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Tips for traveling

Tips for traveling

Diabetes doesn’t have to prevent you from traveling and exploring the world. A little planning will ensure you are physically and mentally prepared to make the most out of your trip without hurting your condition.

Before traveling:

  • Plan your travel treatment regimen with your doctor as you may need to change your routine, including timing of medicine, food and activity.
  • Check with your doctor if you need any vaccinations and be sure to get them four weeks before you leave.
  • Have your doctor write a note explaining you have diabetes and need your diabetes supplies, including insulin; get a prescription for extra diabetes supplies in case you need it.
  • Research where you can get diabetes supplies, as well as the location(s) of health care centers at your destination in case of emergency.
  • Research the local temperature, time difference and health system of your destination.
  • Be sure you have insurance that will cover any illness during your trip. Consider getting travel insurance.
  • Familiarize yourself with the types of meals available at your destination. If it is an organized group trip, also ask about meal times.

How to pack for your trip

Bring necessary supplies and a few extra in case you need it. Here are some things to keep in mind

  • Pack the following:
    • All the diabetes medicine you will need while traveling and extra (Insulin and pills/tablets)
    • Blood glucose monitoring supplies (glucose meter, test strips and lancets)
  • Small first aid kit with hand sanitizer and alcohol wipes.

During your trip:

  • While on vacation, test your blood glucose often, including before and 2 hours after meals to see the effect of unfamiliar foods and take action as needed.
  • Keep insulin and/or other diabetes medicines in your bag and bring it with you at all times.
  • Stay as close to your usual routine as possible, e.g. eating, taking medicine, sleeping.
  • Always carry foods with you that could be used to treat hypoglycemia if needed: fruits, biscuits, cracker packs and small juices.
  • Wear comfortable clothes and shoes.
  • Let others know you have diabetes and how they can help you. Wear or carry identification that shows you have diabetes in case of emergency.
  • Wash your hands frequently, or if not available, bring alcohol with you.
  • If driving, stop every few hours to stretch your legs to improve blood circulation.