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Traveling With COPD

Traveling With COPD

Having COPD doesn’t mean that we must be homebound, it just means that we travel with a focus on health. Taking a trip can be so very exciting. You may be going to visit a friend or relative, or maybe as a tourist to visit a location. Are you travelling by car, plane or train? Will you be staying at someone’s house, in a motel or in a camper? It’s important to plan ahead. Make lists, put them in your phone if you can, then it isn’t forgotten or lost.

Airline Travel:

They do have certain requirements regarding oxygen, medications, nebulizers and other equipment; as well as shampoos and other necessities.

  • 3-1-1 Liquids Rule Exemption: You may bring medically necessary liquids, medications and creams in excess of 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters in your carry-on bag. Remove these from your carry-on bag to be screened separately from the rest of your belongings. You aren’t required to place your liquid medication in a plastic zip-top bag. If a liquid, gel, or aerosol declared as medically-necessary alarms the TSA, then it may require additional screening and may not be allowed.
  • Medications come in pill form or as a solid. They must undergo security screening. Be sure to let your TSA officer know that you have medically necessary liquids and other medications before screening begins. Separate them from other belongings before screening begins, also make sure that your medication is clearly labeled to hurry the screening process. Do check into state laws regarding prescription medication labels. You will be responsible to display, handle and repack your medication when screening is required. Some medications may have to go through a visual or X-ray screening and may be tested for traces of explosives.
  • Be sure to declare: Ice packs, freezer packs, gel packs, and other accessories that may be presented at the screening checkpoint in a frozen or partially-frozen state to keep medically necessary items cool. All items, including supplies associated with medically necessary liquids such as IV bags, pumps, and syringes must be screened before they will be permitted into the secure area of the airport. Also, be sure to declare accessories that go with your liquid medications: freezer packs, IV bags, pumps syringes, etc.

Automobile or RV Travel:

Road travel can be so much fun and you can see sites that you wouldn’t see if you were flying. Make sure that you are rested, before you go. While traveling, it’s so important that you get out and walk every couple of hours, for your circulation and also to prevent blood clots.

Most importantly, let someone know your travel route.

Make sure that your gas tank never gets below a quarter tank of gas. Do fill up as needed. Make sure that if you are needing an oil change, that you have that done before you go. Also have your tires checked.

Depending on the amount of time you will be gone, here is a basic list of items that are important to your health and your travel experience.

  • Identification
  • Medication list, to include doctor’s information, medical history, allergies and contact person
  • Medications: Pills, inhalants, nebulizer meds
  • First aid kit
  • DNR (Do not resuscitate order) if you have one of these
  • Equipment: Oxygen, Nebulizer, C-Pap, Bi-Pap (whatever you use)
  • Wash cloth or towelettes to wipe yourself off if needed
  • Purell
  • Water: To stay hydrated and some to wash
  • Sinus Rinse
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Change of clothes and personal need items
  • Cash and/or credit card
  • Food and healthy snacks
  • Extra set of car keys
  • Flashlight
  • Pillow and blanket. The pillow can also be used across your abdomen if you cough
  • Ice/heating pack
  • If you are traveling with pets, be sure to pack for them accordingly. Vet’s name and information, water, food, treats, toys, leash, etc.

Regardless of how you travel, I hope you take pictures and that you have a wonderful and memorable time.

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.



  • Jean
    1 year ago

    I travel by air twice a month at least, and have traveled internationally. I have not had to separate my medications (inhalers or nebulized) meds out. I carry them through TSA screening in my carry-on luggage and have never been asked to show them in over 15 years. When I have traveled internationally, I am very careful to meet the posted FAA requirements for medications on international flights, but unless the meds are liquids, they don’t need to be separate from everything else. Certainly if you’re transporting liquids and meds that need to be cold, that’s something that you’d need to check out carefully prior to flying. With TSA pre-screening you don’t need to separate liquids and you can keep your shoes on.

  • Janet Plank moderator author
    1 year ago

    Jean, thank you for sharing this information. I’m sure that it will be appreciated by many.
    Have a good week!
    Janet (site moderator)

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    1 year ago

    Hi again Jean and thanks for sharing your valuable and timely experience with our online community. Like you, I always have my meds in the carry-on baggage. Although it has not happened (as yet), should I be asked anything about the medications, they are all labeled with all the pertinent information. Warm, regards, Leon (site moderator)

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