Travelling with PD

Table of Contents

Travelling with Hidden Disabilities

The Hidden Disabilities Sunflower is available in Ireland. This means that people living with a hidden disability in Ireland will now have easier access to the Sunflower. People with non-visible disabilities will be increasingly supported as more businesses and organisations throughout the region start to recognise the lanyard. With a local representative, reduced postage costs and a dedicated, country specific website, we are better equipped to support both our Sunflower wearers and the organisations that support the initiative in this area.

Irish Ferries and three of Ireland’s airports: Ireland West Knock, Cork and Donegal, are already welcoming Sunflower passengers with colleagues trained to recognise the lanyard. Other locations across the country that have adopted the Sunflower include some of the big multi-nationals: Aldi Ireland, Tesco Ireland, ICTS and B&Q. As well as some smaller businesses and organisations: Core Credit Union, Hammerson Ireland, Whitewater Shopping Centre, Five Good Things Cafe and Dundrum Town Centre. The Sunflower is also already recognised in two educational settings: Atlas Training and Setanta School. A full list of venues where the Sunflower is recognised is available on the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower location map

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Hot Weather Advice

People living with Parkinson’s are more at risk of heat-related illnesses. This risk is higher if we live alone or take some types of medicines.

The signs that we are becoming too hot, or dehydrated (low on fluid), can be hard to spot sometimes. Some medicines might make this worse and the way we sweat can change. This can mean we don’t cool down as quickly or effectively as we did before.  Your GP or pharmacist can provide more advice. 

These Tips Might Help:

  •  Try and stay cool – putting a damp cloth around your neck can help or putting your feet in a bowl of cool water.  Make sure you turn off the heating and turn off any lights or electrical appliances you are not using.
  •  Keep out the heat – increase shade or cover windows exposed to direct sunlight
    • Use natural ventilation such as open windows when the air feels cooler outside than inside (e.g., at night) and where it is safe, secure, and feasible to do so
    • Increase air flow through buildings wherever possible
    • If you are using air conditioning, make sure it is using a fresh air supply, which is important to prevent the spread of Covid-19
    • Electric fans need to be used with caution, as they may not be safe for higher temperatures and should not be used where a person is suffering from an air-borne illness
    • Try to go out earlier in the morning, or later in the evening, when it’s cooler
  •  Drink plenty of water during the whole day – 
    • Bring water with you wherever you go 
    • Take sips even if you don’t feel very thirsty 
    • Drink enough during the day so your pee is a pale clear colour
    • If your doctor has told you not to drink too much water because of a health condition you have, get advice from them about how to stay hydrated during the heat
    • There are dry mouth sprays (one product’s picture below) that people find helpful, ask your doctor / speech and language therapist for more advice.
  • Eat small, cool meals – We often feel less hungry in hotter weather, but it is important to eat. Cool meals like salads and sandwiches can help you keep your energy up, without making your body or your kitchen too hot.
  • Stay connected – Write down the number of two or three relatives or friends. Ask them to check in on you.  Phone calls, texts and even video calls are a very safe way of doing this. You might need help to ensure you have everything you need to stay healthy during a heatwave. If you know a person who lives on their own, try and connect with them to make sure they have everything they need.
  • Shop while the temperatures are dropped – Try and do your shopping and other chores early in the day before the heat is at its strongest.  If you do need to be outdoors, take breaks in a shaded or air-conditioned areas. 
  • Dress for the weather – We are all used to layering our clothes in Ireland!  But during a heatwave, most people find that light-coloured loose clothing is more comfortable as well as helps them stay cool.
  • If you don’t feel well, act fast to get medical help – Remember that hospital emergency departments and your GP are open for business. Never be afraid to get medical help if you need it. Your healthcare team will take every precaution to keep you safe while they look after your health.

When to Get Medical Help

If you feel unwell and especially if you:

  • are confused and disorientated
  • feel very dizzy
  • have not peed all-day
  • feel like your heart is beating fast
  • have fits (seizures)
  • are caring for someone who is drowsy or difficult to wake.

These can be signs of serious dehydration that need urgent treatment. 

