Travelling and brain tumours

A brain tumour diagnosis may affect your ability to travel, both currently or in the future. This can be due to treatments and medications, the effects of the tumour itself or the cost of travel insurance. Read more about travelling with a brain tumour within the UK and abroad.

Travelling within the UK

The following schemes may make it easier for you to travel around in the UK following a brain tumour diagnosis:

Blue Badge scheme

If you have severe mobility issues, you or your carer may be entitled to a 'Blue Badge' under the government's 'Blue Badge scheme'. Blue badges are given by your local council following a disability assessment.

Public transport – concessionary (reduced) fares

If you have a disability, severe mobility issues or your driving licence has been taken away on medical grounds, you may entitled to free or reduced costs on public transport. For more details on where to apply, download the full fact sheet.


Some councils have taxicard schemes, which provide reduced taxi fares for those who have mobility issues or visual impairments and who have difficulty using public transport, such as buses (or tubes). Contact your local council to see if they have this scheme.

Some voluntary organisations provide schemes that may help you with transport to medical appointments or support groups or to go shopping. Local councils keep a list of such organisations.

Patients or carers may be entitled to financial help with costs incurred for travelling to and from hospital appointments including parking charges.

Disabled Persons Railcard

If you have a disability that makes travelling by train difficult, you may qualify for the Disabled Persons Railcard. This allows you to get a third off most rail fares. Additionally, if you are travelling with another adult, they may also be entitled to a third off their rail fare. You may qualify if you have a visual impairment, a hearing impairment or epilepsy.

Please offer me a seat

If you find it difficult to stand on public transport, Transport for London (TfL) have a free badge and card to alert fellow passengers that you need a seat.

It can be used on any TfL services in London and the SouthEast - London Underground, London Overground, TfL Rail, Buses, DLR, Trams and River Services.

To find out more and apply for your badge and card, visit:

Driving with a brain tumour

After being diagnosed with a brain tumour, it is very common to be asked to give up your driving licence. This may be temporary, or you may not be able to legally drive again.

See our page on brain tumours and driving for more information and advice.

For more information and advice on accessing benefits, book a telephone appointment with our free benefits clinic.

Travelling abroad

It is strongly advised that you seek your doctor's advice on whether you are fit to fly before booking any travel arrangements.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance provides you with compensation for anything that could go wrong while you are away on holiday.

The most important element of travel insurance is the medical expenses cover. If you are without cover and you travel to a country with high medical costs, or if you need to be flown back home in an emergency, the possible cost to you could be very high.

Whether you have had a brain tumour or not, travel insurance costs vary depending on where you want to go. Additionally, every individual case can be affected by various factors, which can influence whether or not you can get travel insurance. You may have to try many companies before you can get travel insurance.

When taking out travel insurance you must fully disclose any information about existing or pre-existing medical conditions, even if you had a brain tumour a long time ago. If you do not, the insurance company can rightly claim that it was misinformed and may not pay out if you claim.

Insurers will need to know rather detailed information about you, your diagnosis and your planned trip. Common questions asked may include:

  • Date of diagnosis
  • Details of prognosis
  • Details of treatment (if any)
  • Fitness to travel, including the best time to travel
  • (according to your consultant)
  • Epilepsy details/treatment (if relevant)
  • Details of destination (e.g. mainland/island)
  • Length of planned trip

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

The EHIC is essential for UK residents travelling in the EU as it covers you for emergency health care in that region. The EHIC does not cover the costs of any pre-planned medical treatment abroad in EU countries. It will only cover you for unforeseen medical needs.

You should always apply for EHIC in addition to, rather than instead of, travel insurance, as the EHIC may not cover all your costs.

Further resources

For more information on travelling with a brain tumour, see the Travelling Q&A document from Free Spirit or download our full fact sheet below.

Page last reviewed: 04/2016

Next review due: 04/2019

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