Going abroad

Information for children, teenagers and families

Travelling and CF

The main thing to consider when you are planning to travel with a child with CF is to start early and plan ahead. It is always worthwhile letting your CF team know that you are planning to go on holiday as they will be able to assist in advising you about the necessary documentation, equipment and additional treatments that you may need to take away with you.


Insurance is recommended for all travel. It is important that insurance is booked identifying CF as a pre-existing condition, which may mean that the premium is more expensive, but ensures that your child is appropriately covered in the event of an accident or illness. Different insurance providers will quote different prices, so it is important to shop around, read the small print, and make sure that you have the cover that you require.

European Health Insurance Card

When travelling in the European Union (EU) it is worth applying for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), or UK Global Insurance Card (GHIC). These cards should entitle you to free treatment or treatment at a reduced cost if you become unwell whilst in Europe (not Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland). This does not replace travel insurance. Further information about these cards may be obtained here.

Since Brexit, European trips will require more careful planning. It is worthwhile being well prepared, and ensuring that your passport is valid for at least 6 months after your planned holiday return date. Additionally if you are planning to drive you need to ensure that have the right driving documentation.


Take your most recent clinic letter(s) as this provides evidence about your child’s current medical conditions, medications required and also contains the contact details for your CF Team. If you are flying abroad, it is advisable to pack medications in hand luggage, so that if luggage goes missing; you still have your medicines. All countries have regulations about what medicines can be brought into the country, so check into each country’s regulations before you leave, and make changes with your doctor accordingly. Before you go away, it is worth while discussing the need for additional medications with your CF team. For instance, it may be useful to travel with an antibiotic to take if your child develops a cough or a cold whilst you are away.

Hot weather

If you are travelling to a hot climate, it may be necessary for your child to have additional salt. The CF team may advise that your child eats more foods known to be high in salt content. Alternatively the doctor may prescribe salt tablets (or rehydration powder) for the duration of your holiday. See tab on 'Hot weather' for more details.

Check the power supply

Power supply and voltage alters from country to country, so it is important to make sure that the equipment you may be using (or charging) will work in the country that you are travelling to. It may be that you need an adaptor for the plug in order to use it. If you are concerned, please check with your CF team.

Fitness to fly

If you are travelling by aeroplane, the oxygen levels in the air are lower than on the ground, and therefore can potentially pose a problem if your child has poor lung function (FEV1<50% predicted). Some insurance companies request a “fitness to fly” letter from one of the doctors. This is to ensure that your child is safe to fly without extra oxygen. Please discuss this with your CF team if you are concerned, or if you are asked for a travel letter.

Help with holidays

There are a number of charities that are able to provide families with CF a week away in a static caravan/log cabin etc. If you are interested in finding out more about what there is available, please talk with one of the CF nurses, who will be able to provide you with details about the Charities, and assist you in completing the paperwork.