Heart-Healthy Holiday Travel

Published: December 6, 2023

Heart-Healthy Holiday Travel

The holidays are often a time when we get into planes, trains, and automobiles to visit our far-away loved ones. People with heart conditions may wonder if their health will get in the way of holiday travel. The good news is that, with some precautions, people with heart conditions can safely travel during the holidays. 

Talk to your doc. Ask your doctor if you are healthy enough to travel. Tell them where you plan to go and how you plan to get there. A healthcare provider will be able to tell you if your travel plan is safe or can be amended to accommodate your heart condition. She will also be able to help you plan for medication refills and recommend heart specialists or hospitals in or near your destination. 

Mind your medications. Be sure to pack enough medication to cover the time you’ll be travelling. All medications should be properly labeled. Pack a list of all medications and the associated pharmacy information in case you need a refill while travelling. And don’t forget to take into account any time changes or refrigeration needs. Ask your doctor how you should handle taking medications in different time zones.  

Fly safely. Be aware that there may be additional screening precautions for people with pacemakers or implantable cardioverter-defibrillators. Walking through busy airports can be taxing. Don’t be afraid to ask for a wheelchair or courtesy cart to help you navigate through the airport. You may be able to request such accommodations when you book your tickets. While on the plane, reduce the risk of blood clots by wearing compression socks and stand once an hour. And remember that every plane with more than 30 passengers is legally required to have an automated external defibrillator (AED) and someone who can operate it. 

Snack smart. Pack your own heart-healthy snacks so you won’t feel tempted at the gas station or airport kiosk. Prep some cut veggies, low-sodium crackers, and fresh fruit to curb those cravings while on the go.  

Stay active. Get your steps in as much as you can. If you’re driving, go for a short walk when you stop for gas. For plane or air travel, choose an aisle seat  so you can get up and walk.  

Watch what you eat and drink. While vacation can sometimes feel like a time to throw caution to the wind, this does not apply to people with a heart condition. Make healthy choices when you have the opportunity. Choose whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables. Minimize your consumption of alcohol and sugary drinks. If you do drink alcohol, make sure you follow that with plenty of water.  

With the proper precautions, people with heart conditions can enjoy travel during the holidays and all year ‘round. 

 Source: IlluminAge