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Traveling with a Chronic Condition

Trips needs advance planning. This is so you can be comfortable and lower your risk of your health condition getting worse while you are away. Traveling can be a challenge, but it can be done. Pace yourself. Schedule even more rest than usual. And use this checklist to create a smart travel plan for a safe and enjoyable trip. Bon voyage!

Talk with your healthcare providers

  • See your healthcare provider at least 4 to 6 weeks before your trip.  

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

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

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

Plan ahead

  • Try to travel off-season, when there are fewer people.

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

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

Prevent medicine mishaps

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

  • Pack your medicines in your carry-on luggage. Keep them in their original containers.  

  • Bring extra written prescriptions. This is in case of emergency or in case your medicines get lost.

Pack wisely

  • Pack light and take only what is really needed.

  • Carry your healthcare providers’ contact information. Carry a list of medicines and a brief health history with you at all times. Give a copy to a person traveling with you.

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


  • Get the prescription for your oxygen needs in writing.

  • Make a plan for getting oxygen at your destination.

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

Steer clear of smokers 

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

  • Let your travel companions and 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.

  • Find out the emergency services phone number.

Online Medical Reviewer: Amy Finke RN BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Barry Zingman MD
Online Medical Reviewer: L Renee Watson MSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 4/1/2021
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