As summer approaches, it’s time to start planning that trip to see family, unwind with friends or explore a new destination. For many, living with Parkinson’s disease (PD) can make it harder to leave the house on a daily basis, let alone travel to a new time zone. However, as with any trip, planning can help. Parkinson’s is something you can factor into any itinerary.
Check out these eight tips for traveling with Parkinson’s.
1. Plan to bring all your Parkinson’s medications and assistive equipment.
- Wherever you travel, pack all the medications and dosages you will need, plus extras, in your carry-on bag. Pack all medications in our hospital safety kit (download kit components).
- Remember to include snacks, a water bottle and anything else you need to take with medication.
- Write your list of essentials before packing.
- Remember to pack your go-to outfits that make getting dressed a little easier — wrinkle-free items, shorts and pants with elastic waistbands — and assistive devices you regularly use.
2. Before your trip, check in with your Parkinson’s doctor.
Before jetting off, speak to your Parkinson’s doctor to ensure that you have all the medications you need.
3. Request assistance in airports.
Consider requesting special assistance at airports, such as a wheelchair or an electric cart service to help with luggage. This can make traveling much smoother and reduce stress. A physician’s written certificate of need may be required, so make sure you call the airline ahead of time.
4. Call hotels to inquire about accessibility and special accommodations.
When staying at a hotel, call ahead to request a room with accessibility features, such as a room near the elevator or with wheelchair access. Additionally, if traveling from an airport, ask about transportation services ahead of time.
5. Continue to take medication as prescribed when changing time zones.
It is extremely important to take prescribed medications using your everyday intervals between doses. Set (or keep) your medication alarms the same as when you’re home. Speak to your doctor if you have any questions.
6. Call our Helpline to find local resources.
Call the Parkinson’s Foundation Helpline at 1-800-4PD-INFO (1-800-473-4636) to find out if there are local Parkinson’s resources (such as exercise classes and support groups) in the area you are visiting.
7. Check your medical insurance policy.
Be sure to check in with your health insurance before travelling so you are aware of any coverage or lack thereof.
8. Take your time, relax and enjoy.
Give yourself extra time for everything — enjoy longer meals, breaks between sites, coffee houses. Plan to see fewer sites so you enjoy them more, and when possible, book tickets for sites online ahead of time so you can minimize lines.
Traveling with Parkinson's can come with added challenges, however, planning ahead can help reduce stress and anxiety. Explore our Traveling with Parkinson’s article for our full list of tips.