Travel can be daunting if you have mitochondrial disease (mito) or are travelling with someone who has mito. Planning will ensure your travel is as enjoyable as possible, and this information is designed to help you plan.

Before making travel arrangements, speaking to a health professional is important, especially for high-altitude trips. Bringing the Australian Patient Care Standards for Primary Mitochondrial Disease to your appointment can aid in planning. This step is not just about ensuring your health for the trip, it’s also a key factor that can influence the validity of your travel insurance.

Organising transport

The first step is to consider transport options, whether to book in advance, your requirements and what is available. If you need to travel any great distance or if you need to travel to and from the airport or train station, it’s worth considering booking your transport in advance. Under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, taxi services must have accessibility for those with a disability.

Taxis must provide wheelchair access and will have a centralised booking system to book a wheelchair-accessible car. For anyone with a hearing or visual disability, the easiest way to make taxi bookings is online or via a mobile phone app.

Each state has a Taxi Subsidy Scheme, which may allow you to claim taxi costs if you can’t use public transport due to a severe and permanent disability. For more information and how to apply, select your state or territory below:

NSW ACT QLD SA TAS VIC WA NT

Air travel

By booking with the airline directly, you can discuss your specific needs. Some experienced travel agents also may be able to assist when booking.

Travel with mito (1)

Travelling with children impacted by mito

Consider your child’s daily needs (nappies, specialised food, medication, equipment and more). Pack as much as you will need for the time you will be away plus extra, unless you are confident you can get what you need at your destination. If a child can’t communicate effectively, it’s best to have a printed summary of their medical and wellbeing needs with them at all times in case of an emergency.

You may need to consider taking your child’s car seat or restraint system on board to ensure a safe and comfortable journey. However, there are some conditions, exceptions and steps for families to organise before boarding. To find out more about child car seat and restraint systems on QANTAS, click here. Or visit the Australian Government Civil Aviation Safety Authority planning for travel with a disability.

When a child is two years old, they usually need to sit in their own seat on a plane. If your child has trouble sitting unaided, you can talk to the airline and your child’s health professional to request an exemption from this rule. 

 

Be practical and consider the likely impact of the activities and the schedule on your child’s routine. It may be necessary to factor in extra time to maintain a regular routine or to have opportunities to rest.

Plan for contingencies such as flight delays, bad weather, soiling of clothes, so that dealing with the unexpected is far less stressful.

Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance. Most people are very willing to help and make your holiday go as well as possible. If you need assistance while travelling, reach out to people who can support you, such as service staff at your accommodation, airports and other transport providers.

Other considerations

Before your trip, its a good idea to ask your health professional for advice and assistance with obtaining necessary documents, such as concession cards, companion cards, and disability permits, which can be used in Australia and overseas.

Your destination may require certain vaccinations, so check the Smart Traveller Health Checks and Vaccinations website. Check with your GP or specialist for more information and advice about your health requirements.

Travel considerations

Disclaimer: Resources provided by the Australian Mitochondrial Disease Foundation Limited (Mito Foundation), offers general information and is not a substitute for medical advice. It is essential to assess the suitability of the content for your individual circumstances and make decisions based on your medical condition. The information’s accuracy is subject to change, and we do not guarantee ongoing currency or availability. While efforts are made to ensure accuracy, Mito Foundation is not obligated to provide updated information. The copyright for this document and its content belongs to, or is licensed to, Mito Foundation, and reproduction without prior written consent is prohibited.

Author(s): Mito Foundation
Reviewer(s): Kindly reviewed by mito community members
Version: 2
Date published: 19 December 2023    

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