Person with medical bracelet holding up handicap plane ticket over a sunny beach.

Traveling with CF

Taking a vacation is meant to be about relaxing and enjoying yourself. Traveling when you have an illness like cystic fibrosis can seem scary and challenging, but it is not. You can travel with CF and enjoy your life! I learned some special tips from my experiences, and I hope it helps you as you plan your get away.

Airline accommodations

Many airlines have special accommodations for passengers with disabilities and chronic illnesses. You can call the airline you are traveling from and they can accommodate you!

Some airlines provide free of charge medical bags - meaning the bag you use to pack your medications and medical devices. In my case I take:

  • A nebulizer
  • Medications for the nebulizer as appropriate for how long I will be traveling (I take Duo Nebs, Pulmozyme, Budesonide, any inhaled antibiotic I may be on)
  • My vest
  • Pills I will need for the time I will be gone - enzymes, steroids, vitamins, etc.
  • My supplies for diabetes, portable oxygen, and associated supplies.

That medical bag travels with you in the aircraft and it free as accommodated by the airline. I also bring my walker.

The airline also wheelchairs you from the check-in to the plan, which is helpful in my case because my lungs hurt and I get tired and I am out of breath. It is usually a long distance to walk to the gate, so I deeply appreciate this service!

Tickets

When you are getting your tickets either online, by phone, or in person you can have the ticket under your name have that you are ill. That way, when you do check in, the airline knows you are sick and can accommodate you.

Many times, you can pick your seat if you pay extra, and I often do. This so I am near the aisle and near the front of the plane so I can be taken to and from easier.

Hotel/Motel/Bed and Breakfast

Make sure that you carry a portable travel adapter so you can plug in your nebulizer! If you are traveling abroad, ensure it has a surge protector, so you do not blow out your medical devices.

Another tip that I have found helpful is knowing the area you are going to, including local hospitals, and making sure that the area hospitals are equipped to help you should an emergency arise. I like to travel with my medical ID bracelet. I also have a list of medications I am on in my wallet and my doctor’s information. I also like to have a letter from my doctor that details what they should do with me in case of emergency as well.

Other considerations

Before traveling, make sure you are healthy enough to travel and that it is safe to do so. Some trips can be tiring depending on the trip you are taking. Always have a portable nebulizer if you are hiking or taking a walk to explore because you never know.

Travelers' insurance can also help cover any medical costs should an emergency arise and all the local hospitals are out of your insurance network.

What tips do you have for traveling with cystic fibrosis? Share in the comments below!

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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 Cystic-Fibrosis.com 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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