Things to know when travelling with COPD

If you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and love to travel, there is no reason why you can’t explore the world. The key is in the preparation-getting this right is the best way to ensure that you have a pleasant and stress-free trip.

Talk to your GP

The first thing that you need to do before booking your holiday is to arrange an appointment with your GP and see whether or not you are fit enough to travel. Your doctor may ask you to take some tests, such as a high altitude hypoxemia measurement before giving you the all clear to travel.

If you’re planning on flying to your holiday destination, it is essential that you have a discussion with your doctor about whether or not you’ll require additional oxygen on the plane. If you do require an additional oxygen supply when travelling make sure that you tell your trip operator and the airline before you book your holiday. This may require your GP to fill in a medical form stating why you need it.
Finally, discuss any medications you will need to take with you. Remember to take enough to last the entire trip with some extra just in case.


Choosing the destination for your holiday is very exciting; looking at all the amazing places that you could go to, but if you are suffering from COPD, there are a number of factors that you need to take into consideration:

1-Climate – destinations with minimal humidity are better suited to those with lung conditions. Additionally, places which have high altitudes and low oxygen levels can make breathing difficulties worse and for that reason, they are best avoided.
2-Terrain – try to choose a destination that doesn’t cause you problems when getting about; ensuring you are as comfortable as possible when travelling. With this in mind any destinations with a hilly terrain are best to avoid.
3-Makes sure the destination/type of holiday you choose doesn’t require strenuous activity. It would be best to avoid hilly/mountainous terrain – so attempting to mountain climb or ski isn’t the best idea.

The airport

Allow plenty of time to get to the airport so you don’t have to rush. It is also advisable to avoid carrying any heavy luggage and take advantage of the airport luggage trolleys or porter services. If you do require any additional assistance make sure that you call the airport well ahead of time.

Top tips
If you are flying remember to stay hydrated as you don’t want your respiratory tract to dehydrate. Remember to plan in advance and be realistic about what you can physically do and cope with.

Wherever you decide to travel make sure that you have comprehensive specialist COPD travel insurance to give you peace of mind when travelling.