Travel? Yes, Please! Here Are Some Tips to Make It Better.

Columnist Samantha Felder doesn't let Parkinson's stop her from taking trips

Samantha Felder avatar

by Samantha Felder |

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Sorry to burst your bubble, but the world doesn’t stop when you get Parkinson’s disease. Life keeps going, and you simply have to try to keep up. Even though you have this disease, it shouldn’t stop you from living your life. For me, this meant not giving up traveling once I was diagnosed.

The other day I posted on “Life With Parkinson’s,” a Facebook support group for people with Parkinson’s and their families. I asked those in the group if they had any travel trips for me, and following are a few of them.

Tanya Garza, a caregiver to her husband, said, “We booked direct nonstop flights if available. Always let the airlines know you will need assistance ahead of time. This ensures you will board before others so you can feel relaxed and not rushed.”

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Michael Wolfe, a patient from West Virginia, replied, “If you have lots of trouble with fatigue, schedule recovery days into your itinerary.”

Carol Botelho, a family member of a Parkinson’s patient, advises that “when booking flights to ask for assistance and a wheelchair.” She said that “it’s also a good idea to rent a wheelchair when you are out sightseeing as well.”

I definitely concur. In the past few years, my husband and I have taken up cruising, which meant I’d need to find ways to enjoy the cruise and all the various activities. When I first started traveling with Parkinson’s, my physician and I discussed ways to help me enjoy my trips more. One thing she suggested was using a wheelchair at airports.

While I’m perfectly able to walk, doing so down the long airport corridors would take all my energy. I know that most airlines these days offer preboarding for people with disabilities. They also supply wheelchairs for those who request one.

For Christmas last year, my husband got me a wheelchair, which I use on trips that involve a lot of walking. This helps ensure that I have a good time and don’t hold the rest of the group back.

When traveling, it’s also important to take your medications at the same times that you would on a typical day to keep your body regulated as much as possible. And make sure you bring extra doses with you. It’s also recommended that you keep the pills in the bottles or have the prescription with you, especially if you’re going overseas and going through customs.

You never know if your travel plans are going to change due to circumstances beyond your control. These situations include flight cancellations and difficult weather conditions, such as a hurricane or blizzard. Be ready for disruptions.

Good advice, all. I hope the next time you’re presented with the opportunity to travel that you feel prepared enough to go. The world is your oyster! Take the opportunity to explore it head on and #EmbracetheShake.

Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.


Mike avatar


Great article! This summer my wife and I travelled to Alaska for our Granddaughter’s wedding. We had a great time visiting family and old friends. When traveling I recommend requesting a wheel chair at each transfer point, which I did. We always took early boarding. I was very stiff after the flight. But would not have missed the event for the world. I agree Samantha we can’t give up due to our condition. Blessings, Mike

Judy Hau Whittington avatar

Judy Hau Whittington

Ask for wheel chair service!
This past year I stopped driving after having my second accident in less than 2 years directly related to Pakinson's.. So, when I was invited to a "seventy-something" birthday celebration for one of my dearest friends in NYC, , I knew I had a problem, as I am currently residing in Maine! But I decided that I was going to go. I told my husband about my desire to attend and he told me to "go for it, just be careful and don't fall!"

I booked a flight to JFK from Bangor. As it turns out the birthday girl was going to pick me up at the airporT. She has a disabled husband and whenever they traveled together, he would request wheel chair service. She advised me to request a wheel chair at my departure in Bangor and my arrival at JFK. I RELUCTANTLY did so ( didn't want be a bother to anyone) and I was so glad that I did. It took all of the worry about all of the walking I would have to do and finding and getting to the gate on time, as well as it made going thru security a. breeze!!

I will definetely travel more, alone as well as with my husband, now that I know about this wnderfulservice that I can use in airports. BEST thing I've done for myself in a long time!!!

Nancy Zucker avatar

Nancy Zucker

This was very good information for our future travels. This year we will be traveling to our destinations by car, staying in motels/hotels, and would like any recommendations anyone has to make this easier. Thanks so very much!

Donna Wojdula avatar

Donna Wojdula

I second the suggestion of reserving wheelchair use at airports. My husband has PD and has balance issues. After two bad falls at home he is fearful of any travel. We do go to Florida for the winter and it’s difficult to find non stop fares. Since it’s the only travel we do, we have opted to spend our travel money on reserving first class tickets. It costs more but he is much safer getting from the wheel chair to the seat in the front of the plane. We have met some wonderful wheel chair attendants and tip them well for the great work they do!


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