as well as keeping an up-to-date list of your medication and doses in your purse or wallet. Additionally, the BHF also recommends avoiding climates with extreme temperatures, whether very hot or very cold, as these can place an added strain on the cardiovascular system. The same applies to travelling to high-altitude destinations, as over 2,000 metres the air becomes thinner and can increase the risk of breathlessness or angina.


If you are travelling by air, get your GP to write you a letter of explanation about your condition and any other relevant information such as allergies and procedures you have had. The British Cardiovascular Society also advises checking with your GP or heart specialist before booking a flight, and letting the airport know well in advance if you think you may need assistance at the terminal or during your flight. Due to recent security alerts, you may also need to check with your flight operator before taking medication such as GTN spray on the plane.

In short, travelling with medical conditions doesn’t have to be any more stressful than travelling normally, as long as you make preparations ahead of time and make sure you arrange travel insurance for heart conditions that is appropriate for your needs. With these things taken care of, all you need to think about is where to go and what to do when you get there.

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