Travel Tips: Travelling with Parkinson's Disease

For sufferers of Parkinson's Disease, travelling and going abroad, whether on holiday or on business, needs careful planning to take into account the unpredictable nature of the condition.

Having Parkinson's Disease should not prevent anyone from travelling abroad. Travelling with a companion is recommended, but not strictly necessary.

If you use a wheelchair or other mobility aids you should contact your airline in advance to ensure needs are known and arrangements are in place to assist you with boarding the plane, especially if you are travelling alone. With long walks to departure gates, and the necessary security and baggage checks, booking wheelchair assistance at the airport is advised, with priority boarding onto aircraft and passage through immigration. Always ask for an aisle seat on the aircraft, and one close to toilets.

Travelling by sea, whether by ferry or as a cruise passenger, should not present too many problems for a Parkinson's Disease sufferer. Lift access from car decks and between decks should be available, but check with the shipping line beforehand, and notify them of your condition and any mobility problems to ensure a suitable cabin is provided.

Learning to say "I have Parkinson's Disease" in the language of your intended destination is advisable, especially if you are travelling alone.

Carrying a flexicard from the European Parkinson's Disease Society with “I have Parkinson's Disease. Please allow me time. In case of emergency, contact…” written in eight European languages, together with a letter from your GP detailing your medication and condition, is also advisable.

Medication should be kept in its original packaging and carried in your hand luggage, not placed into the hold of the aircraft in case your bag goes to another destination. Always take sufficient medication for the trip, and preferably enough for two trips to cover a prolonged stay if necessary. If you are prescribed controlled drugs for other conditions, or use syringes, notify the airline in advance. Most airlines will accept restricted medical items, but may ask that these are given to a flight attendant for storage until arrival at your destination airport.

Travel insurance and Parkinson's Disease

A diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease shouldn't stop you travelling, and it shouldn't stop you getting affordable travel insurance. specialise in covering all types of medical conditions, including Parkinson's.

When you get a quotation, whether online or by phone, you will be asked to declare any existing medical conditions, at this point you should declare Parkinson's disease and any other medical conditions for which you have received treatment, taken medication or seen a medical professional about in the last 2 years.

In the vast majority of cases travel insurance cover can be issued immediately giving you the reassurance that you are fully covered when you go abroad.

Find out more about travel insurance and medical conditions »