Most of us love the anticipation of travel. We look forward to new experiences and making memories. For those of us with bladder control issues, however, that anticipation can give way to anxiety about handling leaks on a long flight or road trip. Often, that’s enough for many of us to cancel plans or resign ourselves to staying local. Anecdotal evidence suggests that people with bladder control challenges tend to avoid traveling for more than an hour! But a 60-minute journey, whether in the air or riding in the car, won’t take you very far.
Don’t let bladder leaks derail your travel plans! With a bit of planning, the right products and some patience, you can reach your destination clean, fresh and full of confidence. Here are a few strategies and steps to get you started:
If you’re taking to the skies, for example, remember that time in the plane is only part of the itinerary. There’s getting to the airport, parking, getting through security—all phases that might require you to be aware of your need for a restroom. You should also be prepared to deal with potential delays and disruptions and have what you need on hand to make waits tolerable.
If you’re going about your usual routine, the right protection means you don’t have to map out your day so you’re always near a bathroom. But if you’re traveling to a new destination, you won’t always know your agenda or where public restrooms are located. It might be a good idea to download a bathroom-finding app for your smartphone. Many are free and help you “flush” out the details on restroom locations worldwide.
Travel means adding essentials like absorbent underwear, briefs and protective pads to the packing list. You know best what level of protection you need as you settle in for that flight or drive but think about dialing it up a notch for extra security. If you typically wear liners during the day, a fitted brief might be more practical in case you get stuck in traffic or the captain makes that “please return to your seats” announcement. Bouncing around is no friend to those of us with incontinence issues, so you’ll be happy you’re protected if you find yourself in bumper-to-bumper traffic or flying through turbulent skies. And don’t stash everything in your checked luggage! Keep a good reserve in your carry-on or purse.
Nothing can be as welcome as a personal cleansing wipe or two when you want to freshen up. You’ll be really glad you have a travel pack in your jacket pocket or purse. Add those along with essential toiletries like deodorant and toothpaste, and you’ll always have them with you!
You may think no fluids before you fly makes sense, but that can backfire. It’s easy to get dehydrated on a long flight or drive, and messing with your hydration management may actually increase bladder control concerns. Bring along a small bottle of water—just remember to keep it under 3.4 ounces or fill up after you pass security!
The window seat is scenic, but you don’t want to climb over seat mates should you feel the need to go. That may mean taking care to book a specific seat or making sure you claim an aisle if there’s open seating. If no seats are available, you can discreetly ask a flight attendant if they wouldn’t mind helping you switch with someone before you settle in. Most people are happy to accommodate a courteous fellow traveler.
Of course, when it comes to fluid intake, we know that caffeine and alcohol have a diuretic effect. Take a pass on coffee, tea or soda, and wait until you’re settled at your destination for that celebratory cocktail.
Part of your pre-travel prep should include a chat with your doctor, who can offer additional advice on how to best be prepared so you can enjoy the journey. Be sure to be open and honest about all your concerns, discuss strategies for helping to ensure an enjoyable trip, and talk about what protective products you should count on to make your travels as comfortable and worry free as possible.