Journey with Parkinson’s

  • Add a name label to needed assistive equipment, such as a walker, cane or walking stick, before packing.

Parkinson’s Foundation
Published: 4/21/2022 3:40:43 PM
Modified: 4/21/2022 3:39:26 PM

As travel picks back up and many begin booking spring and summer vacations, people with Parkinson’s disease can also relax and enjoy the pleasures of travel with some additional planning. Here are essential trip planning tips from the Parkinson’s Foundation:

Plan ahead

■Ask your neurologist to give you the name of a doctor in the area you’ll be traveling.

■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.

■Plan to rest the day before your trip and the day (or day after) you arrive.

Manage medication

■Make sure you have enough medication to last the entire trip.

■Keep all medications with you in your carry-on bag; always pack extras. Include snacks, water or juice to take with medications.

■Carry all medications in original bottles, with the name of the drug and your doctor’s name on the label.

■Write down all your prescriptions and medication regimen including your physician’s name and contact information. Download a printable medication form and other essential Parkinson’s information at Parkinson.org/AwareInCare.

■Continue to take your medications as prescribed if changing time zones, with the same intervals between doses.

Pack wisely

■Make an essential checklist in advance.

■Gather passports, tickets, money and special items.

■Pack Parkinson’s-friendly clothing and accessories, such as wrinkle-free items with elastic waistbands, pull-overs or button-free closures to simplify dressing.

■Add a name label to needed assistive equipment, such as a walker, cane or walking stick, before packing.

COVID-19 precautions

■Check your travel carrier and destination’s COVID-19 vaccination and testing requirements ahead of time.

■Wash your hands often, have hand sanitizer and masks easily accessible.

■Be flexible as travel policies may change during your trip.

Foreign travel

Check your medical insurance policy to be sure that you are adequately covered wherever you are going. Be aware of services provided (or not provided) in other countries.

Transportation

Does your mode of transportation offer the accessibility you need? When possible, request special assistance and notify the carrier ahead of time of your PD diagnosis and any mobility issues. Arrive early and take advantage of early boarding privileges.

Air travel

■Airline carriers must provide meet-and-assist service (like help getting to the gate or aircraft) at drop-off points.

■The limit of one carry-on bag and one personal bag (purse, briefcase or backpack) per traveler does not apply to medical supplies or assistive devices.

■Assistive devices such as canes and wheelchairs are permitted on board.

■People who require a wheelchair or scooter must have a physician’s written “certificate of need.”

■People in wheelchairs can request private checkpoint screenings.

Rail travel

■Amtrak trains can accommodate most wheelchairs. Amtrak may randomly check wheelchairs.

■Passengers can travel with a service animal.

Bus travel

Call ahead to speak with personnel about available services. Some bus companies offer:

■Buses equipped with wheelchair lifts.

■Assistance with boarding, de-boarding, luggage, transfers, stowing and retrieving mobility equipment.

■Space for service animals, oxygen and respirators.

Cruise travel

■Many offer scooters for rent and “accessible” or “modified” staterooms.

■Determine in advance whether any ports of call require a license for a motorized wheelchair.

■If the cruise does not offer a wheelchair-accessible excursion, contact a travel agent ahead of time to book one.

Hotels

Most hotels offer special accommodations at no extra charge, such as shower seats. If you use a wheelchair or other mobility aid, confirm that your hotel room is wheelchair accessible and request a room near the elevator.

General reminders

■Plan to see fewer sites and enjoy them more.

■Give yourself extra time for everything.

■Where possible, book tickets online to avoid entrance lines.

■Now that you have done the work, relax and enjoy your trip!

For more tips and information to living with Parkinson’s, visit Parkinson.org or call the Parkinson’s Foundation Helpline at 1-800-4PD-INFO (1-800-473-4636).




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