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Fancy a break? There is no need for diabetes to be a barrier. Whether you are going to the beach, to a foreign city or to the mountains, your diabetes will travel with you.
People with diabetes should plan their travel and holidays in advance and seek advice wherever necessary.
Plan ahead. Make sure you:
- Get all your immunizations. Find out what's required for where you're going, and make sure you get the right shots, on time.
- Control your ABCs: A1C, Blood pressure, and Cholesterol. See your health care provider for a check-up four to six weeks before your trip to make sure your ABCs are under control and in a healthy range before you leave.
- Ask your health care provider for a prescription and a letter explaining your diabetes medications, supplies, and any allergies. Carry this with you at all times on your trip. The prescription should be for insulin or diabetes medications and could help in case of an emergency.
- Wear identification that explains you have diabetes. The identification should be written in the languages of the places you are visiting.
- Plan for time zone changes. Make sure you'll always know when to take your diabetes medicine, no matter where you are. Remember: eastward travel means a shorter day. If you inject insulin, less may be needed. Westward travel means a longer day, so more insulin may be needed.
- Find out how long the flight will be and whether meals will be served. However, you should always carry enough food to cover the entire flight time in case of delays or unexpected schedule changes.
- Take twice the amount of diabetes medication and supplies that you'd normally need. Better safe than sorry.
- Keep your insulin cool by packing it in an insulated bag with refrigerated gel packs.
- Keep snacks, glucose gel, or tablets with you in case your blood glucose drops.
- If you use insulin, make sure you also pack a glucagon emergency kit.
- Make sure you keep your medical insurance card and emergency phone numbers handy.
- Don't forget to pack a first aid kit with all the essentials.
Some things to keep in mind if you are flying:
- Plan to carry all your diabetes supplies in your carry-on luggage. Don't risk a lost suitcase.
- Have all syringes and insulin delivery systems (including vials of insulin) clearly marked with the pharmaceutical preprinted label that identifies the medications. The FAA recommends that patients travel with their original pharmacy labeled packaging. Keep your diabetes medications and emergency snacks with you at your seat – don't store them in an overhead bin
- If the airline offers a meal for your flight call ahead for a diabetic, low fat, or low cholesterol meal. Wait until your food is about to be served before you take your insulin. Otherwise, a delay in the meal could lead to low blood glucose.
- If no food is offered on your flight, bring a meal on board yourself.
- If you plan on using the restroom for insulin injections, ask for an aisle seat for easier access.
- Don't be shy about telling the flight attendant that you have diabetes – especially if you are traveling alone.
- When drawing up your dose of insulin, don't inject air into the bottle (the air on your plane will probably be pressurized).
Some things to keep in mind on a road trip:
- Don't leave your medications in the trunk, glove compartment, or near a window – they might overheat. If possible, carry a cooler in the car to keep medications cool. Bring extra food with you in the car in case you can't find a restaurant.
- General traveling tips:
- Stay comfortable and reduce your risk for blood clots by moving around every hour or two.
- Always tell at least one person traveling with you about your diabetes.
- Protect your feet. Never go barefoot in the shower or pool.
- Check your blood glucose often. Changes in diet, activity, and time zones can affect your blood glucose in unexpected ways.
You are not alone in fight against diabetes. We are with you, offering information, diabetic supplies and support for Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes and caregivers. Lifestyle tips, delicious diabetic recipes, answers for your queries, we deliver them right to your inbox. Together let's begin a journey of diabetes free life. Find all you need to know about diabetes at diabeticsuppliesandhelp.com.