Tips for Traveling

Medically Reviewed by Debra Jaliman, MD on March 12, 2024
3 min read

Psoriasis can complicate your travel plans. But it shouldn’t derail them. You can do things to pave the way for a successful trip.

Going to another country? Schedule a visit to your doctor 4 to 6 weeks before you leave.

The U.S. government recommends vaccines against certain diseases before you travel to some countries. But people with psoriasis can have reactions at the site of a shot. It's a condition called Koebner’s phenomenon. And some vaccines may not be safe for you if your treatment affects your immune system. Your doctor can help you decide what’s best.

Also, some countries will ask for a doctor’s note about your medications. To find out what you’ll need, contact the U.S. embassy in the country you plan to visit.

Even if your destination isn’t halfway around the globe, it’s still important to be prepared. Stress can trigger psoriasis. That’s less likely to happen, though, if you can avoid last-minute hassles.

Also, get plenty of rest before your trip and make sure your skin is moisturized.

For airline travel, it’s best to put your medicine in your carry-on bag. Then it can stay with you at all times. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) limits the amount of most liquids, gels, and creams you can bring on board to 3.4 ounces. This doesn’t apply, though, to medicines. You also don’t need to put them in a clear plastic bag. But you will have to take them out of your luggage so they can be screened.

Some psoriasis drugs need to be kept cool. The company that makes your medicine may give you an insulated kit. You can also buy one online. You can take gel packs to keep your medicine cold on a plane. The packs need to be frozen or partially frozen, and the TSA will need to look closely at your kit at the security checkpoint. When you get in the security line, let a TSA officer know about any medicine and supplies -- including syringes -- you’re carrying.

No matter how you travel, know how you’ll keep your medicine cool once you get where you’re going. Check in advance to see if your hotel room will have a refrigerator.

It’s always a good idea to pack more medicine than you’ll need in case there’s a delay on the way home.

If you travel across time zones, remember your medication schedule should be based on the amount of time since your last dose and not on the clock.

Many people with psoriasis find that the sun can help their skin, but be careful. The sun's rays might be stronger at your vacation spot than at home. If so, you could burn more quickly.

Sunburn injures your skin and could trigger a flare of your psoriasis. Pack plenty of sunscreen and clothes to protect your skin. And don’t forget lip balm with sunblock. Light, loose clothes that keep moisture away will help keep you comfortable in hot destinations.

If you’re going to a desert or a high-altitude area, be ready with plenty of moisturizer for dry air. Remember, too, that the air on planes tends to be very dry.

For colder climates, pack a hat, gloves, and a scarf to buffer as much skin as possible against the chill.

Loose-fitting clothes that won’t irritate your skin are best, whether you’re flying or driving. Get up regularly to stretch. It will help with stress and can be especially good if you have psoriatic arthritis.  

Travel is all about new experiences, but it’s important to keep some things the same. Stick with your medication and treatment regimen when you’re on the road.

You also might find it helpful to take your own shampoo, soap, and other toiletries so you don’t have to use different products that might irritate your skin.