Traveling With Diabetes
Traveling With Diabetes
When you are traveling, changes in your normal routine may make it a bit more difficult to follow your normal meal plan and medication schedule. When you schedule a vacation, be sure to plan ahead. Planning for changes in meal patterns, time zones, and increased or decreased activity can help you to maintain diabetes control even while on vacation.
Before you leave on vacation, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your travel time. Get extra prescriptions and a letter from your doctor explaining that you have diabetes. If you need any immunizations (shots), plan to get them three to four weeks before your vacation. Some of these shots can affect your blood sugar levels.
Things to bring with you on your travels:
- Bring your doctor’s name and phone number and keep it with you at all times.
- Bring a list of your current medications and keep it with you at all times.
- Always carry and wear your medical identification that says you have diabetes.
- If flying, check with the airline about any rules or guidelines you need to follow to bring your medicine and supplies in your carry –on luggage.
- Keep medicines, syringes, and blood sugar testing equipment in your carry-on luggage. Do not check these supplies with your luggage in case it is lost. The cargo hold of a plane is not heated or well insulated so medicine and supplies can be damaged.
- Take enough medicines and supplies to last an extra week just in caser you get stranded or decide to stay longer than planned.
- Remember to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
- Carry some type of sugar source at all times in case you develop hypoglycemia.
- Inform the airline or cruise ship ahead of time that you have diabetes. Most airlines and cruise ships can accommodate your with special meals.
- Test your blood sugar more often than usual. Changes in meal patterns, time zones, and activity levels can affect your blood sugar.
If taking insulin:
- If you are traveling on an airplane and an insulin injection time is during your flight, follow your normal procedure – with one difference. Put only half as much air into your bottle as you normally would. The air pressure in a plane is different than on the ground.
- Time zone changes of two or more hours may mean you need to change your injection schedule.
- Check with your doctor for special instructions.
- Keep the temperature of your insulin between 33 degrees F and 80 degrees F. Do not freeze your insulin or keep it in direct sunlight.
Taking care of your feet while traveling:
- Pack at least 2 pairs of shoes so you can change shoes often. This will help prevent blisters and sore pressure points. Pack comfortable shoes, socks, and a first aid kit to treat minor foot injuries.
- Do not go barefoot. Wear shoes that are especially made for ocean or beach walking if needed. Protect your feet at all times when you are walking by the pool. Om the park, on the beach, or swimming in the ocean.
- Do not wear open-toe shoes, including sandals, flip flops, or others (you increase your risk for injury and infection when your toes are exposed).
- Follow your daily foot care regimen.
Whether you or a loved one is living with diabetes, we hope you’ve found this informational useful. The world is a big place, and nothing should hold you back from seeing it all. Consult with your physician or medical professional for more travel tips and information.