Where can I travel with Asthma?
Think about how long it’ll take you to reach a destination. During a long flight, you’re more likely to experience asthmatic symptoms. This is because, within an airplane, oxygen doesn’t enter your body as it usually does. The amount of oxygen we receive decreases when air pressure lowers, as altitude increases, when we head for the clouds. As a result, everyone has a drop in the amount of oxygen that reaches their bloodstream.
To make a plane journey more comfortable visit your doctor to see if you’ll require supplemental oxygen. Plus, check the airline’s allergy policy before making a final decision. This will ensure you’ll have a safe journey. On the other hand, you could consider a train or river cruise holiday across Europe.
When you’ve chosen a country and how to venture there, look at its climate and weather. Aim to pick a location where your asthma won’t get triggered. If you know whether your triggers are hot and humid weather or cold, dry and windy weather, you should be able to pinpoint a destination, which has the most suitable climate. However, carry your reliever inhaler just in case.
When picking the best location, if low air quality and high pollution trigger your asthma, avoid large, industrial cities. In contrast, if a countryside setting with a high pollen count isn’t helpful, head to a cheerful coastline for some swimming. Swimming is a recommended exercise for people living with asthma. So, if you’re organising a break for someone with asthma, including this activity is less likely to trigger their symptoms.
Overall, make sure you’re up-to-date with what your asthma triggers are before travelling. Go through our asthma travel checklist first…
Free Spirit’s checklist – 12 things to do before travelling with asthma
- When booking a trip, request a hotel that is non-smoking, pet, and mould-free.
- Take a GHIC Card for reduced healthcare if you need medical assistance when visiting an EU country or Switzerland.
- Visit a healthcare specialist to create or review your personal asthma action plan. Then take a copy away with you. It’ll remind you what to do if you have symptoms.
- Ensure you’ve enough medication if away for a few months by giving yourself enough time to get more than your prescription.
- Visit your doctor to see if you require oxygen at higher altitudes by doing a fit-to-fly test with your GP.
- If you do require in-flight oxygen during your flight, check your airline’s rules about supplying oxygen during a flight before you book.
- Ask for oral steroids from your GP when travelling to a remote location. These will be invaluable if you’re unwell. Always carry the instructions for assistance.
- If you need a vaccination, ensure that it won’t affect your medication. Leave good time to organise these too.
- Ask your doctor for a letter, which states how severe your asthma is. Plus, a copy of your prescription. You’ll need these to ensure your medications can be taken on a plane.
- Learning a few key phrases of the local language is a good idea, for when you’re exploring. Useful ones include ‘asthma attack’, ‘inhaler’, and ‘where is the hospital?’
- If you’ve got severe asthma contact your air or train line 48 hours before departure. You’ll need to inform them of any mobility requirements you need for travelling. These can include help arriving at the gate on time, carrying luggage, or asking to pre-board. Also, ask your GP if the air pressure or allergens within the cabin may trigger your asthma.
- If you’re travelling with people, tell them you have asthma. Also, give them a copy of your asthma action plan, so they can help if you come into difficulty. Pack your action plan within your asthma travel kit…
Packing an asthma travel kit
Creating an asthma travel kit ensures all your medicines and instructions are together. Plus, they’ll be easy for you and your travelling companions to grab when you need them.
What should an asthma travel kit include?
- Your quick-relief and controller medicine.
- Delivery devices, such as a nebulizer or spacer.
- Copies of your asthma action plan for your travel companions or guide.
- Extra prescriptions, if your medicines get lost/damaged.
- Your travel insurance policy and emergency contact information.
- Any allergy medicines, such as a Ventolin asthma inhaler.
- If you’re exploring a new destination with contrasting climates buy or take a peak flow meter to check your oxygen levels are correct throughout.
Now you’ve orgainised the above, packed and ready to go here are our top tips to follow while travelling with asthma…
10 Tips to follow while travelling with asthma
- Have a list of emergency contact numbers saved on your phone. Free Spirit’s emergency contact number is: +44 (0) 208 159 1702.
- Download a translation travel app. It can help you find the key foreign phrases you’ll need, such as ‘where is the nearest hospital?’
- Always carry your inhalers and medication in your hand luggage, within a cool bag. Doing so will avoid them getting lost.
- Keep all medication and asthma devices in their original packaging to show at border control.
- Take an antihistamine tablet before boarding a plane or train to combat any allergies you may come into contact with.
- Chew a soft sweet or chewing gum while on the plane. It should keep your throat lubricated and stop you from coughing.
- Carry a small scarf to cover your nose and mouth if the weather turns windy or cold.
- On arrival, ask your hotel reception where the nearest pharmacy is. So you can buy more medicine/s if needed.
- Download a weather app, which includes a daily air quality report. After checking the air quality each morning, you can prepare for your day.
- Always be prepared for an emergency – if your asthma is severe or not – carry your inhalers and asthma devices such as a spacer.
Free Spirit travel insurance for Asthma
We hope we’ve given you the confidence to travel with asthma. It’s certainly safe to do so. However, it’s always wise to travel with an insurance policy. View the benefits of purchasing one from Free Spirit.
We offer travel insurance for asthma sufferers if their asthma is mild to severe for peace of mind. Plus, each level of cover includes Coronavirus Cover. Read our policy in full here for more information and get set to travel soon!