A woman dressed to travel stands with one hand on a suitcase in the truck of a car, the other shading her eyes as she smiles and looks toward the sun.

Vacation and COPD

Last updated: December 2021

We recently took our first vacation in almost 2 years. I spent hours planning this trip because I am a planner by trade and a worrier by night. I say that in jest, but it is true. 

Planning is essential when you have a disease like COPD. Having a plan A and a plan B can make any event run more smoothly.

Plan for rest

I decided to make this trip as easy on everyone as possible. I chose our destination based on the beauty of the location, the variety of activities available, and the ease of travel for everyone.

We live in different states, and this location was central to all of us. The final destination was only a 7-hour drive for Grant and me. However, we found a place halfway and spent the night. It split the drive time up, and I felt rested and composed when we arrived.

Being in a car or small space for over 5 hours in one day is too much for my body. If your travel destination is further away than you are comfortable traveling in one day, I encourage you to consider finding places to stop and rest along your way.

Find a suitable place to stay

We decided to rent a house so that we could all be under one roof. Because of the ongoing pandemic, we felt safer staying in a home instead of staying in a hotel. I am on oxygen and knew I wanted to take my home concentrator to make my vacation more enjoyable.

When choosing a place for our family, I knew I would like a master suite on the main floor so that I only had to navigate 1 level.

If you have cumbersome medical equipment such as a concentrator, you will most likely want to consider finding a location where you only have to deal with 1 level. Stairs alone are hard for me, and I sound like a freight train attempting to climb them.

Activities and meals

I move a bit more slowly than my children and didn't want to feel like I would hold the group up. The vacation home we selected was lakefront, had a little rowboat and a couple of paddleboards.

That gave my kids and grandson some ready-made activities and eliminated any risk of boredom.  Because there were so many things to do at the house, I never felt rushed to get moving in the morning.

Due to the Pandemic, we researched the area restaurants and found a couple that felt safe for a few of our meals. But we also stocked the kitchen so that we could have healthy dining options without going out.

Make your health a priority

My portable oxygen unit has been unreliable, so I opted to use that for car travel only. I took small tanks for when I would be exerting myself. I wanted to engage in outdoor activities with everyone else.

As it turned out, having oxygen tanks that met my needs was key to having a successful vacation. As a side note on this subject, the portable unit may be more attractive, but breathing is the ultimate goal.

Travel is scary for me. This trip ended up being simply delightful in every way. Don't let COPD take away your ability to go places. Plan things out and go for it.

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