I have borderline personality disorder. I’m also a dual national and lover of travel. I’m talking from a British perspective as that is the passport I travel on.
My advice is purely from my unique perspective as someone who travels with BPD as a companion.
You should research the government advice before you travel, as well as government and medical advice/procedure of the country you are travelling to.
Should you unfortunately enter a mental health crisis abroad, you should contact or visit the British embassy. They can help with:
1.) Looking at your options;
2.) Contacting friends and family if you want to;
3.) Visit hospital and, if necessary, prioritise your visit;
4.) Raise any concerns about your treatment or wellfare with the responsible authority;
5.) Help local medical staff to contact your team at home for advice on your medical history and treatment/care plans;
6.) Give advice about local medicine distribution and services;
7.) Advise on how to return home if you do wish;
8.) Help with contacting your insurance and travel reps.
They can’t give medical advice, buy or supply meds, withold or remove your passport, stop you from travelling, force you to return home, pay for you to return home, buy you food, pay your medical bills or accommodation, or get you better medical service than is given to locals, but they can assist you.
Keeping in touch with family and friends back home can help with certain mental health symptoms related to loneliness and unfamiliar cultures/places.
Does your health insurance cover your mental health condition? Do you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)? You can apply for an EHIC online at, by phone or at the Post Office.
Are your meds legal and available where you’re going? Take them with you, and a copy of the prescription certificate. Just in case. You never know. You might lose them or misplace them.
Travel stress is fairly common, but can exacerbate or trigger mental health conditions, that’s why it’s important to organise and research things relating to your condition and your travel destination.
To help combat travel stress, I create an itinerary and a plan. I allow myself flexibility otherwise it’s too regimented and less fun, but having a plan to refer back to helps me feel more calm, less pressured, and ultimately less stressed.
If my mood has shifted down a notch, and i’m experiencing depressive symptoms, I rest, listen to music, read a book, and be entirely alone. I don’t force myself, and I certainly refuse to let myself be guilted into being sociable. It’s ok to not be ok, and it’s ok to cash in a “mental health day”, even if you are on holiday.
If I’m on an upswing or feeling impulsive, I go out with only enough money for what I need. I learnt this the hard way when I impulsively blew all my money in a few days, and spent the rest being drip fed cash from my parents.
Me and sex haven’t always had the best relationship. I use it as a weapon, I use it as a bargaining chip, I use it because I want to feel anything at all, I use it because I want validation… sometimes I use it because it makes me feel close to people (I really struggle to connect with people). Some people with BPD are, as my shrink says, “promiscuous”. Some engage in impulse sex. Anyways, travel with condoms. In your hold luggage, your hand luggage, and your handbag. You never know😂 Some countries don’t even sell them.
Before I got my alcohol consumption under control, I’d spend my holidays pissed, throwing up behind palm trees.
When I’m manic, my friend always said “manic you is the best. Either best night out of our lives, or you’re a mess crying in the gutter”.
I have no advice for if you’re anything like me. I have no idea how I made it to 30😂