Whether you’re preparing for holiday travels or planning ahead for a spring vacation, organizing yourself properly for travel, including your diabetes supplies, is key to a stress-free vacation. There’s so much to think about when it comes to jet-setting or taking a long road trip. Let’s explore how to make the process seamless.
Get Your Diabetes Supplies Ready to Go:
It’s important to note that if flying, TSA has approved all diabetes related medications approved as carry-on items (including liquids). These items will need to be screened and should be declared when arriving at TSA.
Remember to pack key items, such as:
- Blood glucose meter, lancets, and test strips- including extra batteries for your glucose meter
- Oral medications/insulin and syringes you will need for the number of days on your trip, plus extra (keep all labels on medicines and supplies)
- Other non- diabetes medicines and medical supplies
- A waterproof case for your diabetes supplies
- Your ID and diabetes identification card
- A snack to maintain blood sugar such as crackers and peanut butter, cheese stick and grapes, etc.
- A quick form of carbohydrate to treat low blood sugar like glucose tabs, single serve pack of fruit snacks, juice box, etc. Aim for 15 grams of carbohydrate in this type of treatment snack and carry multiple options
Make More Attempts to Monitor:
Being on the go and in new situations/environments may require closer monitoring of:
- Blood glucose: new foods, new schedule, different activities mean checking blood glucose more frequently to maintain control of your diabetes while traveling
- Feet: keep a close eye on your feet – check them throughout the day for sores, calluses, or signs of infection like swelling or red spots, especially if you’re doing a lot of walking. Wear well-fitted, comfortable shoes and never go barefoot. If prone to swelling, wear compression socks when able, particularly if you’re on a long flight or other long period sitting.
Extra Considerations When Traveling:
Some additional helpful tips when preparing to travel include:
- Talk with your healthcare provider to come up with a plan if you are taking insulin and planning on crossing time zones. Discuss the timing of injections. To help you keep track of shots and meals through changing time zones, keep your watch on your home time zone until the morning after you arrive.
- Always make sure whomever you are traveling with knows you have diabetes and what to do in case of signs/symptoms of low blood sugar.
- If taking insulin, check with your insulin manufacturer on safe storage. Most insulin vials or insulin pens may be stored unrefrigerated for up to 28 days.
- Be sure to schedule your insulin injections and/or oral medications into your plans; set reminders on your phone or watch to keep you on track.
- Bring disposable wipes so you can clean your hands before you check your blood sugar in case soap and water is not readily available.
- Plan ahead for urgent care needs – know how to get ahold of your primary care physician and find out where the nearest urgent care is to where you’re staying. If traveling internationally, you can get a list of local English-speaking doctors through the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers at www.iamat.org.
Travel is sure to bring many joys and memories for years to come. Doing some extra planning to care for your health and diabetes ensures you’ll feel prepared and ready for whatever your adventures may bring!