Travelling with Parkinson’s

Don’t let having Parkinson’s stop you from travelling.  Whilst it does present some challenges, with the right planning there is no reason why you can’t enjoy some great holidays.   Check out these tips to help with your planning and travel.

  • Travel Insurance – Check your travel insurance covers people living with Parkinson’s
  • Accommodation – Arrange your accommodation early and request a ground floor room or one that is close to a lift. Check what facilities are offered such as ramps, hand rails, or rooms that have been specially designed for less mobile people.
  • Ask for Help – Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask for the help you need. Tell the airport, train station, etc. that you have Parkinson’s disease or are traveling with someone with Parkinson’s. You may be able to board the flight early or get extra assistance.
  • Vaccinations – If you require vaccinations you should talk to your GP or specialist first to see what may affect this may have on your Parkinson’s.
  • Doctors Letter – Ask your doctor to also provide a letter describing your condition and the medications that you take, in case treatment is needed at your destination
  • Rest Days – Try to add a rest day to your trip, and schedule long layovers when possible to allow for stretch aching muscles or some exercise.
  • Medicine – Keep your medicine in a carry-on bag in case you’re separated from your luggage. It is also best to keep your medication in its original labelled container so that it can be easily identified. 
  • Time Zone – Consider the time zone you are traveling to and plan what adjustments you will need to make with your medication in advance.  You may need to take your medication at different times, but within the same hourly spread, or it may mean taking an extra tablet.
  • Packing – Pack comfort items, extra medicine and a list of your medications and doctor’s contact information. Even if you don’t normally use a cane, walker or wheelchair, consider bringing or using one if it’s convenient.
  • Airport Security – Prepare for airport security. Keep your medicine in a separate bag so it’s easy to pull out if necessary. If you have had DBS surgery be aware that metal detectors can turn the DBS device off if you pass through. Tell security that you have a ‘pacemaker-like device’ and they will pass you through a different security screening process.
  • Wheelchair – Ask for a wheelchair at the airport – whether you need one or not. Even if you don’t need one or normally use one, being in a wheelchair helps put you on the fast track in an airport, which can help cut down on stress.
  • Travel Alternatives – Consider alternatives to flying. Airports can be stressful for anyone, with or without Parkinson’s disease, and planes generally don’t have much space to move around or stretch. You might also find travelling by train, car or boat may be easier and ultimately more enjoyable than flying.
  • Routine – Try to stick with your routine from home, including taking medicine at the same time and exercising a similar amount.
  • Enjoy – Enjoy yourself, even if it’s at a slower pace than you’re used to.

Professor Simon Lewis shares some tips on long haul travel


For more great articles visit our “Living with Parkinson’s” section of our website.

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