People with diabetes can travel anywhere with proper planning. To be well-prepared, consider where you want to go and how long you will stay. Have a happy, healthy time during your getaway by following a few simple travel tips.
- Never pack diabetes supplies as they are sensitive to heat and cold. Luggage can be lost or stolen so keep diabetes testing supplies, insulin and medication in a carry-on bag. This ensures you have these essentials when you need them.
- Pack portable diabetes snacks for the trip to control your blood sugar even if there are delays. Always bring water to avoid dehydration. Many people with diabetes wear a medical ID bracelet or necklace to provide necessary information in the event of an emergency.
- It is crucial to test blood sugar levels more frequently due to a change in routine, eating and time zones. If you are dependent on insulin, discuss these changes with your doctor to plan the timing and dosage of your injections while traveling.
- Visit your physician one month prior to traveling to ensure your diabetes is under good control. Get prescriptions for essential medications and insulin. Have an extra week supply when traveling in the United States and an extra two week supply if you are leaving the country. Pack enough medication and insulin to last through your vacation.
- Verify with your doctor whether you need immunizations prior to the trip. Get them one month prior to traveling to give yourself time to recover if you get sick.
- Check with the airlines to find out the acceptable way to carry medications. Some airlines will expect them to be in the original containers while others want them transported in pill boxes. Also find out the acceptable way to pack lancets, insulin and other injection supplies.
- To avoid carrying around a large Sharps container, dispose of your lancets and syringes in a heavy gauge water bottle.
- If you are driving for more than one hour during your vacation, check your blood sugar frequently. Make sure your blood sugar is under control before going on the road. High or low blood sugar may affect your ability to drive safely. Symptoms might include loss of focus, blurred vision, confusion, sleepiness, dizziness or even loss of consciousness or a seizure.
- Consider the benefits of diabetes travel insurance prior to going on vacation. Trip insurance may include benefits such as 24 hour medical support, loss of medication, medical expenses and personal property. In the event of an emergency, travel insurance makes people with diabetes feel reassured they are covered in any circumstance.
- Carry glucose tabs with you to quickly stabilize low blood sugar while traveling. Also have plenty of water to flush out your system if blood sugar gets high.
Enjoy your traveling experience by planning ahead to keep diabetes under control. Being prepared ensures you’re ready to handle anything that might come up during your trip.