Diann Shaddox Foundation for Essential Tremor
When You Travel with Essential Tremor
See your doctor before traveling.
There are a number of very basic things you need to do to help your ET, and those things don’t change if you’re traveling. Seeing your doctor 3-6 weeks before traveling. This will give you enough time to adjust medications before traveling.
Get a doctor’s letter and prescription.
Get a prescription and letter (on your doctor’s letterhead) from your doctor to carry with you. The letter should outline that you have Essential Tremor and may need assistance. You also may need to carry certain medications and supplies with you. The prescription is important because you never know when you may become separated from your medications. Consider using a national pharmacy that is able to transfer your local prescription to wherever you are traveling.
If you’re flying, it’s best to have all of your medication and supplies as they came from the pharmacy (with their labels on), as recommended by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). In addition to packing your medications, you’ll want keep them with you at your seat. Take along a certificate from the DBS manufacturer if you had the surgery and applying for TSA pre-screening so you don't have to take off your jacket and shoes.
Consider emergency identification.
Many people with ET carry an ID bracelet, an “in case of emergency” contact (ICE) for their smartphone, or a portable electronic record. An ID bracelet needs to identify that you have Essential Tremor so that someone helping you in an emergency can understand what’s happening and why you are tremoring, even if you’re unable to communicate with the responder. The ICE contact should be someone who knows something about your health situation. Finally, consider a portable health record that gives a provider important aspects of your care history.
Tell the airport, train station, etc. that you have Essential Tremor or are traveling with someone with Essential Tremor.
Even if you don't normally use a cane, walker, or wheelchair, consider bringing or using one if it's convenient. Tell the airline that you need early boarding and help. Take stretch breaks and exercise breaks when you can.
Pack thoughtfully. Extra planning can help make the trip run smoothly.
When packing for travel pack your supplies in a carry-on, so they’re always available. Plan for time zone changes, since this can make your tremors worse. Keep your medicine in a separate bag so it’s easy to pull out if necessary. Have your information, important documents in pockets or small bag that is easily accessible. Don’t over due on your trip/vacation. That will make your tremors worse. Get plenty of rest, drink water, and don’t skip meals.
Last, enjoy your travels and don’t worry what others think.