Your Diabetes Travel Tips

When you have diabetes travel can be stressful. In fact travel can be stressful even if you are not diabetic! Think about your diabetes; think about what you need to have with you to keep yourself properly in balance and take sensible precautions for your diabetes and your journey need not be a traumatic one.

Although preparing for your journey is a matter of common sense, sometimes just getting ready to go can be stressful in itself.

So I've gathered these diabetes travel tips, which contain some straight forward advice on how you can prepare before traveling.

Whether you are traveling locally, in this country or abroad print and use this checklist as an easy reference before you set out.

Diabetes Travel Care

Before Travel

  • Get your shots. Make sure you have the right ones for any country you plan to visit.
  • Get your A1C, blood pressure and cholesterol checked before you go - especially if you have ever had problems with these before.
  • Ask your doctor for a prescription and letter explaining you are diabetic and listing the medications you are carrying. It should also explain any other allergies or medical intolerances you may have.
  • Have a medical ID detailing you are a diabetic - preferably one you can wear on your person at all times. It's also wise to get your ID produced in the language for the country you are visiting. If you're taken ill or involved in an accident, the attending medical personnel may not speak or read your language.
  • If you are flying, check how long the flight will be and whether meals are served. If they are not providing food, take a packed meal with you.
  • Advise the airline you are diabetic so any meals served are suitable for you.
  • Take more medication than you need for the planned trip length. Delays can occur die to flight problems; airport or dock strikes; natural weather disasters etc. You diabetes travel plan should allow for delays like this.

During Travel

  • Check your blood sugars frequently.
  • Keep your medication in your hand luggage. Check-in baggage does go astray. Don't risk losing your medication or having its arrival at your destination delayed.
  • If your medication is insulin, carry it in an insulated bag with an ice-block.
  • Be aware of how time zone changes can affect your diabetes medication times. Travelling east shortens your day; go west and your day is longer. Adjust your medication to suit.
  • Have an emergency supply of snacks, glucose tablets or fruit juice in case your blood sugar drops and you start to experience a hypoglycemic state. Keep these, and your medication, by you - not in the overhead locker.
  • Move around or exercise your feet and legs to avoid blood clots or DVT (deep vein thrombosis) when you are in flight.
  • If travelling by car, take frequent breaks to stretch your legs - again to help reduce the risk of DVT.
  • If you have to take an insulin shot during a flight be careful not to inject pressurized air into your insulin container.
  • Don't be shy about telling the travel attendant you are a diabetic. They need to know.

  • If your blood sugar levels drop you may act irrationally, which can sometimes be mistaken for drunkenness.

    Your travel attendant needs to know that your actions are due to your diabetes - not because of drinking - and you need a glucose boost. This is even more important if you are traveling alone.

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