When you travel, diabetes comes along with you. By thinking ahead, you can manage your medications, meals, and the challenges of air travel.
If you’re going on a long trip, have a medical checkup first. Tell your doctor about your travel plans and discuss any changes you may need to make in your diabetes care routine while away.
Your doctor should provide specific advice on when to take prescription medications if you will be crossing multiple time zones, so bring your flight itinerary showing time zone differences. Otherwise, you could end up taking too much or too little of your medication.
Rule number one of traveling with diabetes is to pack wisely. Put everything you’ll need for diabetes care in a small bag. Then keep the bag with you at all times, whether you’re on a plane, train, or motor vehicle. Estimate how much medication and how many testing supplies and syringes you are likely to need. Then bring twice that amount, just in case something unexpected happens.
Consider wearing a medical ID bracelet or necklace that identifies you as having diabetes, especially if you use insulin.
Taking a Road Trip
When you travel by car, bus or train, getting there is half the fun. Just be sure to follow these tips:
- Protect insulin from getting too hot by carrying it in a cooling pack. Don’t leave it in the vehicle, where it may overheat.
- Bring snacks and water with you, even if you plan to eat at roadside restaurants. You never know when you might have car trouble or a delay, and mealtimes may be unpredictable.
Getting There by Air
Air travel brings its own set of unique challenges and some simple solutions:
- Bring extra snacks in case of a flight change or delay.
- Be very careful using an insulin syringe in the air. In the pressurized cabin, the plunger may feel different than usual, making it harder to use.
- Get up and stretch your legs every hour or two on long flights. Move your legs often while seated.
- Check your blood glucose soon after landing. Jet lag can mask the symptoms of low or high blood glucose.
Going Through Security
Diabetes medication, devices and supplies are allowed through security once they have been screened. Let the security officer know before the screening process begins about any medications and devices you have with you, such as an insulin pump.
Last but not least, enjoy yourself! Diabetes shouldn’t stop you from having fun.
Ask your Rite Aid Pharmacist for other tips and travel advice for diabetics.
“Do You Know About Blood Clots and Travel?” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/features/TravelDVT/index.html.
“Fact Sheet: Air Travel and Diabetes.” American Diabetes Association, main.diabetes.org/dorg/PDFs/Advocacy/Discrimination/air-travel-and-diabetes.pdf.
“Have Diabetes? Get Tips for Safe Travels.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/features/diabetesandtravel/.