Traveling with Incontinence: Managing Incontinence on Your Journey


Taking a much-needed break or enjoying special times with loved ones often means going somewhere, like in a car, plane, or train. Sometimes, unexpected problems like bad weather, delays, or too many bookings can be annoying. But about half of people in the U.S. who are 65 or older might have to face some trouble while traveling with incontinence, which is difficulties with controlling their bladder (peeing).

For those who have this issue, travelling with incontinence might feel very hard. But this problem shouldn’t stop older people from going out, whether it’s to another place in the town or even to a different country. Whether it’s just a few small leaks sometimes, needing to use the bathroom often, or not being able to control the bladder at all, a sensible approach and careful planning can help older folks avoid situations that might make them feel embarrassed.

Some Tips to Follow While Traveling with Incontinence

Follow these suggestions on how to control urine while travelling and leakage problems and make sure both you and your family members are ready for surprises while traveling by car or by plane.

Know Your Route

When you’re traveling in a car, find signs on the road that tell you about places to stop and plan regular breaks for going to the bathroom. Apps like Google Maps can show you where each rest area is along the way, so you know when and where you can take a break. Remember to think about these stops when planning how long the drive will take, so you can get to where you’re going on time.

If you’re flying in an airplane, get to know how the different parts of the airports look. This will help you and your family members find the closest bathrooms right before getting on the plane and right after landing. Keep an eye out for special facilities for families or helpers. These places can be really useful if someone you care about needs more time, privacy, or help on how to avoid peeing on a plane accidentally.

Dress Comfortably

This advice is more than just picking clothes for your trip. Of course, wearing comfy clothes that you can change easily is important. But it’s also a good idea to use something to protect against leaks. Depending on how much trouble you have with your bladder, using a liner, a pad that soaks up wetness, or disposable underwear can help, especially if your trip is going to be long. It’s smart to think about bad situations even though you hope everything goes well.

Don’t Drink Too Much Water

Airplane rides can affect your bladder more when there are changes in pressure and you’re strapped in with a tight seatbelt. This is especially true if your bladder is full. Plus, airplane restrooms are small, and the sign that says to fasten your seatbelt can turn on suddenly. It’s easier to not drink too much on short flights, but because flying can make you lose water, talk to a doctor before doing this on longer flights.

If you or someone you care about can’t resist the free drinks on the plane, try to avoid drinks that make you pee more like soda and coffee. Regular water is the best choice for your bladder. Also, it might be a good idea to quietly let a flight attendant know if someone you care about has bladder troubles before the plane takes off. This could help if the plane has delays.

Always have a Plan B

Prepare a bag that you can easily reach while traveling. Put extra things inside, like extra clothes, more travel incontinence products, and a few plastic bags for dirty clothes and used items. This is useful if there’s an accident, and it’s also helpful if the airline loses your checked bags.

When you’re packing your main bags, make sure to include lots of extra stuff to help with bladder problems. This is really important if you’re not sure if you can get the things you like at the place you’re going. For when you stay overnight, add disposable pads to put under you (they’re also called chux). These help keep the bed and other furniture clean and dry.

Talk to Your Doctor

Doctors can give you special medicines if you have problems like always needing to pee or leaking. These medicines help with the symptoms. Some of them might take a few weeks to work really well, as doctors who know about this stuff say. So, it’s a good idea to talk to a doctor about this choice a while before you’re going to leave.

Consider Using a Catheter

There are a bunch of different kinds of tubes that you might want to talk to a doctor about before you go on a trip. Some are put inside just to help you pee and then taken out, while others can stay inside for a few days or weeks. Men also have a choice called a condom tube that goes on the outside.

Talking to a doctor about these tube options can give you another way to manage leaking respectfully when you’re not home. Remember, it’s best to talk about this a while before you go so that older folks and their helpers can learn how to use the equipment the right way and get used to the new routine.

Learn How to Ask Using the Right Language

Knowing a bit of this is super important when you visit other countries. Learn a few simple words before you go so that your trip is fun and easy. Here are a few to help you begin:

  • French: Où sont les toilettes s’il vous plaît? (Where is the toilet, please?)
  • Spanish: Perdóneme ¿Dónde está el baño? (Excuse me, where is the bathroom?)
  • German: Wo ist die Toilette, bitte? (Where is the toilet, please?)
  • Arabic: Ayna Al Hammam? (Where is the bathroom?)

Travel with Confidence Even with Incontinence

Individuals dealing with incontinence can confidently embark on journeys, whether by car or plane, without the worry of embarrassment or discomfort. Staying informed about restroom locations, dressing smartly, managing hydration, and consulting with doctors can ensure a smoother and more enjoyable travel experience for seniors and their loved ones. With thoughtful preparation and the right strategies, the joy of exploring new places and creating lasting memories remains well within reach.

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