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Travel Planning with Seizures

A senior couple reads a map

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Many people like to travel and take trips.

  • People travel on vacations.
  • People travel for work.
  • Travel can be fun, but it also means changing what you do every day.

If you have seizures, it’s important to plan ahead so that you can travel safely.

What is a seizure?

  • A seizure is a sudden rush of electricity in the brain that affects how a person acts or feels.
  • Seizures can be dangerous if someone passes out and:
    • Falls down or hits something; or
    • Does not get the right kind of help.
  • Learn more about seizures on the DDS SafetyNet.

Seizures can be especially dangerous when traveling.

  • When people travel, they are often:
    • In small spaces like a plane or bus
    • All alone
    • In a place where they may not know how to find doctors, hospitals, or pharmacies if needed

Travel can also lead to things that cause seizures:

  • Things that cause seizures are called “seizure triggers.”
  • When people travel, they face seizure triggers like:
    • Feeling worried or stressed
    • Eating different foods
    • Unfamiliar lights and noises

By planning ahead, you can stay away from things that trigger seizures.

  • Here are a few ways to stay away from seizure triggers while traveling:
    • Get lots of sleep before the trip
    • Plan rest periods each day
    • Bring sunglasses and ear plugs
    • Do not drink alcohol and caffeine (like coffee or soda)

Talk to your doctor before planning your trip.

  • Let your doctor know:
    • Where you are traveling and where you plan to stay
    • Whether you are traveling alone
    • How long you will be away
    • What activities you are planning to do

Also talk to your doctor about taking your medication.

  • While traveling, it is easy to forget to take your medication because:
    • You are in a new place
    • Your daily routine may change
    • You may be in a different time zone
  • Ask your doctor when to take your medication while traveling.
  • It may be a good idea to make a schedule ahead of time.

More on medication...

  • Things can happen when you travel.
    • Your luggage may get lost
    • You may experience travel delays
  • Be sure to bring extra medication.
  • Carry your medication with you.

Tips for Traveling Alone

  • Try to travel with someone who knows how to treat your seizures.
  • If you have to travel alone:
    • Bring reminders to take your medication at the right times
    • Wear a medical ID bracelet
    • Tell people (airline staff, hotel staff, and fellow travelers) about your seizures and what to do if they happen

Traveling by Car

  • Each state has different rules about people who drive and have seizures.
  • If you have a driver’s license, make sure it is okay to use it where you plan to travel.
  • If you are driving:
    • Take breaks so you don’t get too tired
    • Limit the number of hours you drive each day

Traveling by Plane

  • Airplanes have very little space and not much medical help.
  • Ask your doctor if it’s safe for you to travel by plane.
  • Before flying, ask for a seat at the front or on the aisle for extra space.
  • Tell the flight staff about your seizures before traveling.

Be prepared for airport security.

  • People with disabilities can bring medication and equipment on planes.
  • Things you need to know:
    • It may take extra time to get through security
    • If you don’t want to go through a metal detector you can ask for people to look through your things

Traveling by Bus or Train

  • If you have long or uncontrolled seizures, it may be easier to travel by bus or train.
  • Tell bus drivers and train conductors about your seizures before you leave.

Check out these resources for more tips on traveling with seizures:

  • Air Travel Guidelines-
    Making Travel Safer – Epilepsy Foundation
Last updated on Thu, 06/10/2010 - 11:20