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How To Make Traveling With Oxygen Easy

person at airport holding coffee and luggage

Oxygen therapy allows patients to maintain their independence with the ability to to be treated in their homes and stick with their normal daily routine. Those who only use supplemental oxygen while sleeping may have it a little easier, than those who use it all the time, but your activities don’t have to be limited due to oxygen therapy. You can still participate in social activities, drive around town, and even travel with oxygen!

Traveling With Oxygen


Oxygen therapy at home doesn’t mean you have to stay home. While traditional oxygen tanks may be heavy, bulky, and difficult to transport without assistance, the portable oxygen concentrator (POC) provides supplemental oxygen without the hassle of maneuvering a large tank.

Portable oxygen concentrators (POCs) have smaller, portable tanks that can be carried in a discreet shoulder bag. They also issue a “pulse dose” or a regulated puff of air that is triggered when you inhale. This conserves oxygen because it doesn’t flow unless you’re breathing in order to help the tank last much longer.

POCs operate with a rechargeable battery that can be charged with an AC/DC power source, making them easy to charge from any location. Plus, they pull in air from the space around you and converts it into saturated oxygen, eliminating the need to worry about tank refills.

RV/Car Travel with Oxygen


Driving is the easiest way to travel with your oxygen supplies. But there are a few things to remember for your trip:

  1. Find oxygen supplies along your route and take down their information so you’ll instantly know who to contact in the event of an emergency.
  2. With a POC, keep the AC and DC charger cables with you. An extra battery can also be useful to have. Make sure your batteries are fully charged before leaving.
  3. Store oxygen tanks or liquid oxygen properly in the back seat or floor by placing them upright, securing them, checking for leaks before leaving, and packing extra tanks. Make sure the tanks are in their carrying cases and kept out of direct sunlight or other sources of heat.
  4. Never store your oxygen tanks in the trunk of your car where they could explode in the event of a rear-end collision.
  5. Have emergency inhalers and medications nearby in case of an emergency.
  6. Keep a window cracked to have a source of fresh air cycling through your vehicle to prevent oxygen from building up in the car.
  7. When traveling at higher altitudes contact your doctor to see if you need to increase your supplemental oxygen.
  8. Avoid flames. Don’t smoke near your oxygen tanks, or allow others too. Avoid campfires and other sources of open flames.


Oxygen on Buses and Trains

  1. Obtain a physician’s clearance to travel. Also, carry your prescription to provide proper documentation.
  2. Call your bus or train line about of time to learn their policies about traveling with oxygen and what additional documentation ahead of time. Many require you to notify them about carrying oxygen at least 24 hours in advance.
  3. Try to book a seat near accessible power outlets.
  4. Be sure to see how many oxygen tanks you can carry and plan ahead for delays and power outages. Different companies have varying policies with the size and weight of the tanks allowed on board.


Cruise Ships and Oxygen

  1. Obtain a physician’s clearance to travel. Also, carry your prescription to provide proper documentation about your condition.
  2. Contact the cruise liner three weeks in advance to let them know you’ll be traveling with oxygen and to learn their policies.
  3. Make sure you bring enough batteries or tanks to last the entire trip and bring extra equipment in the event of a delay. Know where your chargers medications, and inhaler are stored.
  4. Do not place your oxygen equipment on checked baggage. It could become lost or damaged and is often not allowed.
  5. Arrive early in case your equipment needs to be inspected prior to boarding.
  6. Make sure your batteries are fully charges before getting off the boat to enjoy shore destinations.


Flying with Oxygen Therapy

  1. Invest in a Portable Oxygen Concentrator as oxygen tanks and liquid oxygen aren’t allowed on planes. Make sure your POC is FAA approved.
  2. Obtain a physician’s clearance to travel. Also, carry your prescription to provide proper documentation about your condition.
  3. Contact your airline in advance to tell them you’ll be traveling with oxygen and to learn their individual policies. Shop around and consider different policies. Some airlines may provide supplemental oxygen and some may require you to book a second seat for your equipment.
  4. Try to obtain a seat with access to a power outlet in case your batteries need to be charged.
  5. Fully charge your batteries before leaving and carry a backup.
  6. Keep emergency medications and your inhaler on your carry on in the event of an emergency on the plane.
  7. Contact your doctor to see if you’ll need to increase your supplemental oxygen as your plane reaches higher altitudes.
  8. Give yourself extra time to go through security in case your equipment needs to be inspected and have enough power to withstand any potential delays.


3 Steps to Effortlessly Get Through TSA with Oxygen

  1. Call the Airline. This can never hurt. If you call your airline, you can inform them that you will be traveling with Oxygen, CPAP, BiPAP, or Autopap therapy. This way they will be able to help you make special arrangements if needed.
  2. Direct Flights. When flying directly, you only have to worry about one flight, storing your bags once, dealing with one flight crew and boarding and exiting the plane with all of your equipment one time. Though this isn’t always the cheapest method of travel, it should be considered for sake of ease when traveling with medical equipment.
  3. Keep Your Unit Charged. Since you never know when you may need it, keeping your unit charged for the flight is always a good idea. A standard rule to follow is multiply how many hours your flight will take by 1.5. That is a good gage for the number of hours you should be charged.


Investing in a Portable Oxygen Concentrator

If you know that you want occasional travel to be a part of your lifestyle, then the Portable Oxygen Concentrator may be the next best upgrade for you. Choosing a portable concentrator can have a lot of great benefits for those of us who like to stay active and adventure often. With its lightweight and compact design, this type of concentrator can be a life changer when it comes to your independence!

A few things to consider when choosing a concentrator:

•    Deciding when, where, and how you want to travel.
•    Speaking with your physician about your plans to ensure that you are healthy enough to travel.
•    Obtaining a copy of your oxygen prescription to keep with you during your trip.

Best Portable Oxygen Concentrators

For brands of portable oxygen concentrators that provide a continuous flow, consider the following choices:

  • Oxlife
  • Devilbliss IGO
  • Sequal Eclipse
  • Invacare SOLO2

Brands that provide both continuous flow and pulse oxygen:

  • Respironics SimpleGo

Smaller and lighter POC brands include:

  • Lifechoice
  • Drive Oxus Reliability
  • Precision EasyPulse
  • Inogen One G2

Information provided on the Aeroflow Health blog is not intended as a substitute to medical advice or care. Aeroflow Health recommends consulting a doctor if you are experiencing medical issues or concerns.


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