6 Tips for Traveling With COPD

Erica Sanderson Jun 13th, 2014 (updated Aug 28th, 2015)
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Talk with your doctor
Talk with your doctor

Get their advice by sharing your planned activities and locations. Obviously, you don’t need their permission, but it’s good to consider their medical input. Your doctor should write a medical travel letter stating your diagnosis and treatments.This is especially useful to show to TSA agents at the airport. Have your doctor write scripts or refill your prescriptions to ensure extra supplies are on hand.

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Oxygen arrangements
Oxygen arrangements

If you are on supplemental oxygen, you’ll have to plan accordingly. Call your oxygen provider for safety rules and accommodations, as well as a portable oxygen tank. If you’re flying, contact your airline and the TSA on their oxygen regulations. Same goes for cruises. Traveling with oxygen is possible as long as you do your homework. Here are more tips for traveling with oxygen you’ll find helpful.

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Be prepared
Be prepared

Pack extra tubing and equipment for your nebulizer machine. If you’re on a special diet, go to a local store at your destination and stock up. Bring a sleeping mask or whatever helps you sleep well. Share your trip itinerary and plans with family members. Make copies of your medical letter in case it gets lost. You can never be too prepared.

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Have a flexible schedule
Have a flexible schedule

Don’t take on too much. Your body can’t keep up if you’re always on-the-go. Schedule rest times throughout the day. Limit the number of activities. If you feel tired, speak up. You won’t be able to fully enjoy your trip if you’re exhausted or not feeling well.  

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Research, research, research
Research, research, research

Information is essential when traveling with any illness. Learn about your destination, from the pollution levels to the accessibility to the local laws. Research your accommodation options to find the best place for you and your condition. Know the nearest hospitals and their medical practices in case of an emergency. It’s better to be extra prepared than find yourself in a dangerous situation.

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Pick the right travel companion
Pick the right travel companion

Whoever you travel with should understand your needs. The last thing you want is someone pushing you too hard or copping an attitude when you need to rest. That kind of extra stress and anxiety is not good for your health—and takes the fun right out of a vacation.