Don’t let diabetes stop you from taking your dream vacation. Traveling with diabetes doesn’t have to be complicated if you keep in mind these tips and plan accordingly. When planning a trip or vacation, there are a few things that you need to make sure you have checked off your list before you go! Preparing for your trip can help give you peace of mind and help you from running into any tricky situations with your diabetes.
- See your doctor.
The first step before heading out it to see your doctor. Confirm with your health care professional that you are in good health to travel and that your diabetes is under control. Schedule the exam with enough time to work on your control before you leave. Ask your doctor for prescriptions if you need them, in order to be prepared.
- Ask for documentation.
Request from your physician a note or document that shows your diabetes diagnosis and your need to pack medications.
- Ensure you have ample supply of your medication.
You should always have enough medication to last you through your trip. The American Diabetes Association recommends that you carry twice as much medication as your trip would last.
- Pack a healthy snack.
Always have a well-wrapped snack bag with peanut butter, whole fruit, juice box (for low blood glucose), and whole grain crackers for regulation of blood sugar. You want to make sure that you are always prepared to treat low glucose.
- Make a checklist.
Be sure that you have a final checklist of items that you need and present this checklist to your physician for medical approval. Have your health care professional suggest anything else he or she recommends you bring.
- Consider the time zone changes.
If you are wearing an insulin pump and will be traveling to a location in another time zone, be sure to adjust your insulin pump to reflect that time change!
- Bring your insurance card.
Keep your card and any emergency contact numbers you might need on your trip.
- Plan your meals around your flight.
If you have a long flight, make sure that you eat a proper healthy meal before and after your flight.
- Stay hydrated.
Make sure you carry bottles of water with you during your flight to stay properly hydrated!
- Pack your medications in your carry on. Luggage can easily get misplaced and you wouldn’t want to be without your medication. Bring all prescription labels for medication and pack the medications in separate clear, sealable bags. Bags that are placed in your carry-on-luggage need to be removed and separated from your other belongings for screening.
- Manage your stress and arrive to the airport 2-3 hours prior to flight.
- Carry or wear medical identification and carry contact information for your health care professional.
- Pack any extra healthy snacks and supplies.
- Take breaks. If the seatbelt light gets turned off, take a few minutes to walk around. If allowed, stand and stretch in the aisle to help reduce the risk for blood clots.
- Pack a cooler of healthy foods like whole, fresh fruits, hard boiled eggs, nuts, and whole grain crackers.
- Pack your insulin. You will want to have your medications on hand and stored in a cool, dry place.
- Take breaks. It is crucial that you make sure you stop every hour or two and walk around. This will help reduce your risk for blood clots!
When You Arrive
- Take it easy.
Traveling can be taxing on the body. When you arrive to your destination, check your blood glucose and relax your body for a few hours.
- Plan your activities.
Make sure that you are planning your activities so that you can be on a routine of insulin checks and meals.
- Stay hydrated.
Be sure to pack an adequate amount of water and liquids for you to stay hydrated. Be wary of drinking any tap water or ice cubes when overseas.
- Wear comfortable shoes.
This is especially important for those who will be walking or hiking on their getaway. Check your feet daily for blisters, cuts or swelling. If you see a sign of inflammation, get medical care.
- Note local hospitals and pharmacies.
In case of an emergency, know where to go! Take note of the closest medical centers.
For more information on traveling with diabetes, visit the American Diabetes Association website.