Travelling and holidays

Travelling with asthma and allergies

Travelling can be stress-free if you take a few precautions when it comes to your asthma, allergies or hay fever. Whether you’re travelling interstate or overseas, for work or holidays, it’s important to be prepared.

Asthma symptoms to recognise when travelling or on holidays:

  • coughing
  • wheezing
  • chest tightness
  • shortness of breath.

First Aid for Asthma

If you experience asthma while travelling:

  • Follow your personal written asthma action plan
  • If you don’t have an action plan, take 4 separate puffs of a blue/grey reliever via a spacer
  • If the symptoms aren’t going away or are getting worse, then follow the steps in First Aid for Asthma

First Aid for Asthma chart tailored to combination inhalers

The new First Aid for Asthma chart is based on combination inhalers with Formoterol (Symbicort, Fostair, DuoResp, BiResp) and outlines how to use one of these inhalers if this is the person’s usual reliever. It is designed for patients using a combination preventer and reliever medication that uses formoterol as the reliever. 

First Aid for Asthma 12+ and the First Aid for Asthma Children Under 12 charts can be downloaded from our website: nationalasthma.org.au.

Be prepared

  • Visit your doctor well in advance of your departure to ensure your asthma is under good control when you leave. Discuss your travel destination with your doctor in case there are any particular precautions you need to take.
  • Ask your doctor to provide a letter outlining the history and severity of your asthma, allergies and your treatment.
  • Check that your medical travel insurance will cover your asthma and allergies.
  • Remember to take your personalised written asthma action plan with you. Your asthma action plan should be reviewed and updated every 6 months for children and every 12 months for adults. Make sure it is up to date before your holiday.
  • Take your medications with you and ensure you have sufficient supply for your length of stay. You may require a letter from your doctor to be able to receive enough supply from your pharmacy. 
  • Check your medication expiry date and ensure that they will not expire during your holiday.
  • If you are travelling by plane ensure that your medication is carried in your hand luggage and keep spares in your suitcase.
  • Store medications somewhere safe from the heat when travelling. 

Special situations

  • Travel to high altitudes is normally okay provided that your asthma is well managed at sea level. People with asthma are not usually affected.
  • Trekking, sightseeing or skiing should be problem-free when you have well-controlled asthma, a written asthma action plan and adequate amounts of medication.
  • People with asthma should not scuba dive, as changes in pressure underwater can affect lung function and trigger asthma symptoms

Travelling with allergies

  • If you are at risk of anaphylaxis, make sure your self-administered adrenaline (EpiPen or AnaPen) and anaphylaxis action plan are up to date.
  • Try to find out if your destination could have an increased risk of exposure to allergens such as pollens or indoor pets.
  • Warn airlines or resorts of any food allergies or intolerances you have before you leave.

Download anaphylaxis action plans: allergy.org.au/hp/anaphylaxis/ascia-action-plan-for-anaphylaxis.


It is important to note that information contained in this brochure is not intended to replace professional medical advice. Any questions regarding a medical diagnosis or treatment should be directed to a medical practitioner. 

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