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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 four to six 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.

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 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.  


  • 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

  • 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.