Travelling with high blood pressure

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person having blood pressure taken with device

If you’re going on holiday and have high blood pressure, it’s best to prepare and know what to expect before setting off.

Here, we’ll discuss how to travel safely with high blood pressure, and what your travel insurance will cover if you want to claim.

The risks of travelling with high blood pressure

There are some health hazards to be aware of if you or a loved one are going on holiday with high blood pressure, including:

  • high consumption of alcohol or salty foods
  • low temperatures
  • lack of fluids
  • high altitude locations
  • long periods of being sedentary

The risks of flying with high blood pressure

Depending on how well your blood pressure is maintained, flying can sometimes pose a risk. 

You could experience things like nausea, vomiting, dizziness or in some more extreme cases, seizures or heart failure. 

How to prepare for travelling with high blood pressure

There are some things you should do before setting off on your journey so you have the smoothest and safety journey possible. 

Prepare your medication

This includes making sure you’ve got enough medication for your trip (prescription medications are allowed in your carry-on luggage), as well as making sure the country you’re travelling to allows you to bring your specific medication across their borders.

It’s also worth taking a portable blood pressure monitor.

Read our guide on how to safely travel with your medication.

Speak to your doctor

Discuss the trip with your doctor to make sure they don’t have any concerns about the trip you’re taking. 

You should also request a letter from your doctor about your condition so that if you do need medical treatment abroad, you can give this to any healthcare provider.

Organise your documents

Keep your travel insurance documents, a list of the medications you take for high blood pressure, and your European Health Insurance Card or Global Health Insurance Card close to hand if you have one.

Consider your destination

If you’re travelling to a remote location, your access to medical attention may be more limited than in cities and towns.

It’s also best to avoid very high-altitude countries, like China, Chile, Andorra, Nepal and Peru. 

Very cold locations like Norway, Canada and Sweden can also be dangerous, as low temperatures can increase your blood pressure. 

Preparing to fly with high blood pressure

There isn’t a legal blood pressure limit for flying, but you should discuss your plans with your doctor beforehand to get medical advice on how to fly safely. 

You should:

  • tell the flight crew about your condition
  • move around occasionally during the flight (if possible)
  • avoid sedatives
  • wear looser clothing can also help keep you safe
  • avoid decongestants, as these can increase blood pressure

If you’re very worried about it you could consider other transport options like trains or boats, or alternatively a closer holiday destination. 

What does travel insurance cover for people with high blood pressure?

People with pre-existing medical conditions are more likely to need medical assistance when on holiday, and might need to claim on their travel insurance.

A typical travel insurance policy should cover:

  • emergency medical fees
  • lost, stolen or damaged medication
  • the cost of cancelling or cutting a trip short due to your condition 
  • repatriation if you need to return to the UK

If slightly older and travelling with high blood pressure, check out our guide to travel insurance for over 65s.

Is high blood pressure a pre-existing medical condition?

Yes, high blood pressure counts as a pre-existing medical condition. If you’re looking for travel insurance with a pre-existing medical condition, we define a pre-existing medical condition as an illness or injury that:

  • has been identified by a doctor
  • is under investigation by a doctor
  • is known to you before your policy starts or when you a book a trip (whichever is later)

Do I have to declare that I have high blood pressure when buying travel insurance?

Yes, you have to tell your insurer you have high blood pressure. 

If you don’t declare your condition and need to claim on your travel insurance for any reason, you won’t be covered. 

If you have Admiral travel insurance, check your Admiral policy book to see if your pre-existing medical condition is covered.

Will it affect the price of my travel insurance?

If you have high blood pressure or another pre-existing medical condition, it may make your travel insurance more expensive.

But having to pay for your own medical care abroad, if you needed to, would be far more expensive.

The cost of your travel insurance policy will always depend on:

  • where you’re travelling to 
  • how long your trip is
  • what you’ll be doing on your trip
  • the nature or severity of your pre-existing medical condition 

Does a GHIC or EHIC cover my high blood pressure? 

Yes, it can do. The EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) and GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card) can be used to reduce medical costs when travelling in certain EU countries.

It’s important to remember the EHIC and GHIC don’t fully cover medical expenses but can help reduce the cost. No repatriation or private medical costs are covered by either of these cards. 

Read our guide on using the EHIC or GHIC card.

What to do if you become ill abroad 

You should seek medical attention immediately, whether that’s via the emergency services or going to the nearest hospital.

You will also need to contact your insurer’s emergency helpline as soon as you can.