Preparing for Travel Season with Oxygen

The weather is getting nicer, and after staying inside your house all winter, it’s time for you to go on a well-deserved vacation. Whether you’re going out of the country, planning a road trip, or going on a cruise, we want to make sure you are prepared for the travel season with your oxygen concentrator.

As a safety measure, we recommend you test your oxygen concentrator and your batteries at least 2 months before your trip. This gives you enough time to ensure every piece works correctly and if it doesn’t, you can reach out to us and ensure your trip will be worry free and if you don’t have a portable oxygen concentrator, we also have rentals!

Tips for Oxygen Therapy on a Plane

If you are traveling by plane, the Federal Aviation Administration requires a letter from your physician proving that it is safe for you to fly with supplemental oxygen. Some airlines do not allow you to use your oxygen concentrator and require you to use their onboard oxygen, so please call the airline ahead of time to ensure you can use your concentrator or confirm their onboard oxygen can meet your needs.

You must also have at least 150% battery life for the duration of your flight. For example, if your flight is 3 hours long, you will need at least 4 and a half hours of battery life. The easy way to make this calculation is to take the duration of your flight and multiply it by 1.5, and this will give you the amount of battery life you need.

We also have to warn you about onboard AC outlets, most modern aircraft have outlets for cell phones, laptops, and other electronics, but we advise against counting on this as a source of power.

The onboard outlets are not designed to provide the amount of energy that a portable oxygen concentrator requires, so we recommend you pack the correct amount of batteries for the duration of your flight. It is also vital that you don't forget to pack them in your carry-on, not your checked luggage as you will need access to your batteries at all times during the flight.

Once you land, we recommend you charge your concentrator batteries at the airport. Traffic from an airport can get busy, so make sure you have enough battery life to get to your destination from the airport and if you are in a different country that has different outlets, make sure you have the required adapters to charge or use your oxygen concentrator.

Tips for Oxygen Therapy in a Car or RV

Preparing for Road Trip with Oxygen

Remember the good ole days when your family would pack the station wagon and go on a road trip to the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, or even a new city or destination. The good thing is with portable oxygen concentrators you can still travel to national parks or take those trips, and create new memories.

Portable oxygen concentrators can be powered, charged, and used with DC power. All you have to do is connect your portable oxygen concentrator to your car or RV’s cigarette lighter, and it will charge your batteries while you use the machine.

We recommend you run multiple tests at least 1-2 months before your road trip to ensure your car battery, portable oxygen concentrator batteries, and DC power cords can provide the amount of power your portable oxygen concentrator requires. We want to ensure that your car powers the oxygen concentrator is charging the battery and everything works as it should. We’ve heard stories of car batteries draining because a machine, so make sure your car is running correctly and your car’s battery is maintaining enough power for your vehicle and your oxygen unit.

We also recommend that you have more than one battery when traveling in your car or RV. Packing multiple batteries will give you peace of mind and keep you covered for anything that might happen. Lastly, don't forget other portable oxygen accessories such as carts, carry bags and cannulas.

Tips for Oxygen Therapy on a Cruise

Preparing for Cruise with Oxygen

Before you book your cruise, be sure to check the cruise line’s policy on oxygen use on board. You can usually find this information through your travel agent, or by looking online at the cruise line’s website. While some cruise lines have very laid-back policies about oxygen use, others could require a doctor’s statement detailing your diagnosis and approving your ability to travel.

Just like at home, you can plug your portable oxygen unit into any electrical outlet and charge the attached battery so you can use it while exploring the ship, participating in onboard entertainment, or during on-shore excursions. While you are dining, you can also request to be seated near an outlet, that way you can plug in and charge up while you're enjoying your meal. If you internationally cruise, make sure that again you do have that prong adapter that's going to fit with the country that you're in. You don't need a converter because these machines do 110 volts up to 240, but you will need a different prong so that you can plug into the wall.

To make sure your on-shore excursions are suitable, be sure to ask a cruise line a customer service representative the difficulty of any sightseeing you are interested in undertaking. It’s better to speak with an experienced staff person than to rely on printed material that rates excursions according to difficulty. Just because a tour is labeled "easy" doesn’t mean it will be for a person using oxygen. You’ll also want to pay special attention to how long the battery power lasts when choosing a portable oxygen concentrator, and how long it takes to charge. These factors will determine exactly how long an on-shore excursion is suitable for your needs.

The good news is with your portable oxygen concentrator you can absolutely enjoy everything a cruise has to offer, and still get that active, enjoyable lifestyle even though you've got additional oxygen support.

Final Thoughts

We hope you found this information helpful and if you are traveling we would love to see your travel photos and invite you to our Facebook community where you can share your stories, photos, and meet new people who understand life on oxygen. All you have to do is visit our Facebook page and ask to join, its that easy. (smile, wave) see you’ next time.

About Scott Ridl: Scott joined American Medical Sales and Rentals in 2008 as a Web Manager and Content Writer. He is a writer and designer. He is extensively trained on oxygen therapy products from leading manufacturers such as Inogen, Respironics, Chart, Invacare, ResMed and more. Scott works closely with respiratory therapists and oxygen specialists to educate the community about oxygen therapy products, COPD, asthma and lung diseases. He writes weekly columns and is passionate about educating the community on oxygen therapy and respiratory issues.

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