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Home » Medical Travel Insurance » Mental health travel insurance » Travelling with a mental health condition

While travel is a fantastic opportunity for relaxation and exploration, it can also be quite stressful. When planning your trip, and whilst on it, considering your mental health is as important as your physical health.

Mental health conditions are being diagnosed more frequently than in the past, and much of the stigma is fading. 14.9%2 of respondents to our survey on mental health have been diagnosed with a condition and 91%2 also considered a holiday to be important for their mental well-being. At least 3 in 10 (31%) of us consider a getaway to be vital2.

In fact, a study by Cornell University found that we get more joy from anticipating a travel experience than buying new possessions!

But is there anything you should consider when travelling with one of these conditions?

Make sure you declare your conditions

When arranging Travel Insurance, it’s essential to declare your pre-existing conditions, including any mental health conditions you have. Our recent mental health survey showed that 29% of travellers were unaware that mental health conditions had to be declared on Travel Insurance2. It’s essential that you let us know about your situation during your medical screening.

Don’t be embarrassed when declaring your conditions. There is no shame in these conditions. If you wouldn’t be scared to declare a broken leg, don’t be about declaring anxiety or depression.

It is much better to declare it than risk invalidating your insurance and being left with medical costs while overseas.

AllClear covers many mental health conditions, as long as they are declared to us before you travel.

Before you go

It’s worth planning your trip thoroughly, including what you will do in terms of any delays. That way, if anything happens, you know what you need to do without worrying.

Bear in mind that some places have differing attitudes to mental health, so treatment may not be as available in some destinations. This is something you should consider when planning your trip.

If you see a psychiatrist, counsellor or psychiatric nurse, arrange a review with them before you travel.

Travelling with your medication

Like many medical conditions, managing your medication correctly while on holiday is essential.

  • Bring enough medication for your whole trip and 1-2 weeks extra in case of any issues.
  • Keep all medication in its original packaging with appropriate labels.
  • Bring a copy of your prescription with you.
  • Check that your medication is allowed in the places you plan to visit before you travel. You can check with the country’s embassy.
  • Split your medication between your bags in case one gets lost.
  • If you need to take your medication at a particular time of day, remember that you need to take them when it is this time in the UK, not locally.

During your trip

If you take SSRIs, remember that this can leave you more prone to dehydration and heat stroke. So staying hydrated is even more critical. This applies during your journey, as well as when you’ve arrived. Ensure you drink plenty of water, especially in hot and sunny countries. Give yourself plenty of time to rest as well.

If your condition starts to decline or flare up, contact someone as soon as possible. This can be friends and family, travelling companions or local mental health professionals.

A wide range of factors can affect your mental health during travel including:

  • Separation from family and friends
  • Time zone changes and jet lag/sleep deprivation
  • Disruption of routines
  • Travel delays
  • Unfamiliar surroundings
  • Language barriers

So it’s vital to make plans which manage or avoid things which could trigger your condition.

Time zone changes and jet lag can disrupt your sleep patterns, affecting your mental health as result.

Tips to remember for managing jet lag:

  • Take a rest before departure
  • Break up very long journeys with a stopover
  • Napping frequently during the flight
  • Stretching and exercising as much as possible
  • Avoid alcohol

Mental health conditions are not a barrier to travel. So don’t let them stop you from seeing the world and experiencing something new and exciting.

[2] Based on AllClear’s Mental Health survey, May 2023. 1,630 respondents.

Written by: Russell Wallace | Travel Insurance Expert
Last Updated: 23 August 2023

† Based on Trustpilot reviews of all companies in the Travel Insurance Company category that have over 70,000 reviews as of January 2024. AllClear Gold Plus achieved a Which? Best Buy.