Travelling with a medical condition or disability can still be safe and fun if you plan ahead. Here are some of things to think about:
- Choose your destination wisely and research the country you are visiting. Think about things like accessibility, transportation, dietary needs, and past or current medications.
- Contact the association for your condition or one that is like yours and ask if they can connect you with someone who has travel experience. Sometimes the best information comes from people who can share their experience.
- Always have medical coverage and/or travel insurance. To learn more, go to Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan and Government of Canada travelling abroad website.
- Follow the advice on MyHealth Alberta when travelling outside of Alberta or Canada.
- Contact AHS Travel Health Services for recommended vaccinations. Check with your healthcare provider about which vaccinations are right for you.
- The Government of Canada offers resources for travelling outside of Canada:
- Organizations like Diabetes Canada or Madison House Autism Foundation have tips about travelling with a specific condition or disability.
- Check out the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority's website. You can also contact your airline about your health needs before you go. For example, some medical equipment (like oxygen tanks) needs special permits that may take time to get.
- Airlines can provide a wheelchair in the airport and help with boarding the plane if you let them know ahead of time. You may have to use their wheelchair to board the plane and check yours at the gate.
- For tips on booking wheelchair accessible hotels, go to simple tips for booking the best wheelchair accessible hotels.
- Ask your doctor for a letter to help you get through customs or security when travelling with specialized medical devices, supplies, or medicine.
- Give yourself more time for check-in and going through security.
- Wear a medical alert bracelet and know the location of the nearest hospital and healthcare facility.
- For rare or complex conditions, ask your doctor or nurse practitioner for a letter outlining your health needs and an emergency care plan.
- Ask your pharmacy for a list of the medicine you take and keep it in your wallet.
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist if time zone changes will affect your medication schedule.
- Remember to adjust your watch or device to the correct time zone and set reminders to take your medicine or follow your treatment plans on schedule.
- Keep all medicine in the original bottle or package.
- If your medicine needs to be refrigerated, make sure you have access to a fridge during your travels. You can look into buying a 24-hour travel cooler if needed.
- Research food and water options. Check to see if you need a power and/or plug adapter for the area you are going.
- Think about booking a bulkhead seat. Let the airline and the flight attendants know about any health-related needs or concerns.
- Make a list of emergency and healthcare provider contacts, as well as insurance information.
- Check out Smarter Travel for more travel tips. Note that we do not endorse any businesses that advertise on this site.
- Pack all medicine and equipment in your carry-on luggage.
- Pack your back-up medicine in your checked baggage.
- Bring a sharps container if you normally use one.
- Take more medicine and equipment than you need. Other provinces or countries do not accept prescriptions from Alberta.
- Have a backup plan in case your equipment is damaged.
- Take any special food you need with you. There is no guarantee the place you are going will have it.
- Take an emergency kit with supplies to treat your health condition or disability if you become sick.
- Buy lightweight, rolling luggage.
Have fun and enjoy your trip.