Willow | How to Prepare for Vacation When You Have Incontinence

How to Prepare for Vacation When You Have Incontinence

Written by Will Herlands — May 29, 2019


You’ve been dreaming of lounging on the beach in the Caribbean or of strolling the streets of Paris. And then you remember that you have persistent incontinence, and a dark cloud rolls through your fantasy.

When you have persistent incontinence, planning a trip or a vacation can seem like a nightmare. What if you’re stranded without the supplies that you need? What should you bring with you, and what should you purchase when you arrive? How do you dispose of soiled underwear?

With careful planning, you can let your vacation truly be a vacation. We’re here to help you map out the incontinence-related aspects of your trip. There isn’t one right approach for everyone, and in fact, the best tactics might vary based on your destination. 

How to travel with an unpredictable bladder


Being cooped up on an 8-hour flight is nobody’s idea of fun, but it’s worse when you have incontinence. Reserve your seats as early as you can to make sure that you can get an aisle seat. It might even be worth paying an extra few dollars to ensure you get to pick your own seat.

Just in case the airline loses your suitcase, pack spare supplies in a bag that you carry on with you.

Talk to your doctor before your trip to see if limiting your liquid intake will be a healthy option. Reducing trips to the tiny airplane bathrooms could be helpful. What’s more, you never know when the “fasten seatbelt” signal will go on!


Before you take a long train ride, make sure that you know where the toilet is. If the train accepts seat-specific reservations, book in advance to get one close to the toilet. If it doesn’t, plan to arrive with plenty of time to spare so that you can secure a seat close to the toilet.


If you are preparing for a road trip, map out rest stops with clean bathrooms. Make sure you know where one is every hour (or every 60 miles).


Which incontinence underwear to bring

On the surface, this might seem obvious. Wouldn’t you just bring the underwear that you always wear? Not necessarily.

Below, you will find some considerations when choosing incontinence underwear for your trip. Don’t forget to test the underwear at home before you leave. You want to make sure that it will work for you!


If you are going on a warm weather vacation, you might want a garment that doesn’t add bulk under your clothes. It also might be easier to travel with incontinence underwear that is slim since it will take up less space in your suitcase or in your day bag. Willow is slim-fitting pull-up underwear. 

How to get incontinence underwear to your destination


First, count how many pairs of underwear you use per day. Then, multiply that number by the number of days you’ll be away from home. That will give you the number of pairs of underwear you need to bring with you. Add in a couple of extras just in case!

Other incontinence supplies to bring


It is important to use wipes if you have incontinence. Your skin is very delicate, and can get a rash if it is in contact with urine for an extended period of time. Using wipes can better clean your undercarriage and reduce the effects of urine on your skin.

Don’t skimp on bringing wipes with you when you travel. Don’t forget to estimate how many wipes you’ll need based on the length of your trip. Since these are less bulky than underwear, they should be easier to travel with. Just stash a pack (or three) in your suitcase, and you’ll be good to go!


If you usually use incontinence bed pads, don’t forget to add a few to your suitcase.


This has always been on our packing list when traveling, because you never know when you’ll need to clean your hands. With incontinence, it is especially important. If you aren’t in a place where you can wash your hands, you’ll be happy to have some hand sanitizer with you when you leave the bathroom.


What to do with soiled underwear or dirty clothes


It is always a challenge to dispose of soiled incontinence underwear in a hygienic and odor-free way. When traveling, it is best to rely on wrapping soiled underwear in plastic bags before tossing them in the trash.

If you plan to wrap soiled underwear in plastic bags, it is important to plan ahead. Collect all of the plastic bags in your house and scrunch them up into a small box or pouch in your suitcase. If you don’t have enough--this might sound crazy, but--you can purchase plastic grocery bags to bring with you. Don’t forget, you will need one bag per pair of underwear that you bring!

Another option is to keep rolls of dog poop bags in your day bags as a convenient way of carrying soiled underwear wrappers. The advantage of these is that they actually come scented to counter the dog poop odor! Make sure to look for large ones that can accommodate adult incontinence underwear.


Accidents happen, and you can be prepared. Since you won’t be able to toss your clothes into the laundry machine the way you would at home, plan ahead. Call your hotel to see if they can do some laundry (usually for an additional fee). If they don’t, bring a small bottle of laundry detergent so that you can wash clothes by hand in the tub.

You can also put your clothes in a separate bag and wash them when you get back home.


One Final Tip

Learn how to say “Where is the toilet?” in the language of the country you’re visiting.

Here are some examples:

  • French: “Où sont les toilettes”
  • Spanish: “¿Dónde está el baño?”
  • German: “Wo ist die Toilette?”