Traveling for business, taking vacations and visiting friends and family does not have to be given up because you have COPD. With careful planning, you can reduce the hurdles of travel and enjoy safe and pleasant trips. The key to success in traveling can be taken from the Boy Scout motto: Be prepared!
In this chapter, we provide practical guidelines for traveling with oxygen. And we provide tips for
predicting the need for medicines. Whether you plan to travel by plane, train or car, your travel
plans should include the following:
- Discuss your travel plans with your doctor to make sure you are well enough to travel. You should be well-prepared for any special needs you may have during your travels. So talk about your planned length of stay, how you will travel and the climate and weather of your final stop.
- Make a folder for your travel documents and your medical documents. You may find it useful to get a letter from your doctor. It should state you are fit for travel. It can include a brief summary of your present condition and a list of your medicines. Keep these documents with you so they are accessible at any point during your travels.
- Identify a medical facility and a doctor who can care for you at your travel location. This is especially important if you plan on an extended stay. Your primary care doctor should be able to help you do this.
- Keep a list of all necessary contact information and phone numbers. Include your doctor, emergency family contact, the airline or cruise line you are traveling on and a contact person at your final stop.
- Have all routine medicines refilled. Make sure you bring enough for your entire trip. When traveling by plane, keep a supply of your medicine in your carry-on luggage. All should be labeled and kept in their original containers. (Remember it can take days to get more than your usual amount of medicines when you’re going on a trip. Some doctors will need you to submit your travel plans in order to prescribe more than your usual amount.)
- Before traveling, review your health insurance policy. Some insurance policies may not cover you while you are out of state or out of the country. You may wish to talk with your insurance company. You could get a temporary policy, if needed. A travel agent may be able to help you with this.
- If you are traveling with a friend or spouse, make sure he/she is knows your special needs. He/she should understand your medicine needs. They should also understand instructions for handling oxygen equipment.