The first in our two-part series on Traveling with YOPD.
We all know that packing for a trip can be a pain, and despite the checklists, we always manage to forget something. It’s no big deal if that something is a toothbrush, but when you arrive at your destination to find that you left your medication at home…that can put a damper on your trip very quickly.
Making sure that your medications are well organized and accessible during travel can be especially more challenging for people living with Young Onset Parkinson’s and other chronic issues. Here are some packing and prepping tips to keep you covered so you can spend time enjoying your vacation rather than worrying about your meds.
1. Bring more than you need. It’s always better to have it and not need it, instead of needing it and not having it.
2. Pack your meds in multiple bags. We recommend you carry some in your carry-on and some in your checked bag, just in case you run into any issues retrieving your luggage. It’s also a good idea to pack some in your care partner’s carry-on and/or checked bag if you’re traveling together.
3. Make sure everything is labeled properly. Authorities can confiscate pills and other medications if you can’t prove what they are. It’s always a good idea to carry your prescriptions in their labeled Rx bottles. It also doesn’t hurt to bring a list of your prescriptions, so you can keep track.
4. Set reminders or alarms on your phone for when it’s time to take your medication. It’s easy to forget when you’re having fun outside of your regular daily routine.
5. Keep time zones in mind. If you’re traveling to a different time zone or out of the country, make sure the reminders or alarms you set are consistent with what your body needs. Double check with your doctor to make sure you keep on the right schedule.
6. Account for extra doses. We often pack a lot more activities into our days when we’re on vacation, and end up staying awake later than normal. Make sure to account for this and be prepared to take any extra doses, if needed.
7. Check in with your doctor before traveling. While you’re allowed to travel with liquid medications greater than 3 ounces, you’ll need to provide documentation from your doctor in order to pass through airport security with them. This applies to substances like the gel form carbidopa/levodopa for the US-approved Dopa pump. Be sure to pack these in your carry-on, and not in your checked luggage.