The old cliché “better safe than sorry” never rings truer than when traveling with any sort of medical condition. It is crucial for anyone in this position to plan everything in advance for their well-being. We’ve partnered with the travel experts at AllTheRooms to help establish some guidelines and tips for planning a trip where a medical condition might be a concern.
Consult a Doctor Beforehand
While we are happy to give as much guidance as possible when it comes to traveling with a medical condition, there is no substitute for talking to your primary doctor prior to leaving. Firstly, by talking to your doctor, they can tell you if they recommended you travel at all. If you get the go-ahead, they can then provide a full comprehensive action plan for a trip. If there is even the slightest concern about traveling with a medical condition, a medical professional should always provide confirmation before anything else. Doctors can speak more specifically about the pros and cons of flying, versus the potential preparations needed for a road trip.
Have All Prescriptions Ready
Traveling with prescriptions can be tricky at times. This is especially true when flying to certain countries internationally. Those needing prescriptions should carry a doctor’s note and make sure the medications are all in their original prescription bottles. Traveling, thanks to weather phenomenon and other events, can be unpredictable, so be sure to bring more medication than the minimum you would need for your trip. Also, make sure to travel with your medicine in your carry-on, that way if the airline loses your bag you are not in a desperate situation.
Travel with Your Medical Information
This extremely important if you are traveling alone. If a medical event or episode occurs in which you are unconscious or unable to speak for yourself, you want people to know how to assist you. Investing in a medical alert bracelet can be very beneficial for travelers with pre-existing conditions. It would also be wise to print a small-sized card to carry in a wallet or pocket that explains your condition. This card can include information regarding your primary care physician, health and travel insurance, names of medications and their dosages, list of illnesses, and any allergy information that might be necessary.
Consult the Airline
This may be a very short and simple conversation that ends with your air carrier saying: “Thank you for the notice. As long as you are cleared medically there won’t be an issue”. But, depending on what the medical condition in question is, this could be critical. For example, anyone needing access to an oxygen tank must talk to their airline. Airlines are very strict about oxygen tanks because if they are mishandled they could lead to a catastrophic accident and impact flight safety. Talking to an airline or finding alternatives is hugely important.
Have a Doctor’s Note for Implanted Devices
For those with a pacemaker, artificial joints, or other implants, especially metal, this is vital. Without a doctor’s note airport security could be very problematic – particularly for cardiac devices as the magnets of x-ray machines or other security devices can affect them.
Research Doctors at Your Destination
It’s never a bad idea to have a contingency plan at your destination just in case. This applies to someone who might need the assistance of a specialist rather than a primary care physician.
Last modified: March 7, 2019