Long-Haul Travel

and Lowering Risks for Life-Threatening Blood Clots

Passenger buckling seatbelt in a plane or train

The links between travel and blood clots

  • Traveling longer than 8 hours, whether by plane, car, bus, or train, can increase risks for life-threatening blood clot.
  • The risk of a blood clot is about 3-times higher for people traveling on long-distance flights.
  • The risk of travel-related blood clot is higher if you have more than one risk factor.

Why does travel increase the risk of blood clots?

  • Being seated for long periods can slow blood flow.
  • High altitudes can also activate the body’s blood clotting system.

How can I reduce risk of a travel-related blood clot?

Perform Simple Exercises

Flex and extend the ankles and contract the calf muscles at regular intervals while seated.

Walk Around

If permitted, get up and walk in the cabin at least every hour while traveling.

Drink Water

Stay hydrated and avoid alcohol or caffeinated drinks.

Assess Risks

If you have one or more risk factors, talk to your healthcare provider about using graduated compression stockings, aspirin or an anticoagulant drug.

Know The Symptoms

Learn to recognize the symptoms of a dangerous blood clot and speak up if you notice anything that concerns you.

Learn more about the symptoms of dangerous blood clot or VTE.

More than one risk factor?

Any time you may have overlapping risks,
be sure your healthcare provider are aware.

Image of hispanic woman doctor talking with patient, downloadable guide is featured as overlay

Discover life-saving facts about symptoms, prevention and treatment of blood clots at heart.org/VTE.