Keeping your bladder happy when on holidays

July 13 2022

Roll out your towel on the sun lounger! You’ve cracked the planning and packing, you’ve jumped the airport hurdles and you’ve nailed the plane toilet turbulence! It’s finally time for you and your bladder to enjoy the holiday you deserve! 

Aerial view of tropical beach. Text: Keeping your bladder happy when on holidays


This is the fourth in a series of blogs, written by passionate traveller and Wellspect ambassador, Serena Green. Read part three here.

By this stage on any trip I’ve taken, whether I’m flying or travelling by road or sea, I’ve tried to be very diligent in taking regular loo breaks, I’ve stayed hydrated and kept personal hygiene a priority as I self-catheterised on my journey. I’ve made it safely to my destination, and my husband, my bladder and I can start to relax.

Getting jet lagged mixed up my catheter regimen

At home, my kidneys and bladder seem to work roughly the same, day to day. I’ll wake up at about 7 am and self-catheterise after my morning shower. Because I don’t feel the sensation of having a full bladder, I will have a time-driven mid-morning wee, one after lunch, one before I go to the gym at about 5 pm and a bedtime wee at about 10:30 pm. My activity and the amount I’ve drunk in the previous 24 hours will determine the volume of urine I produce. Knowing this and the added quirk that I have bigger wees in the morning, means this timetable seems to work for me and my body.

Blog 4 Photo 2 Cold weather holidays will have a different effect on your bladder

Going on holiday definitely breaks this pattern for me! When I’ve flown long haul my bladder gets jet lag! This could just be a little quirk of my body, and I’d love to know if you experience the same thing. For the first few days of adjusting to a new time zone, my bladder works on my UK timetable. When we arrive in a new time zone, I will however adjust my ISC timetable accordingly – I’ll self-catheterise after my morning shower, have a wee 3 or 4 hours later etc. It’s not a case of which time zone wins, as after a few days, my kidneys and bladder adjust to the new time zone – I just need to take extra catheters to accommodate my body whilst it adjusts. I may end up having 2 big wees in the afternoon / evening, so its sensible to add in an extra toilet trip to prevent a large volume build up in my bladder. The moral of this story is to pack extra catheters as you never know how your kidneys and bladder will be affected by the time zone change.

Staying hydrated means more intermittent catheterisation

No matter where I am in the world or what I’m doing, I always aim to stay hydrated with water. At home in the cooler climate of the UK, this is generally easy, but going to a hot country can affect your hydration status quo. Everyone is different and medical opinion differs slightly, but I aim to drink 2 to 2.5 litres of water each day, especially if I’ve had a very sweaty spin class at the gym! When you’re away, it’s hard to know how much is enough. I recently spent time in Darwin back in Australia, where the average daily temperature was 37 degrees Celsius, it was humid and I was up and out running by 6:30 am. The best way I had of knowing if I was drinking enough was to look at the colour of my wee. If you are a countryside lover, a hydrated body should produce urine that’s the colour of pale straw. If you are a wine drinker, your wee should be the colour of a pinot grigio if you are hydrated!


Just because you’ve taken your bladder on holiday, doesn’t mean it’ll sit back and relax. Actually, it’s quite the opposite!

Blog 4 Photo 1 Staying hydrated in Rio-jpg

You may start to drink more fluid on holiday as it’s HOT! Or if you’re skiing, that mid-morning hot chocolate is extra fluid for you. You may treat yourself to an extra beer or cocktail. All of these extra drinks, especially the alcoholic ones, may result in extra toilet trips above your usual routine. This is another reason to pack extra catheters; don’t get caught short!

If you’re taking your bladder away for a trip or holiday, don’t be tempted to pack light as far as your catheters go; you can still get “caught short” when you self-catheterise! Jet lag, staying hydrated and your changed drinking habits could alter the numbers of times you need to self-catheterise each day. Plan and pack well and you’ll enjoy those holiday drinks even more!

If you are planning on travelling abroad this year, our handy travel certificate can make life a little bit easier. Request yours here:

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