Tracheostomy travel | Patient Education | UC Davis Children's Hospital

Tracheostomy travel

You will need medical clearance from your ENT surgeon or nurse practitioner prior to all domestic or international travel.

When traveling locally be sure to take along a travel bag that has all of your tracheostomy supplies. This includes everything that is listed under the tracheostomy supplies list.

Always make sure the battery for your equipment is fully charged before leaving the house. When electrical outlets are available, plug in your equipment and save the battery power.

  • Always have the same size tracheostomy tube and size smaller
  • Remember to take your portable suction machine AND charger, extra suction catheters, and normal saline.
  • If your child needs a ventilator be sure to take the charger.
  • You will need to have extra HMEs on hand while out in the community and going to doctor’s appointments.
  • The trach mist machine cannot be used in the car because it needs an electrical outlet for use.

If you plan on taking an extended trip anywhere within the United States of America and your child has a new tracheostomy that is less than 9 months old it is important that you get clearance from the ENT surgeon or nurse practitioner that it is safe for your child to travel. If your child sees any other specialists such as pulmonology or cardiology it is important that you get clearance from those departments.

For extended trips by car, plane, or train you will need to take ALL of your supplies with you. This includes:

  • Tracheostomy supplies
  • Suction equipment
  • Humidification system
  • Monitoring equipment
  • Ventilator or oxygen, if applicable

Take enough supplies to cover the length of the trip plus a few extra in case of unexpected events.

If you plan on traveling outside of the United States of America please follow the rules of the domestic travel policy with the following additions:

  • Check with your pediatrician to make sure that your child has all needed immunizations prior to travel.
  • Traveling to a foreign country will require that you get clearance from customs on the way in and on the way out of that country. For this reason you may need a letter of medical necessity from your ENT surgeon or nurse practitioner stating why you need the tracheostomy equipment.
  • Buy bottled water for your mist machine for the length of your trip. Do not use the local tap water.
  • Make sure that you have the appropriate adapters for the electrical outlets that are used in the destination country.

Helpful Hint: If you are able to plan ahead, locate the nearest children’s hospital in your destination city in case of an emergency.

  • Travel delays
  • Weather advisories that can affect access to power or travel to hospitals
  • Emergency tracheostomy tube changes
  • Malfunctioning suction equipment
  • Malfunctioning pulse oximeter probes

The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does not need a letter of necessity to clear tracheostomy equipment. Your tracheostomy supplies, suction machine, pulse oximeter machine, mist machine and ventilator can be carried onto to the plane.

It is important that this equipment be kept with you in case your child has an emergency during the flight. Checked baggage is stored underneath the plane and you will not have access to any of this equipment until the plane lands.

Helpful Hint:

  • You will not be able to carry scissors onto the plane and will need to keep it in your checked baggage.
  • You will not be able to bring bottled water for the mist machine from home onto the plane it will need to be stored in your checked baggage. Or, once you pass the security checkpoint you can buy bottled water from one of the shops in the airport.
  • Power outlets at the airport or on the plane may not be readily available.
  • Keep a few HMEs with you depending on the length of the flight (or train ride) and how quickly your child goes through them.

Download Tracheostomy Travel Bag information sheet

Items for everyday travel

  • Tracheostomy tubes
  • DeLee mucous trap (1)
  • Suction catheters (2) to fit current size tracheostomy tube
  • Tracheostomy tie/collar
  • Saline pillows (5)
  • Safety scissors with curved edge (1)
  • Ambubag and mask
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Syringe to deflate cuff (if applicable)

Always take the portable suction with you for traveling!

For overnight travel

Monkey in the car

All of above (enough supplies for the length of the trip), plus:

  • Battery charger and transformer for suction
  • Monitor
  • Extra equipment/distilled water for mist machine

For extended travel

All of above, plus equipment cleaning supplies.