An airplane and in each window is a woman, oxygen, an inhaler, and a pill bottle

Travel Essentials

Last updated: April 2019

Traveling can be a stressful time for anyone. Having COPD and preparing to travel can seem like an impossible task. Not to mention the possibility of encountering the plethora of potential triggers to make breathing difficult while on holiday. Here are some tips to make your travel experience as smooth as possible.

Traveling with COPD

Make packing lists

I’m a planner. I like to plan things ahead of time. When preparing to travel, make packing lists ahead of time if possible to help prevent possibly leaving anything behind. Make different lists for different things. For instance, have a list of all of your medications, including those that you only take on an as needed basis. Make a list of any and all other necessities that relate to your lungs, such as your nebulizer and parts, if you have a home CPAP machine as well and anything you will need to go along with it. Then when you are packing, you can cross off each item as you pack it so the chances of forgetting anything drastically decreases.


Take some time to research the location where you are going, especially if it is a place you’ve never been before. Find out where the closest hospitals are just in case you might need to be seen if your breathing gets bad. If you are driving to your destination, also research as to where any hospitals are along the way. Better to be safe than sorry. Another important thing to research into is the forecast of your destination, then you can plan accordingly. If you’re traveling from a generally dry climate to one with a lot of humidity it might throw your lungs for a loop. Or you might find that you breathe easier!


If you are on oxygen, give your home care company a call to see what their procedures are to make sure you have enough for your trip and where to get more when needed. Also be sure to have enough supplies for your oxygen for the duration of your trip.

Air travel

If you are flying to your destination, carry on your medications and any medical supplies. This includes all oxygen and if you have a CPAP machine as well. With the pressure changes on the airplane in the cargo hold it could damage your necessary items. Call ahead and inform the airline you will be flying on if you will need assistance on the plane. Also, most airports have a service where they can help you get from the plane to curb and vice versa. Airports are huge places and can take a lot out of you when having to walk from point A to point B.

Be sure to tell your doctor about travel!

It is a good idea to call your doctor and let him/her know your plans. Having an open line of communication with your healthcare provider is essential. Ask for any refills you may need while you are talking with them, you don’t want to run out of your meds while away.

Have Fun!

Try not to let your COPD interfere with enjoying your vacation! Remember to rest when needed and take your time. Be prepared and mindful of potential triggers and how to manage them.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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