Preparing for a Trip: Having the Right Amount of Ostomy Supplies

November 23,2021 |
Man sitting with his dog in his car.

If you’ve had an ostomy, regardless of if it’s a colostomy, an ileostomy, or a urostomy, you understand the challenges that it can present. Even after the initial adjustment period, you need to take extra steps and precautions to make sure that you have everything you need to change your pouch in an emergency. This can cause anxiety in some people, especially when they think about traveling. However, having an ostomy doesn’t have to limit you. By having the right amount of ostomy supplies, you’ll be ready for anything. If you want start preparing for a trip, just make sure that you plan ahead.

What to Pack: Having the Right Amount of Ostomy Supplies

The first step involved in preparing for a trip with an ostomy is to make a list. Start this process early so that you can add to it as you think of things you’ll need. This will allow you to determine how much of everything you’ll need without feeling rushed or overwhelmed. Start your list with the following supplies:


● Ostomy Bags and Pouches

● Skin Barriers

● Ostomy Paste

● Stoma Powder

● Additional Seals

● Barrier Film Wipes

● Adhesive Remover

● Ostomy Pouch Cleaner

● Deodorizer

● Ostomy Scissors

● Ostomy Belt

● Small Mirror

● Medications

● Gauze

● Sterile Wipes

● Disposable Bags

● Gloves

● Toilet Paper

● Hand Wipes or Sanitizers


Keep this list accessible when packing and add things to it as you go. To make sure that you have the right number of supplies, consider what you use on a typical day at home. If you’re not sure of this number off the top of your head, spend a day recording everything. If you want to make this number more accurate, spend a few days doing this. Write down everything you use, how much of it you use, and any accessories that help you throughout the day. Next, consider the length of your trip and multiple the number of supplies used in one day by the number of days you’ll be gone. Make sure that you include both travel days if you’re flying somewhere. Once you get this number, set it as your minimum. Then double it.

While it might seem excessive to overpack, it’s always better to have everything you need in case of an emergency. Finding ostomy supplies while traveling varies in difficulty depending on where you’re going. If it takes too long, it can severely disrupt your trip and leave you feeling frustrated or anxious. By overpacking, you’ll also make sure you’re prepared in case of any travel delays or irregular stoma output. If you’re going to another country, this is even more important as ostomy supplies may not be as readily available.

Planning for Your Trip

Putting together a list of what you’re going to need is a great start to planning for your trip, but it doesn’t stop there. If you want to ensure a smooth journey, take some time to do a little research, understand any guidelines or protocols, and make sure that you have the right insurance in place for your destination.

Put Together a Backup Plan

While overpacking is a great way to make sure that you feel prepared for the worst, put together a backup plan. Do some research on your destination and see if you’re able to find products locally. Since people live with ostomies all around the world, you’ll likely be able to find products within the U.S. and abroad. When you know where to go in case of an emergency, you’ll feel less anxious.

Acquire an Ostomy Travel Card

An ostomy travel card from the United Ostomy Associations of American (UOAA) will help TSA agents and others understand what your supplies are and why they’re essential for managing your ostomy. It’s a great way to keep things discreet and avoid having to explain each and every item in your carry-on bag during security screenings. If you want to be even more prepared, ask your doctor for a certified letter that outlines your medical condition and the necessity of your supplies. Keep in mind that this card is not a security pass. Its goal is to help you let others know about your ostomy in an effort to avoid lengthy verbal discussions in public.

Look up TSA Guidelines

If you’re flying for your trip, you should understand what to expect with TSA guidelines. Utilize your ostomy travel card and make sure that you openly communicate with the TSA agents about your condition. Since we recommend carrying on at least half of your ostomy supplies, make sure that you follow the 3-1-1 liquid rule. This rule indicates that you can bring a quart-sized clear bag with liquid items, gels, creams, and aerosols through security in your carry-on as long as each item is 3.4 ounces or less. Pack some of your essential ostomy items in smaller containers and check the rest. If you’re bringing ostomy scissors, it’s good to know that you can carry them on as long as the cutting edge is less than 4 inches.

If you’re nervous about going through security, consider getting TSA pre-check. You’ll experience shorter lines and won’t have to take out your liquids, remove your shoes or jacket, or take out any electronics. You can also contact TSA Cares, a support line for passengers with medical conditions, special needs, or disabilities to get a better idea of what to expect.

Double Check Insurance

Most insurance policies work everywhere in the United States, but it’s always smart to double check with your provider. If you’re going somewhere abroad, you’ll likely need to purchase separate travel insurance as many policies don’t extend out of the country. Make sure that your travel insurance covers pre-existing conditions and that you opt for coverage that will give you the peace of mind you’ll need to enjoy your trip.

General Tips

Finally, familiarize yourself with some general tips for successful travel with an ostomy. If you have any questions or concerns, make sure that you talk to your doctor before you leave for clarification.


  • Pack Early

    Start packing early so that you can take your time and triple check your lists. The best way to do this is to lay everything out on a spare bed or table and gradually add to it. This allows you to see everything at once and meticulously go through your checklist before putting things away to leave.


  • Avoid Irritating Foods and Drinks

    Make sure that you avoid eating or drinking anything that you know irritates your digestive system on your trip. If you’re traveling abroad and want to try new foods, do so slowly, in small amounts.


  • Maintain Good Hygiene

    Hygiene is important but public restrooms aren’t always in ideal condition. Make sure that you bring enough supplies to maintain good hygiene and practice changing your ostomy pouch in difficult situations before your departure day.


  • Arrive Early

    If you’re flying, always plan to arrive a little early. Airports are unpredictable and you may need extra time to change your pouch prior to your flight.


  • Use a Carry On

    Sometimes, bags get lost. If you pack all of your ostomy supplies in your checked luggage, this can create a problem that disrupts your trip immensely. To plan for the worst, pack half of your ostomy supplies in a carry on along with some toiletries and a few changes of clothes.


  • Communicate

    As we mentioned, make sure that you openly communicate with TSA agents about your condition. This makes the screening process easier, especially if you need to undergo a pat down. TSA agents deal with medical conditions of all kinds, so don’t feel embarrassed or apprehensive.


  • Know Your Rights

    If you feel more comfortable doing a private screening, say so. You’re legally obligated to them. During this time, you’re also allowed to have a travel companion with you and access to a chair. You should never be asked to remove your ostomy device or clothing in sensitive areas and if you are, ask to speak with a supervisor immediately.


  • Make a Final Change

     Right before you leave your home, whether you’re leaving for a road trip or the airport, make a final barrier and pouch change. This will give you confidence to start your trip on the right foot.


To make sure that you’re prepared for anything, always opt for high-quality ostomy supplies from Byram Healthcare. We’re committed to doing our part to improve the lives of those living with ostomies through convenient product delivery and a diverse product catalog. Byram is here to help you journey through life with an ostomy, wherever it may take you.