Travelling with COPD

Travel tips for people living with COPD


Contact your local health authority to request a European Health Insurance card

Contact your insurance provider to enquire as to what cover you may need when travelling

It is useful to have private health insurance particularly if going outside the European Union

Passport / Visa

 You must renew your passport before you can travel abroad if either:

  • your passport has expired
  • you do not have enough time left on it.

Before you travel, check the entry and visa requirements to the country you are travelling to

Oxygen Usage when Travelling abroad

COPD patients might expect to experience more shortness of breath whilst moving around inside a plane

If oxygen is required on a flight contact the airline early, preferably as soon as you make the booking

Most airlines can provide oxygen on most flights however they will require notification and will require a form to be completed

Portable oxygen cylinders can be used on buses, coaches and trains but cannot be used on aircraft

Contact your oxygen supply company about this well in advance of leaving

Contact your oxygen supply company who may be able to suggest suppliers for oxygen delivery in the location abroad you are travelling to.


Ensure you have a full supply of medications and probably a rescue prescription in case you need antibiotics or steroids when away from home

Ensure you bring your nebuliser machine and 2 – 3 days’ supply of medications with you as hand luggage, in case your main luggage gets mislaid

Consult your G.P. or respiratory physician prior to travelling

Remember to pack all medication and supplies in your carry-on luggage

Keep a list of current medications with you at all times


If you use an electric mobility aid such as an electric wheelchair or a scooter, contact the airline, ferry, train or bus operator in advance to inform them

The facilities available at the outgoing and incoming airports may differ, these might include assistance to get you from the airport lounge to the departure gate and on to the plane; the use of wheelchairs, and the availability of oxygen at the airport

Choosing accommodation abroad

Choose accommodation that suits your needs

Before you book, think about practical things you’ll need to make your stay comfortable and enjoyable:

  • stair-free access to your room
  • accessible toilet and shower/bath
  • wide doorways to fit your wheelchair through
  • plenty of power sockets (to plug in your oxygen or CPAP machine, or your nebuliser)
  • Before you book you should always call or email to ask what facilities are included in your room

Useful Tips!

Remember your international plug adapters
Take a photo of your passport, prescriptions and insurance policy details to keep on your phone – so you always have a copy with you!

Carry with you a list of emergency contact numbers, including your GP’s number

Travel Checklist