21 Tips for Traveling with Diabetes
‘Travel’ the word makes us feel the adrenaline gushing, isn’t it? The thought of exploring places can be an exciting experience. Do I see a crease on your forehead? Worried about how the change in routine will affect your food intake? The change in time zones can disturb diabetes management. So here we get a few easy to follow tricks to maintain diabetes and also enjoy your travel. So plan a little beforehand to enjoy without hindrance.
Before You Start Traveling
- A visit to the doctor is a must to make sure you are fit enough for the trip. Questions to ask your doctor
- What activities are you planning to be involved in? Trek/Diving/Swimming?
- Are you on insulin? If so, please check for the insulin intake variation with different time zones
- Prescription copy of medicines in case you need to purchase in unknown places.
- In case you need vaccines
- A letter stating yourself to be diabetic and why you need your medical supplies
- Keep a note of pharmacies and clinics in and around the locations you are to visit
- Wear a medical ID bracelet stating you have diabetes and if any other health conditions
- Keep travel insurance id handy in case you miss a flight or need medical assistance
- Order the flight meals as per your meal plan or make an alternative arrangement
- What to Pack?
- A carry bag with medical supplies. The medical supplies consisting of insulin, snacks and glucose tablets
- Take an extra month’s supply. Pack the medicines as they come in pharmacy bottles. You can even ask the pharmacist to attach extra labels to plastic bags.
- Pack healthy snacks like fruits, nuts and raw vegetables
- Security Check at Airport
- Get TSA notification card. The card will help you to go through the screening process with ease.
- Diabetics are allowed to carry 3.4 oz. liquid medicines, gel packs to keep the drug and juice cool
- The glucose monitor and insulin pump can get damaged while scanning through the x-ray machine. So you can ask for hand inspection of the devices.
- For extra information, you can check Traveler’s Health site
- Driving? Pack a cooler with healthy foods and enough bottles of water and fluids
- Make sure insulin and diabetes medicine are not stored in direct sunlight or in a hot car. Keep the medication in the cooler. Care to be taken, so insulin is not directly on the ice or a gel pack.
- Excessive heat can damage blood sugar monitor, insulin pump and other diabetes-related instruments. The instruments are not to be left in direct sunlight, hot car, pool or beach. The condition applies to the test strips as well.
- With little awareness, you can find healthy food options for yourself at the airport and restaurant as well
- Nuts, Fruits, yogurt,and sandwiches
- Chicken and Fish in Salads (avoid the dried fruit and croutons)
- Eggs and omelets
- Burgers with lettuce wrap in place of a bun
- Fajitas(avoid the tortillas and rice)
- Avoid sitting in the same posture for long. Get up and move around in the passageway if you are in plane or train. In case you are driving, take a break.
- Set the alarms for medicine intake if you are one of the forgetful types or traveling in different time zones.
On Arrival at the location
- Due to travel and time zone, your blood sugar might be out of target range initially. Don’t fret! Monitor in intervals, body should adjust in a few days. Treat the high and low sugar levels as per the instructions of your doctor
- While involving yourself in physically active sports, do check your blood sugar levels before and after the activity. Make suitable changes in food, insulin and activity as required
- Different cuisine can be quite tempting. Mind You! Don’t go for the buffets. Order from the menu to suit your healthy choices
- Don’t get carried away and overdo activity when the sun is in his prime. Carry suntan lotions/slippers/sunglasses/umbrellas to protect yourself
- As the temperature soars, there will be variation in insulin levels in the body. So you might need to test your insulin levels frequently and adjust with insulin dosage and food.
- While traveling to a different country, you might not find everything like you do at home. So to be on the safer side, learn the local language phrases for “I have diabetes” and “Direction to nearest pharmacy?”
- Have wet wipes handy when you are outdoors. You need to clean your hands before checking the blood sugar levels.
Traveling with Diabetes can be quite challenging but not impossible. Surely, we cannot let it tie us down to our homes, can we? Just plan ahead, relax and enjoy your vacation.