Traveling Safely When You Have EDS

Emily Malcolm, PhD avatar

by Emily Malcolm, PhD |

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Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) is the name given to a group of genetic diseases that affect the connective tissues. Depending on the type of EDS you have, you may have a number of symptoms disrupting your daily life. In some people with this disease, travel can be challenging.

Here are some tips to help you travel safely if you have EDS.

Before travel

Plan ahead to avoid rushing or leaving unprepared. If you need daily medications, like those for pain, talk to your doctor and check with your travel agency to determine how best to travel with your treatments. For some medications, you may need authorization to carry them through airport security. If necessary, your doctor can arrange for a prescription to be filled at a pharmacy near your destination.

If you do not use pain medications, you may want to discuss with your doctor whether the activities you’re planning may be helped by you temporarily using them.

If you have trouble walking, check with your travel agency and the airline to make sure that you have enough time to get to your gate. If you use a cane or orthotic brace to help you walk, you may want to get a letter from your physician stating that you have a medical condition that requires this equipment. Also, let the airline know if you need special accommodations.

It can be worthwhile discussing with your physician where you are going and what activities you are planning to undertake on your trip, to ensure that you have chosen locations and activities that are appropriate for you, as well as to determine whether you need to take any special precautions to protect, say, your joints and skin.

If you need regular physical therapy, discuss with your physiotherapist whether you can receive therapy while traveling.

During travel

If you have vascular EDS, you may need to wear compression socks during long flights, as well as getting up to walk at regular times during the flight. Taking an aisle seat might be preferable.

Include in your hand luggage your essential paperwork, such as health insurance, travel insurance, and a letter from your physician describing any medicine or medical equipment you need during travel.

If you feel unwell at any time during travel, alert the crew of your flight, cruise, or train immediately so that you can get rapid medical help.

At the destination

Make sure that you have appropriate clothing for the climate and environment at your destination. Plan activities that are within your capabilities and rest when you need to.

Make sure that you know the location of health clinics are near your destination, in case you need medical care during your travel. Even if you do not usually take pain medications, you may find that you need these while traveling or enjoying the outdoors.


Last updated: Feb. 24, 2020


Ehlers-Danlos News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.