Nervous about traveling with diabetes? Here are six tips to make your journey smoother…
With summertime here, millions of people across America are gearing up for vacation. But if you are living with a chronic illness, traveling and organizing a vacation can demand more attention and planning. When traveling with diabetes, it is important to have extra medicine on hand, understand how flying might affect your blood sugar levels, and know which supplies to pack. If a vacation is in your near future, be sure to review this traveling with diabetes checklist as you organize your bags. It may help you keep blood sugar levels steady and be prepared in case of a layover or emergency:
- Keep yourself on schedule: Diabetes requires daily management, and many diabetics experience a better quality of life when they keep a disciplined schedule when it comes to taking medication or checking blood sugar.
When it comes time to travel, keep a close eye on the time, especially if changing time zones. If you will be in an airplane when it is time for your medication, make sure you have it easily accessible. Also, because travel can throw off blood sugar levels in some people, keep emergency glucose tablets on hand.
- Have all supplies nearby – Whether you are traveling via an airplane or embarking on a cruise, always keep your insulin, blood sugar monitors and emergency medication in your carry-on luggage or purse. Checked baggage will not be accessible, and medication can spoil as it could potentially be exposed to extremely hot or cold temperatures.
- Remember cords and batteries – Regardless of what type of glucose monitoring system you use, it is crucial to pack extra batteries, chargers, cords, etc. while on your journey. Also, you will want to keep these in your carry-on as well, in case your checked baggage is lost.
- See your doctor before leaving for vacation – Did you know that you may be able to get through TSA quicker at the airport if you have a letter from your doctor regarding your medical conditions and all of the medication you are traveling with? Also, be sure to ask your doctor if an emergency prescription would be a good idea if you are planning on traveling for a long time. Ensure your name is clearly written on each prescription to prevent any issues when going through airport security.
- Carry some food if possible – When traveling with diabetes to new locales, you may not have quick or easy access to food when you first arrive. To prevent drops in blood sugar, pack nuts, granola bars, cheese and crackers and other foods that can help keep your levels in range.
- Consider the length of your flight – If you have asked, “Does flying affect diabetes?” the answer depends on the situation. How long is your flight? If there was a delay in takeoff or disembarking from the plane and you didn’t pack any snacks, could your blood sugar be in jeopardy? Are you taking multiple planes through different time zones to get to your destination (which will take you off your normal food schedule)? All of these factors play into how blood sugar might be affected.
Traveling is a time for rest, relaxation and new adventures. Make the most out of your journey by learning about traveling with diabetes ahead of time.