Many of us travel over the Christmas/New Year season. For people living with Parkinson’s the prospect of travelling can be daunting enough to stop them from catching up with family and friends and enjoying a holiday.
Planning is the key to travelling well – whether you’ll be travelling for a day, weekend, or a couple of weeks. Planning means people living with Parkinson’s can relax and enjoy their time away during the festive season.
Before leaving for your trip:
- Ask your neurologist or Parkinson’s NSW to find you the name of a doctor and other medical resources in the area where you’ll be travelling.
- Take your Parkinson’s Passport with you whenever you travel. This is available from the Parkinson’s NSW HealthLine (1800 644 189) or web site (https://www.parkinsonsnsw.org.au/parkinsons-passport/)
- Also call Parkinson’s NSW HealthLine to find out if there are local Parkinson’s resources – such as exercise classes and Support Groups – in the area you’re visiting.
- Plan a rest day before your trip and for the day after you arrive.
- Carry all medications in the original bottles, with the name of the drug and your doctor’s name on the label.
- Bring a copy of your prescriptions (generic and non-generic names) and medication schedule, including your doctor’s name and contact information. A printed copy of your medication schedulecan also help.
- Keep all your medications, with you in your carry-on bag (if flying) for the entire trip. Also include snacks, water, or juice to take with your medications. Pack extra in case you are delayed, or your supply is lost.
- Continue to take your medications as prescribed with the same intervals between doses, even if changing time zones. Use your phone or consider wearing two watches: current time and time at home to help track your medication schedule.
- Write an essential checklist before packing and mark off as you pack these necessities.
- Gather passports, tickets, money, and special items.
- Put complete outfits together including socks, underwear, and shoes suitable for the length of your time away. Pack Parkinson’s-friendly clothing and accessories, such as wrinkle-free items with elastic waistbands, jumpers, or button-free tops to simplify dressing.
- Pack toiletries in a compartmented bag that can hang on the back of a door for easy access.
- Label any assistive equipment, such as a walker, cane or walking stick, with your name and contact number before travelling.
- Check with your travel agent, airline or Smart Traveller regarding your destination’s vaccination and testing requirements ahead of leaving.
- Wash your hands often, have hand sanitizer and masks easily accessible.
- Be flexible with your plans. There are many variables that may require a change of plans whilst travelling.
- If you are travelling outside Australia, check your travel insurance policy to ensure you’re adequately covered wherever you are going. Be aware of services provided (or not provided) in other countries.
- Check that each mode of transport that you’ll be using on your trip offers accessibility (if required) and leave extra time to board.
- Request assistance at the time of making any bookings and let the provider know about your Parkinson’s diagnosis and any mobility issues.
- Organise wheelchair or electric cart service within all terminals or stations and find out how your bags will be handled.
- Arrive and check-in early. Take advantage of early boarding privileges and special requirements to get to your seat.
- Ask for an aisle seat, as close as possible to the bathroom.
- Call ahead to ensure you have an accessible room and confirm that your hotel room is wheelchair accessible if required and request a room near the elevator. Most hotels are accessible and can offer special accommodations such as shower seats. However, some older or smaller forms of accommodations may not be accessible.
- Download our handy travel guide and keep with you.
When you’re away:
- Plan to see and do less activities to enjoy them more.
- Give yourself extra time for everything to reduce your stress.
Now that you have done the necessary planning, sit back, relax, and enjoy your time away from home!