Just a few years ago the idea of traveling if you needed supplemental oxygen was enough to make you want to cancel the trip.  The logistics and difficulties during travel and then just moving about at your destination were really tough, which meant that many people just avoided the issue and little by little ran the risk of becoming more house bound.

Taking a trip like everybody else was an exhausting experience even before the trip actually began.

Basically it was all because of two things:

The oxygen delivery system. The actual travel.

It used to be that the only alternatives for travel were oxygen tanks, either compressed oxygen or liquid oxygen, and this meant not only weight problems but also how long the oxygen would last.  To top it all the different public transport organizations restricted what you could take.

Things have changed but just as a for instance, traveling by air meant having to comply with strict limitations that which also meant not being able to use your own oxygen units but the airlines – if they offered that service.

Luckily things have changed and for the better – the new portable oxygen concentrators as well as regulations are definitely making life easier for anyone on oxygen therapy.

For patients who have been receiving additional oxygen for a time, everyday activities are relatively easy to cope with. So long as their specific ailment allows them to. However traveling for business or pleasure until recently was a major, and many times exasperating and frustrating, exercise.

Travel plans for those who need supplemental oxygen require more care and preparation than usual.  The length of the trip, whether it is a short, a medium or a long one you still have to plan.  If you are going by car, by plane, by train or by ship, there are a series of things that you need to take into account and they all have to do with the oxygen supply.

Will it last during travel? Can you carry your oxygen concentrator? What are the rules for taking your oxygen system?

And this is where a travel oxygen concentrator comes into its own.

Oxygen Air Travel:
The FAA has approved the following POC’s (portable oxygen concentrators): Inogen One, Respironics EverGo, Sequal Eclipse, Invacare XPO2 and the Airsep Lifestyle & Freestyle.  All airlines that fly over US airspace must allow them on board.  Having said that it is your responsibility to make sure you comply with the airlines requirements.   

Oxygen and Train Travel:
It is recommended you notify Amtrak at least 24 hours prior to traveling, but as with any travel plans it is always best to give yourself more time.
Maximum allowed oxygen on board cannot exceed one double tank set up of 50 pounds. You must be able to separate the tanks and they cannot be on wheels. A six-tank set up is allowed as long as each tank is less than 20 pounds.
Travel oxygen concentrators that require electrical power must include a self-contained (battery) for trips less than 12 hours. Electrical power on the train may be used for trips greater than 12 hours. You should carry additional oxygen in the event of travel delays.  And finally reserve a private compartment if possible.

Oxygen on Ships and Cruise Vacations
Ask your travel agent if there are any special requirements when traveling with oxygen. Most cruise lines specify each passenger must make his or her own oxygen arrangements. Your oxygen supplier should be able to help you with coordinating oxygen for your trip or direct you to an organization that specializes in travel oxygen. Passengers must provide a letter from their doctor prior to travel indicating they are fit to travel, travel plans and oxygen prescription (hours of use and oxygen flow rate).  

Car Travel with Oxygen
Travel oxygen concentrators can be used with most vehicle car lighter adapters or internal batteries decreasing the number of compressed oxygen cylinders required or eliminating the need for liquid oxygen reservoirs.

As a general rule you should always carry a copy of your prescription including oxygen litre flow and hours of use, with you at all times as well as a current list of medications you are receiving. Make several copies of the prescription and medication list as you may need to present a copy to flight attendants or oxygen suppliers during your travel.