Having multiple sclerosis shouldn't stop you from enjoying holidays with your family or friends. If you have concerns about costs, equipment or accessiblity, here is some useful information.
Getting away from the daily routine and doing something new can make a real difference to your wellbeing. For some people travelling with MS may simply mean checking that any medications needed on holiday have been packed, for others it may involve making sure that the facilities in an accessible hotel room adequately meet your requirements.
Finding accessible accommodation and places to visit
Many hotels in the UK now have accessible rooms, but standards vary. If you have additional needs or specific requirements, check that these can be met before you make a reservation.
Information about accessible locations across the UK, including hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions.
A searchable list of companies providing accessible accommodation, attractions and places to eat and holidays for people with a disability.
Information about accessible accommodation and venues.
A book published by Disability Rights UK, includes listings of places to stay and things to do throughout the British Isles. You can buy the current edition from the Disability Rights UK website.
A company that helps arrange house swaps with other people around the world who have the same accessibility needs.
A listing of accessible destinations and places to stay around the UK. Provided by the charity Tourism For All.
Lists over 200 ideas for days out with hints and tips on some on attractions around the UK. You can download the guide itself as a pdf.
Find winter sports and resorts in Europe that are tailored to your needs.
Lists hotels, B&Bs and self catering accommodation with ceiling hoists.
The reviews of hotels on the travel website include filters for wheelchair access and reduced mobility rooms
Financial assistance for holidays
A charity that provides financial assistance for low-income families for holidays and breaks. Applications are made by a health or social care professional - MS nurse, GP, social worker - who is working with the family.
Grants to help people affected by MS pay for short breaks, holidays or respite care.
See also the Grants and financial help page.
Most mainstream insurance companies have a sensible approach to MS and should provide a quote based on your own circumstances. It's worth shopping around to compare prices. Check the fine print of the policy to ensure that all your needs are covered - for example, mobility aids and disability equipment are unlikely to be covered by standard travel insurance policies.
European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
If you are visiting a country in the EU, you should apply for the free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Your EHIC lets you get state healthcare at a reduced cost or sometimes for free. Each country's health system is different and might not include all the things you would expect to get free of charge from the NHS. You may have to make a contribution to the cost of your care. Keep all receipts and any paperwork (make copies if necessary) as they might be needed by you or your insurance company to apply for any reimbursement.
European Health Insurance Card - Information on the NHS Choices website
Most people with MS can have all the vaccinations that are required when travelling abroad. It's better to be protected than run the risk of contracting the diseases, many of which are serious and life threatening.
If you're unwell, for example in the middle of a bad relapse, your doctor may advise you to delay the vaccination. If you're taking a drug which suppresses the immune system, you should not receive 'live' vaccines as you may be at greater risk of developing the disease. Make sure that your doctor is aware of all the medications you are taking.
Taking medications abroad
Different countries have different regulations about medications that can be brought into the country. Before travelling, check the rules for all the countries you will be visiting, even if you're just passing through.
If you are travelling with drugs for your MS, keep them in their original packaging and have a copy of your prescription. Unless airline rules say otherwise, keep your medications in your hand luggage.
If you are taking one of the injectable disease modifying drugs, you will need a letter from your MS nurse or from the home delivery company to explain why you are travelling with syringes. Your drug delivery company can provide a travel pack to keep medications cool during your journey. If the medication needs to be stored in a fridge or you are going somewhere where the room temperature is likely to be above 25°C, talk to your travel company before you leave to make sure you will have access to a fridge.
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Some people find that extremes of heat and cold can cause their multiple sclerosis symptoms to worsen. Read our tips on how to deal with the 'broken thermostat' feeling.
Vaccination and immunisation
People with MS should have all the usual vaccinations unless they are on certain immunosuppressants or having a bad relapse.