Travelling With Diabetes

Whether you are travelling for work or fun, there are some extra things to remember where your diabetes is concerned. Preparation is key to avoiding any extra anxiety that comes with travelling sometimes.

Here are a few travel tips:

Before leaving

  • Visit the doctor

If you haven't seen the doctor in the last few months, this is a good place to start. If you are travelling within your own country, get a paper prescription to carry with you on your travels. This is helpful to have incase you forget some of your treatment at home or lose it during travel or end up staying away from home for longer than expected.

  • Locate a pharmacy and/or doctors rooms close to your holiday destination

This is good to have as a resource for any "in case of emergency" situations.

  • Get a travel letter from your doctor

If you are flying to your holiday destination and will be carrying any insulin or needles or testing apparatus (glucometer) with you, it is good to get a travel letter from your doctor stating the reason for all the extra medical supplies you are carrying. Keep the letter with you during your travel day and present it only if asked at security checks about the medical supplies you are carrying.

  • Visit your pharmacy

Make sure you have enough medication to last you the length of your holiday. If you need more than one months supply of medication you can contact your medical aid and request an extended supply.

Day of travel

  • Pack a supply bag and keep it close!

All medical supplies including medication and testing equipment can be packed into a bag the day before travel. If you are using insulin injections it is good to include a snack of sorts as well and 15-30g supply of quickly absorbed sugar in case of a hypoglycemic episode.

Keep this bag with you at all times. Pack it close to you in the car if you are driving and keep it with you on the plane if you are flying.

  • Keep your paper prescription and travel letter from your doctor safe at hand

  • Stay hydrated and test glucose before you head out (by car or plane) - "know before you go"

  • Wear comfortable shoes

  • If travelling by car - remember you will be using less energy as you will be sitting for long periods of time. Watch that your snack intake is not too high in calories or carbohydrates. Use the stops to walk around a bit and exert some energy and get the blood flowing!

Holiday time

Be aware of how some of your travel activities may affect your blood glucose levels and adjust treatment accordingly:

  • Exercise, outdoor physical activity or sightseeing might lead to lower glucose levels - take snacks with to assist with this.

  • Meals will be eaten at different times and you might eat larger portions and have more sweet treats. Adjust insulin for larger meals. Bulk up meals with vegetables and smaller starch and consider sharing pudding or snacks with others to avoid large portions. If eating later than usual or having meals further away from each other - keep snacks close by.

  • Alcohol intake. Holidays can lead to a higher intake of alcohol. You can still enjoy yourself but be mindful of your glucose levels. Always eat before drinking alcohol. Drink moderately and responsibly. Check blood sugar readings before heading to bed.

  • Inspect your feet after each days adventures

And lastly .... ENJOY!

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