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Traveling with a PEG tube and liquid nutrition

We are taking a Greek Isles cruise out of Venice in June. We were hoping to arrive in Europe a few days earlier and possibly stay a few days longer in Venice. My husband requires all nutrition and water to be administered through a PEG tube. This will mean traveling with at least 3 cases of his Rx food which would weigh close to 50 pounds. I searched the forums and didn't see this addressed, so thought I would ask. Can this type of thing be shipped ahead to a hotel like we do in the US? I know I cannot manage a suitcase that heavy! Thanks for any insight. ~ Elin

Posted by
21067 posts

I suggest researching the availability of what you need in Italy and Greece in hopes of avoiding the expense of transatlantic shipment (which will be really high) and narrowing down the time you need to allow for delivery. It would be simplest if you could buy in person; if not, ordering from a local company for domestic delivery--if that can be arranged--will be less expensive on the shipment end..

Posted by
97 posts

The best way is to contact the company who supply the feed. They should be able to supply the feed via distributor in Italy for pick up at your first hotel assuming there is a European equivalent of your husbands feed. Take enough with you to last a few days and get details of local rep in case of difficulty. They should be able to do this as they promote independence with a feeding tube. I assume your husband bolus feeds and won’t need a pump as well. Make sure you have plenty of giving sets etc as European ones may not be compatible. Let me know if I can be of further help. I am a dietitian based in the UK.

Posted by
8626 posts

If the shipping cost is not a deterrent, the issue becomes shipping it far enough ahead of time to be sure it is there when you arrive. The problem I see is finding a hotel that would be willing to accept delivery and store it.

Have you asked your supplier about this? Do they know of a source in Venice where you could get?

Posted by
9 posts

What quick and kind responses. We will contact Abbott to see if there is a European equivalent and if it is available for pickup and/or delivery in Venice. To Amanda: Your input was valuable. He does bolus feedings and we will certainly take plenty of syringes! Thanks for taking the time to answer, everyone.

Posted by
1034 posts

Since I am certain your husband will need feedings on the plane, please be certain to carry a copy of his prescription so that it will be allowed as a carryon, since it will certainly exceed the allowable fluid limit for carryons.

Posted by
11288 posts

Following on Patricia's point, contact the airline NOW to see what their policies are. As a medical supply, the PEG feeding materials, as well as any durable equipment associated with it, should be exempt from carry-on and checked bag limitations when departing the US. But, other countries may have different rules for your departure, and you need to know before hand so you can make proper arrangements.

Have the airline's phone number in Italy (or wherever you are flying home from) handy, in case you need to call them before returning home.

Be sure to look at the Cruise Critic Disabilities Forum:https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forumdisplay.php?s=e9ebdc9adbec115b306bb23f10e7f45f&f=190. I remember at least one poster who wrote about traveling alone and requiring tube feeding, and how he managed it all successfully. I do believe he was sailing from Florida, and was able to have the feedings shipped to his cabin in advance; perhaps something similar could be arranged with your cruise.

Posted by
9 posts

Again, thanks to all for your responses. We travel a lot and have cruised numerous times from US ports. Most airlines DO exempt his Rx and supplies and we have shipped cases to hotels within the US and carried entire suitcases of "food" on planes and trains and cruise ships. TSA always opens and examines the contents of the checked suitcase but never have we had a problem. They do swab and examine any we carry on with us; again not a problem. We have never had an issue with Bob being able to continue his feeding when we travel throughout the US and Canada and Mexico and the Caribbean. It is the Europe portion of this trip that concerns me. If I carry it in a suitcase it will be extremely heavy and there is no guarantee our luggage will arrive in Venice when we do! We have contacted Luggage Forward in the past but they will not ship it because they say it is organic. If we ship it internationally and it does not arrive we would need to find a replacement in a country that we are not familiar with. We will also contact our cruise line's access desk to see if they have any other suggestions; we have traveled with them before but not to Europe. We are hoping to hear from anyone who has successfully done what we plan to do and possibly offer suggestions that worked for them.

Posted by
712 posts

I have had to carry suitcases full of Pediasure to Europe in the past when my daughter required tube feeds. Back then, I would just carry as many cans as I could handle in a separate checked in suitcase and buy the additional food I needed when I got to the UK. (taking a 3 day supply as carryon). I know Shipping that kind of weight anywhere in Europe will be astronomical. Is there perhaps a powdered form of the nutrition that you could perhaps just add water to? That would cut down on the weight of those cans. You could perhaps buy the food when you got to Venice - but it may be complicated by the amount you might need as well as communicating this to a pharmacy ahead of time. Do you take an electrical pump for night feeds? If so, take care to make sure you have an appropriate adaptor that will not fry your pump. I don't know what else to suggest - but hope all goes well. https://oley.org/page/TravelTipsHomePEN . This may be of some help.

Margaret

Posted by
9 posts

Thanks for the input, Margaret! When we get this worked out I will come back and update in case it would help someone else.