Travel Tips For Ostomates

In these days where extra precautions for security are being taken worldwide, it would be wise for traveling ostomates to do advance planning in order to avoid possible problems. Some suggestions are:

1-Pre cut wafers at home, as you may wish to avoid having scissors in your carry-on luggage (see additional comments below).

2-Pack ostomy supplies in at least 2 places,carry on and checked luggage.

3-Take extra supplies in case you are stranded where supplies may not be available.

4-A statement from your physician stating your need for ostomy supplies might be helpful. Also, a statement advocating a private area be used in case of an extended search.

5-If traveling to a foreign country it is a good idea to have critical ostomy information written in their language. One of the 70 member associations of the International Ostomy Association (IOA) may be of help with this translation as well as with locating supplies while visiting their country.

6-A copy of the book “Yes We Can” has many helpful hints and advice for traveling and also has a dictionary of ostomy terms translated to several different languages. There is important contact information for resources worldwide as well as a wallet-sized statement written in 11 languages that asks for privacy if a search is to be conducted.

7-One ostomate reported a very positive result from carrying photocopies of the catalogue pages displaying and explaining his equipment. When a searcher asked about the items found on a hand search, he was able to explain their function without a long conversation that would hold up others in line. Our experience has been that over time the TSA agents are much more knowledgeable and sensitive to these personal care products.

About carrying scissors on board aircraft

In the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, pointed metal scissors were banned from carry-on baggage (they are still allowed in CHECKED luggage). Since then, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has relaxed the prohibition of scissors in carry-on luggage. In August 2005, TSA allowed a special exception for “Ostomy Scissors”. In December 2005, they relaxed the rule further to allow any metal scissors with a cutting edge no greater than four inches. It must be understood, however, that this applies only to flights departing U.S. airports. Scissors are still prohibited on flights departing Canadian airports, including flights to the U.S.

All screening at airports must be conducted in a way that treats passengers with courtesy, dignity, and respect. You may request that any personal screening be conducted in a private area. See TSA’s info on Travelers with Disabilities and Medical Conditions.

Restrictions On Liquids, Gels and Aerosols

On Aug 10, 2006, TSA banned all liquids, gels and aerosols from carry-on baggage, with only a few exceptions for required medications, baby formula, diabetic glucose treatments, etc. On Sept 25, 2006, they modified the rules so each passenger may carry travel size toiletries (3 ounces or less) that fit comfortably in a single, one -quart-size, zip-top, clear plastic bag which you must remove from your carry-on bag and place in a bin or on the conveyor belt to be x-rayed separately (see TSA”S explanation of these procedures). Also, beverages and other liquids purchased in the secure area beyond the passenger screening checkpoint can be carried onto the plane. Based on these rules, you should have no difficulty carrying a 2-ounce tube of stoma paste or a few remover wipes, barrier wipes, etc. Remember that the restrictions apply only to carry-on luggage; you can pack as much as you want in your checked luggage. If you need to carry larger quantities of liquid medications, baby formula, etc. on-board the plane, they must be declared separately at the security checkpoint; TSA provides a form you can use for declaring them.