Balancing work, family & travel

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Understand how kidney disease can change many areas of your life and how by planning ahead, you can keep doing things you want or need to do, such as working, traveling and spending time with loved ones.
Medically reviewed by
AKF's Medical Advisory Committee
Last updated
July 18, 2024

How can kidney disease impact my daily life?

When you have kidney disease, it can feel like all the changes you must make to keep your kidneys healthy affect just about every part of your life, such as:

Your job
Time you spend with family and friends
Activities or hobbies you enjoy
Shopping for and preparing food
Mental health

Some changes may seem like they limit your options. But when you plan ahead and get support, you do not have to stop doing the things you love!


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How can I manage my time with kidney disease?

All the things you do to manage your kidney disease, such as going to the doctor or staying active, take time out of your day. This is especially true if you are on dialysis and you spend a lot of time at the dialysis center or doing dialysis at home.

If managing your kidney disease is taking up more of your time than expected, try some of these tips to help make the most of every day:

Keep a journal to look at how you are spending your time now 
Use an organizer to help you plan out your time

How can kidney disease affect my job?

Many people with kidney disease continue to work. However, continuing to work can become much harder if you are on dialysis. If you are on dialysis, home dialysis may give you more options.

Staying active and engaged, such as by keeping your job or volunteering, can be great for your health and happiness. Benefits from working include:

  • Staying active and feeling connected to coworkers
  • Doing something interesting or challenging 
  • Keeping a source of income 
  • Health insurance, which can help with medical care costs (if you get insurance through your employer)

Talk to your employer about making sure your treatments, such as dialysis, can be compatible with your work hours.


With kidney disease, you will need to get to doctor's appointments or to the dialysis center if you are on in-center hemodialysis. If a lack of transportation ever makes it hard to get to these appointments, there are options you should know about:

  • Many dialysis centers offer free or low-cost transportation.
  • The city or county where you live may offer transportation services, especially in rural areas.
  • If you have Medicaid, you may be able to get transportation services covered.

Be sure to talk to your doctor about transportation too. They may be able to connect you with other resources. 

Can I travel with kidney disease?

With some planning, most people with kidney disease can travel for work or pleasure. In fact, a trip or vacation can be a great way to relax and give you something to look forward to. 

Pack carefully

When you are traveling, your options for food can be limited, making it hard to stay on your kidney eating plan. Pack kidney-friendly snacks and even entire meals if you know you will be stuck in an airport or on a long drive. Be sure to bring all your kidney medicines, too!

Plan for dialysis

If you are on dialysis, you will need to plan for doing dialysis while traveling. This can mean finding a dialysis center at your destination or shipping supplies ahead if you do dialysis at home. 

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