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Traveling With a Chronic Condition

Any trip requires advance planning so you can be comfortable and lower your risk for worsening symptoms. Use this checklist to create a smart travel plan for a safe and enjoyable trip. Bon voyage!

Involve your health care providers

  • Arrange a consultation with your doctor at least 4 to 6 weeks before traveling.  

  • Get written instructions for how to handle problems while away.

  • If you are crossing time zones, be sure to ask your doctor how to take your medicines on schedule.

  • Discuss your specific travel concerns. Take notes or ask a loved one to do it.

Plan ahead

  • Always plan to travel during slower times, or off-season, when there are fewer people.

  • Consider what times of day you usually feel your best and when you need to take medicine.

  • If you will be flying, call the Transportation Security Adminstration (TSA) at least 72 hours before your flight. The TSA can give you special help at security screening checkpoints. 

Avoid medicine mishaps

  • Do you have enough medicine? Do you have extra in case of an unplanned delay?

  • Pack your medications in your carry-on luggage in their original containers.  

  • Bring extra prescriptions in case of emergency or in case medicines get lost.

Pack wisely

  • Pack light and take only what is absolutely necessary.

  • Carry your health care providers? contact information, a list of medications and a brief medical history with you at all times. Give a copy to someone traveling with you.

  • Bring a copy of your health insurance?s out-of-area care policy.  

Oxygen

  • Get the specific prescription for your oxygen requirements in writing.

  • Make a plan for getting oxygen at your destination.

  • Arrange supplemental oxygen in advance with your airline. Ask about costs, paperwork, and layovers.  

Steer clear of smoking if you have a chronic condition 

  • Ask about the no-smoking policies where you are going.

  • Let your travel companions or hosts know you can?t be near anyone who smokes.

Prepare for an emergency

  • Wear a medical alert bracelet.

  • Pack a travel health kit. 

  • Locate the hospital closest to where you are staying.

  • Know the emergency services telephone number.

Traveling can be demanding, but it can be done. Pace yourself and schedule even more rest than usual.

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