Traveling to Europe with an Ostomy: Tips for Flights and Accommodations

May 04, 2024 3:44 pm

My husband and I are planning a trip to Europe this fall. I had surgery last month and got my ostomy. I'm looking for tips for traveling with the ostomy, long-haul flights, and disposing of my pouch when I'm staying in a hotel or on a riverboat. I'm feeling pretty anxious about the trip, but I'm determined to not let the ostomy rule my life. Thanks!!

May 04, 2024 4:12 pm

I've flown to the Philippines a couple of times and travel to Leduc, Canada at least once a year to see my best friends. The best advice I can give you is this:

Make sure you keep a spare pouch and a spare change of clothes in your carry-on. If you use a cut-to-fit, like I do, make sure the flange is pre-cut (TSA won't allow the scissors in your carry-on stuff). I've had a few occasions where I've had to change my pouch out in an airport bathroom. So long as you're prepared, it's usually an easy in and out.

Some people will report air filling up their pouch during the flight due to change in altitude. I've never had this issue, but it's something to be aware of. A simple trip to the airplane bathroom to release the air is all it will take to fix that issue. I use a two-piece system, so it's a simple matter of cracking the pouch from the flange to let it out.

Personally, I try to eat very little when traveling, but that is 100% a "me" thing. I intermittent fast (because I'm a fatty), so it's more of a willpower kind of thing. I would recommend not eating heavy meals though just because during the flight and any layovers you might have to hustle, and a full pouch will make that a little uncomfortable.

As for the trip itself, just as a rule of thumb, and again this is a "me" policy, others might advise something else, but I generally keep one spare pouch/flange for every day I'm on the trip available. It's overkill, and I've never needed that many, but my thinking is it's better to have something on hand than have to try and find ostomy supplies overseas. As for disposing, I know Hollister supplies come with opaque bags. I keep those on hand, and just tie them up tight with the old pouch and place them in the garbage. Easy peasy :)

Hope that helps. I've rarely had any issues during travel. Be prepared for the trip and have what you need on hand, and it should be smooth sailing! :)

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May 04, 2024 4:47 pm

I have a travel card. It will help if TSA has any questions. Never had any air pressure problems. Empty before you get on the plane. If you are not using Hollister bags, get some doggy poo bags for disposal. Be sure to take more than enough supplies. They could be hard to find. Have a good trip.

May 04, 2024 4:52 pm
Reply to Andrew82

Thanks so much! I see information on the vendor websites, but it's more comforting hearing from people who actually have to live the ostomy life. I appreciate your input.

Audrey Warren
May 04, 2024 5:33 pm
Reply to Andrew82

All good tips. Coloplast also comes with disposable bags and "Entrust Ostomy Pouch Disposable Bag" is black with a self-locking closure. I'd pack marshmallows too. Take two 35 minutes before changing pouches. ✈️


Stories of Living Life to the Fullest from Ostomy Advocates I Hollister
Audrey Warren
May 04, 2024 5:42 pm
Reply to Andrew82

Another item I'd pack is baby wipes.

Toilet paper overseas is not always as good as ours. I'm thinking of my river cruise from Moscow to St. Petersburg.

May 04, 2024 5:56 pm
Reply to Audrey Warren

Thanks! Not sure what marshmallows are?

May 04, 2024 7:08 pm
Reply to Audrey Warren

Hi Audrey. How do marshmallows help exactly?

May 04, 2024 8:40 pm


Marshmallows will slow output from your ostomy. Eating a couple before you embark on a long-haul flight, cruise, or tour will help prevent a full bag of poop.

Also handy when you're changing the wafer.

Marshmallows are white, soft, and round. They are sold in bags. Most grocery stores sell them. Also used to make s'mores at the beach or while camping.

May 05, 2024 2:32 am
Reply to Beachboy

I believe a chocolate-covered cookie with a marshmallow on top is called mar-something? Marrmelows?

Awesome mix - rich chocolate, cookie, marshmallow.

Not sure stoma approved but tummy says yummy good. 😁


May 05, 2024 2:36 am
Reply to Differentclass

Marshmallows are to help thicken your poo.

May 05, 2024 2:48 am

I just got back from a trip to the Philippines. I went through airports, starting in Montana, then Denver with a two and a half hour layover, then San Francisco with a four hour layover. I also only ate very little. The longest flight was for 14 hours and 30 minutes to Taipei, then a two and a half hour layover, then landed in Cebu, Philippines. On the way home, it was a 12-hour return from Tokyo to Dallas, Texas. I am a 6'6", 300 lbs man squished into the seats. The hardest part was the seats; they are small if you don't pay extra for the seat that is a little bigger and has a couple of inches more room for your legs.

May 05, 2024 3:55 am
Reply to Beachboy

Wow! Thanks. I had no idea! I thought you must be referring to something other than the food lol! I will remember that.

May 05, 2024 10:34 am
Reply to weewee

There are pills for that, too (thickening), as well as a list of foods to eat. However, on the go? Give people a smile when you down a few in public - marshmallows. They are not just for an open fire. Ha ha. Jet puff.

May 05, 2024 1:32 pm
Reply to Andrew82

Hiya, also a good idea to use the little doggie poo bags to dispose of your pouch and stuff when you change your appliance because that way it doesn't smell when you drop it in the trash.

May 05, 2024 2:49 pm
Reply to Churlish1

Oh, and one other thing I forgot to add - with TSA, I usually tell the person as I'm going into the scan booth about the ostomy. They will almost certainly have you pat yourself down after and swab your fingers, but it's a very easy and quick process. Good luck!!

May 05, 2024 2:51 pm
Reply to Audrey Warren

Great tip; however, I shy away from baby wipes, as the residue they leave sometimes makes it hard for the flange adhesive to set. Funnily enough, DUDE WIPES, which is a newer product, leaves zero residue. Just a goofy name, lol.

Audrey Warren
May 05, 2024 4:24 pm
Reply to Andrew82

I don't use baby wipes on my skin. I use them to clean the mouth of the bag.
And I eat two marshmallows, not to thicken output but to stop any output in my dormant period when I change my bag. It's a precautionary thing.

May 06, 2024 2:09 pm
Reply to Churlish1


G-Day Churlish, Can I recommend you take a good number on board with you just in case they lose your main luggage. Regards, IGGIE