Planning a healthy holiday

Worldmap on a table

Just because you’re on dialysis doesn’t mean you can’t get out and see the world. In fact, travelling can be healthy for the mind, body and soul. Here’s what you need to know before you set off on a healthy holiday this summer.  

Planning a holiday is exciting! Whether you prefer returning to places you know well or exploring new terrain, we at NephroCare want you to have an enjoyable and relaxing break from everyday life. All it takes is the right information and some careful planning.


Choosing a location

You don’t have to travel far or even leave the country for a holiday to be great. Consider going by train, bus or car – you have so many options to choose from! If you are feeling anxious about leaving home, we want to reassure you there is no reason to be afraid. Wherever you are, you are in good hands with our competent, friendly NephroCare staff.  

One piece of advice to put your mind at ease: book a holiday in the vicinity of a NephroCare centre. This way you won’t need to make a long journey every other day to a dialysis clinic for treatment – a short taxi ride will usually do. Moreover, you’ll have peace of mind about the standard of care you’ll receive. Get an overview of all our centres on a map and search for them by country online at There you can also browse through patient stories and country specials for inspiration.

Always plan ahead

While you certainly can treat yourself to a holiday, bear in mind that some preparation and organisation is required before you go. Next time you’re at your local centre for dialysis, speak to the staff about your interest in holiday dialysis. They can help arrange your treatment within our network of centres, or advise you who to contact to do so. Please remember that you are solely responsible for booking your holiday, including transport and accommodation. 

Be realistic about your health

Most people on dialysis are fit enough to escape from the daily grind for a few days or maybe even weeks. But depending on your specific condition, you may need to limit certain activities. For example, if you have a fistula, it’s essential to avoid exposing your fistula arm to heat. Similarly, if you’re dreaming of a beach holiday, by all means book one! That said, because you can’t drink large amounts of liquids, it’s smart to avoid travelling to extremely hot places like the desert. Speak to your physician if you have questions about what is advisable for you.

The logistics

Some, but not all, of our centres offer a transfer between hotels in the region and the dialysis centre. Clarify this before you go: if no transfer is available, you’ll need to organise one on your own. In this case, your options may include taking public transport or a taxi, or hiring a car. You can always contact your hotel to enquire if they offer a transfer service, for which they may charge a fee.

What to pack

Alongside weather appropriate clothing (remember to bring layers) and comfortable shoes, there are a number of things you’ll need to take with you, such as:

  • Medical information
  • EHIC card or insurance information
  • Medication for the time of your stay, plus a few extra days’ worth  in case of travel delays
  • Dialysis patient emergency card, filled in by you

Money matters

Before you go, inform yourself about paying for holiday dialysis. If the NephroCare centre at your holiday destination accepts EHIC cards, they can invoice your insurance company directly. Otherwise you will need to settle the bill onsite and submit the paperwork to your insurance company to be reimbursed. Alternatively, you can ask your insurer for a confirmation letter in advance, verifying that they’ll cover the costs. Then the centre can settle the bill with your insurer directly. If you are travelling outside the country, we also strongly advise taking out a travel health insurance policy, typically available for nominal fee.

Eating well away from home

Whatever your destination, you should find a selection of kidney-friendly foods. Domestic holidays are typically straightforward and require no additional preparation. If you are travelling abroad, we advise gathering a little information before your departure. You can always enquire directly at your NephroCare holiday dialysis centre: the staff there are always happy to advise you.  

From all of us at NephroCare, we wish you a delightful and relaxing holiday!

Top 4 travel tips

  1. Always keep medication and medical records with you in your hand luggage.
  2. Start early - the more time you allow for planning your journey the smoother and easier things are likely to be.
  3. Call your insurance company to find out what expenses are covered. Some private insurance groups don't cover you for travel outside their coverage area.
  4. Ensure you do this before you leave on your trip.

Remember you are not alone! If you need assistance at any time please contact your NephroCare staff for help and advice!

Related topics

Where you are going and staying – hotel with a restaurant abroad, a self-catering holiday flat in your home country – will likely influence your food choices. A general piece of advice: planning ahead is the best way to ensure you will find kidney-friendly food from day one.

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