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Considerations for Travelling

Having a holiday is fantastic, but sometimes the preparations for the holidays and the travelling part (airports, planes, trains, accommodations) can cause some stress, with changes routine and limitations to our ability to move. We need to consider our routines and think about medication during our travels. We are all aware that stress can trigger PD physical symptoms, so let’s try to reduce the stress and focus on the fun! 

Here’s a few things to consider: 

Booking the Holidays

Before even booking your holidays, it might be a good idea to consider different modes of transportation where possible. Even though trains may take longer than planes, on trains you can enjoy more freedom to move during the journey.  

Consider your needs and what would be best for you when travelling, this might be to consider booking tickets for your highest-functioning time of day, when you know your body will be at it’s best for all the moving around.  

When making holiday plans, remember to give yourself plenty of time. Think about timings between transport or activities. Be sure to allow yourself more time than you think, so that if anything happens to cause delays, then you have extra time and avoid additional stress.  

A Few Weeks Before Travelling

Before your holidays, it might be good to get a few things prepared.  

  • Medication – A few weeks before travelling, check your medication supply. Let your doctor/pharmacist now if you need extra refills to cover your time away
  • Liquid Medication – Check in with your doctor before traveling and ask about travelling with liquid medication. While you’re allowed to travel with liquid medications greater than 3 ounces, you’ll need to provide documentation from your doctor in order to pass through airport security with them. This applies to substances like the gel form carbidopa/levodopa for the US-approved Dopa pump. Be sure to pack these in your carry-on, and not in your checked luggage
  • Book travel insurance
  • Assistance – Check accessibility of transportation. You may want to request special assistance when booking (request wheelchair service / request early check-in to avoid long queues / request an aisle seat to allow for movement breaks and bathroom breaks)


  • Bring extra medication in case of delays
  • Have medication in clearly labelled containers
  • While travelling, it might be difficult to keep a good eating routine or sleeping routine. However, our food intake will impact our medication, so it’s important to have snacks packed to eat when taking medication.
  • It might be a good idea to carry some of your medication in your carry-on and some in your checked bag, just in case you run into any issues retrieving your luggage. 


It’s important to try to keep a regular sleep schedule. It might be worth considering scheduling breaks into your plans for you to ensure that you take time to rest throughout the day.

While Travelling

Try to take advantage of any movement opportunities. Take short walks up and down the aisles and do some stretches to keep the muscles limber. 

If you are travelling to a different time-zone, a suggestion could be to have an extra watch with your ‘home time’ on it, which may make it easier to keep on your medication schedule. 

While Enjoying the Holidays

It’s easy to indulge on holidays, however, a change in diet may have an effect on your medication, so keep in mind to stick to a healthy diet and eating routine. Especially, keep in mind to drink enough water and eat lots of fibre to avoid constipation.  

On holidays, we can often pack a lot of activities and trips into the days, and may end up staying up later than normal. You might need to account for this and be prepared to take any extra doses of medication, if needed. 

Packing List

  • Any good travel list needs to start with; passports, tickets, money. 
  • Take an updated copy of your medication list and bring clearly labelled medications in their bottles in your carry-on when flying. Ideally, the name of the drug and your doctor’s name will be clearly displayed on the bottle. It might be a good idea to have some medication in another bag in case something happens to the other bag.  
  • Bring a copy of your medication regime, including your doctors’ names.  
  • Consider packing the Parkinson’s Europe ‘Parkinson’s passport’ alongside your medications and treatment. The Parkinson’s passport is a free downloadable resource that allows you to document essential details of your medications and treatment such as dosage and timing, as well as emergency contacts and a space where your doctor can sign his/her approval. Find more information here and a simple version is available in different languages here. 
  • Make sure you have snacks and water / juice to take with your medication. 
  • If you are travelling to a place with a different time zone, consider wearing a watch with a ‘at home’ time so you can easily figure out when to take your medication on time and avoid any issues.  
  • If you are bringing assistive equipment, consider adding name labels to the bags, such as ‘cane’ or ‘walker’, before packing.

More Information

Newly Diagnosed with Parkinson’s

About Parkinson’s

Employment and PD

Management of PD

Support Centre Contact List

Volunteer Groups