The symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis can create challenges when travelling. Discover tips and things to consider when choosing your next holiday.

Being diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis does not mean that you have to stop travelling and loving life. It’s important to carry on doing the things you enjoy doing, like taking vacations or visiting friends and family.

The symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis can create challenges when travelling. When planning and taking longer trips, it’s important to plan with your healthcare team. Whether you are travelling by car, bus, boat, train or plane, it is still important to make arrangements that consider your condition.

As a Canadian citizen, you have health coverage for travel anywhere in Canada.

Having a clear understanding of your destination, transport options and any special requirements is important to make sure you have a healthy and happy experience.

Things to consider when choosing your destination

Sometimes places that you might want to travel to can be more difficult to visit if you have pulmonary fibrosis. There are factors that can make certain destinations more challenging.

You should discuss your options with your healthcare team, the travel provider (e.g., travel agent or airline), and insurance companies to make travel plans that work for you.

Below are some examples of things to consider before deciding where to travel to:

  • The altitude. At high altitudes, there is less oxygen in the air. This makes it much harder to breathe. Therefore, you may need to have additional oxygen or adjustments to your current oxygen treatment when travelling to high altitudes.
  • If you use supplemental oxygen, plan your travel in advance
  • Work with your healthcare team to test your breathing ability
  • Check with your doctor to make sure it is safe for you to travel
  • Decide how you will be most comfortable travelling: by car, bus, train, plane, or ship
  • Ask your doctor for a letter stating the medications you are on and take your original prescription bottles with you
  • Always carry a list of the medications you are taking in case of an emergency

Quick Tip

Before planning a trip, always speak with your healthcare team to discuss your destination and assess any special arrangements you may need.

General tips to consider before planning a vacation:

Going on a trip or holiday can be a great way to spend quality time with family and friends. However, it is important that you do what you can to prevent any incidents that could affect your health.

  • Plan in advance. If you leave things to the last minute, you could forget something important. Think about how far you can walk, how many stairs you can manage, how accessible the toilets will be and what transport you can use. Always check to see if your destination can accommodate people who are less mobile.
  • Think about your medications. Many patients with pulmonary fibrosis have a variety of different medications they take to support their health and well-being. If you are going to another country and your medicine contains a controlled substance, you may need to prove that the medication has been prescribed to you.
  • Make sure you have enough medication supply. When you are travelling, make sure you have enough doses of your medication to last you for the whole trip.
  • Insurance. Ensure you have travel insurance if you are leaving the country, as medical costs can be extremely expensive.
  • Speak to your doctor. Before you go, you should always speak to your healthcare team. They will determine if you need supplemental oxygen or adjustments to your oxygen therapy if you already have a prescription. They may also discuss the destination and any special requirements.
  • Ask questions. Travel agencies, airlines and other travel providers often have specialist teams to help people who are less mobile or have health conditions. Ask plenty of questions about your trip so that they can answer any issues or concerns you may have.

Quick Tip

When travelling to certain destinations (and especially when flying), people with pulmonary fibrosis may need to have supplemental oxygen therapy even if they don’t need it every day. Talk to your insurance provider to see if you are eligible for supplemental oxygen coverage.


Download a checklist for your travel

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Mental Well-Being:

Maintaining your mental well-being can go a long way to helping you prepare for the challenges of living with pulmonary fibrosis. Find out more here.