Traveling offers new and exciting life experiences. It relieves the stress of everyday life, helps us connect with ourselves in new ways, promotes happiness and mental health, and supports our creative sides. Plus, it’s a fun way to explore new cultures, new foods, and new people!
Whether you’re retired, collecting your vacation days, or just want to hit the road, traveling has benefits for every area of life. If you live with incontinence, traveling can sometimes feel like a hassle, but it doesn’t have to! That’s why we’ve made this guide.
Here are 6 tips to make traveling with UI a breeze and help you enjoy new traveling experiences hassle-free!
1. Have Conversations About UI
If you are traveling with family or friends, one of the best ways to prepare is to have a healthy conversation about traveling with urinary incontinence. We know this can be a difficult topic to broach at first, especially if you haven’t spoken to them about incontinence before, but helping your loved ones understand your bathroom needs is vital to making your travels smooth and comfortable.
When you’re talking to your loved ones or traveling partner about UI, communicate how often you typically use the restroom. If you have UI, you likely go more than eight times per day, but you know your body better than anyone else. Letting the driver or person traveling with you know how often you need to use the restroom can help them be better prepared to stop, if need be!
It’s also important to have a conversation with your doctor before leaving on a trip. This allows you to get a checkup, which is great for your health—especially if you’re leaving the country! It also allows you to ask your doctor about medications you can take to help control incontinence during your trip. Aim to visit your doctor a few weeks before you leave to let your body adjust and help the medicines kick in!
2. Look Ahead and Plan for Bathroom Stops
Should you need to stop on the road, knowing where rest stops and bathrooms are located can help you be able to get there easily! If you are using your phone’s GPS or a manual GPS, there should be features that will allow you to look up where the closest restrooms will be.
Whether you already feel the urge or just want to be prepared, you can find the nearest bathroom to you with just the click of a button!
3. Pack the Right Products
One of the best ways to manage UI is having the best tools. There are lots of products to help with UI. From protective underwear of different absorbency levels, to on-the-go skincare and disposal products, knowing what products work for you is a great way to be prepared.
There are a few different kinds of protective underwear:
Maximum Absorbency: Maximum absorbency underwear is great for those who tend to void a lot of urine at one time. They hold up to 4 cups of liquid and offer leak-free protection so you can enjoy traveling without worrying about leaks.
Moderate Absorbency: Moderate absorbency protectors are great for those who have smaller leaks throughout the day or dribble small amounts of urine. They hold up to one cup of liquid and are typically in pad or guard style.
Overnight Protection: Overnight protective underwear offers coverage against leaks no matter how you sleep, so you can stay asleep longer. The last thing you want is to feel sleep-deprived on vacation, so having the tools to get a good night’s sleep is important. Overnight pads offer protection for up to three cups of liquid through the night, and overnight protective underwear holds up to six cups of liquid.
Boosters: Boosters are a great tool for those times when you need a little extra protection. Boosters hold an additional four cups of liquid, so they are great to put inside of whatever protective underwear you’re wearing!
Guards: Guards hold two cups of liquid and are a great option for men who void smaller amounts of urine or leak throughout the day.
- Pads: Pads absorb up to one cup of liquid, and they are a great option for women who want added protection from smaller leaks!
Knowing which protective underwear is best for you isn’t always easy. In fact, most people with UI try six or seven different products before they find what’s right for them -- hopefully our tips above can help you find your perfect fit on the first or second try!
Packing the proper skincare when traveling can help you stay comfortable while sitting for long periods of time and while moving around! Skincare helps prevent irritation, rash, and even infections or sores, so it’s important to find a convenient on-the-go option that’s effective for cleansing and moisturizing.
Here are some things to remember when picking out skincare products:
Find something cleansing: Finding an effective cleanser for traveling can be tricky, especially since you likely won’t have access to a shower while in transit. Consider a no-rinse cleansing spray to cleanse and soothe irritated skin. The best part is that there’s no rinsing necessary, so you can use this spray wherever you are. Simply spray the affected area and gently wipe it clean. You can also use an aloe moisturizing cleansing wipe to stay clean, fresh, and moisturized on-the-go.
Find something moisturizing: It’s important to stay moisturized during your travels as incontinence can lead to dryness and irritation around the perineal area. Dryness can also lead to sores and rashes, so a little bit of moisturizer goes a long way. Consider a protective cream to keep your skin free from irritation and dryness whether you’re in the sky or on the road.
- Find something nourishing: Lastly, using products that nourish skin while cleansing and moisturizing is a great way to soothe irritation and prevent further skin issues. For nourishment, try a soothing skin cream. If skin does get damaged or dry, the natural healing properties of zinc and Vitamin E can help your skin quickly recover.
Helpful tip: For traveling, consider an on-the-go skincare package for staying clean and fresh, wherever you are!
There are many other products that can make traveling with UI no big deal. Here are some to consider bringing with you on your trip:
Bed and seat protectors: Whether you’re worried about sleeping in another bed or sitting in a car for long periods of time, a bed protector can help ease your mind! Simply place wherever you want protection against leaks or spills.
Disposable bags: Disposing of UI products is discreet and easy with this opaque, biodegradable disposable bag. They are opaque, so you can dispose of them anywhere, even in an open trash can.
- Extra underwear and protectors: No matter where you are or what you need, it’s always a good idea to bring extras of the essentials. Running out of underwear on a trip can be stressful, so packing extra can provide some much-appreciated peace of mind.
4. Eat Non-Irritating Foods
There are certain foods and drinks that can irritate the bladder and increase the signals sent to your pelvic floor muscles to empty it. These foods are easy to avoid, and knowing what to look out for is a great way to prepare for traveling with UI.
Here are some common foods and drinks that can irritate the bladder:
- Spicy Foods
- Citrus fruits
- Dairy products
- Carbonated drinks
- Vitamins with aspartame
- Artificial sweeteners and sugar
If you avoid eating these foods a few days before your trip and during your travels, you can minimize bladder irritation!
5. Plan for Emergencies
Being over prepared can be a great asset. In the event that your car gets stuck in traffic or you have to wait in long lines at any time during your trip, being overprotected will come in handy.
Consider bringing extra individually wrapped products with you in a tote bag or purse. You can also wear a maximum absorbency underwear instead of a moderate absorbency one if you’re going somewhere you suspect will have long waits.
6. Schedule Your Bathroom Trips
If you have incontinence, it can be a challenge to predict when you’ll need to use the restroom. But scheduling a time to empty your bladder before you feel the urge to go can help you make it to the bathroom in time.
A good rule of thumb is to wait 30 minutes to an hour after eating and drinking to stop at a restroom, and every two or three hours to use the restroom and stretch your legs. While this may seem inconvenient, stopping to go every few hours is an easy way to avoid a longer delay if you don’t make it to the bathroom in time.
If you feel worried about traveling with incontinence, you’re not alone. But being prepared, knowing where bathrooms are, and having extra supplies to keep you fresh and dry can give you confidence and comfort while exploring the world.
For more information on how to manage your incontinence, explore these resources!