Diabetic Travel Is Not Stressful If You Are Prepared

Diabetic travel does take extra preparation. You must plan ahead because you will be out of your home comfort zone. Feel free to use the checklist below to lower your stress when traveling with diabetes.

Before You Start Packing

The first question to ask yourself is how long you will be gone from home. Never pack just enough medication for those days.

If you are traveling by car you will need enough medications to last an extra day or two, and if your diabetic travel includes plane rides the rule of thumb is enough for three extra days.

That means you may need to talk with your doctor about getting extra insulin and supplies.

What You Need From Your Doctor and Pharmacy

While you are at the doctor's office, get written prescriptions to carry with you, and let him know where you are going. It is also a good idea to get up to date blood tests done and even a physical if it is getting close to time for one.

For plane trips, a doctor's note about your diabetic condition and any special needs is a great thing to have in the case with your insulin bottles and equipment.

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Also, if you are traveling to another country your doctor can supply you with anti-diarrheals and antibiotics to carry along as well.

Check the expiration dates on medications and test strips to make sure they do not expire while you are away from home. Buy extra batteries for your monitor and insulin pump if you have one.

It is also a good idea to have a backup glucose monitor to carry in a separate bag just in case the other one gets lost or broken.

If you are going to a non-English speaking country, learn the words for diabetes, insulin and phrases you might need, for instance "I need juice." And make sure you have your diabetic jewelry that states "Diabetic" clearly on it.

Diabetes Emergency Kit

Before you go anywhere, assemble a diabetic travel emergency kit. It should include glucose tablets, an anti-diarrhea medicine like Pepto-Bismol, and a laxative.

Then you will be prepared if traveling and diet changes make you constipated. The same diet changes can cause diarrhea too.

The emergency kit should contain a fever reducer like Tylenol and a pain reliever (aspirin or ibuprofen). A diabetic cough medicine is a good idea, and an antihistamine makes a pretty good remedy for motion sickness.

Put in a tube of antibacterial cream, a roll of gauze and tape for blisters and cuts, an antifungal (and yeast infection treatment for women), alcohol or Betadine, and insect repellent. Do not forget to put in the medications you got from your doctor.

Get a strong, insulated diabetic travel pack for your insulin and other supplies. Some packs have temperature controls in them. Remember, an open insulin bottle does not have to be refrigerated but it cannot get too hot or freeze either.

A Good Travel Checklist

Here is a useful diabetes checklist:

  • Pack a lot more syringes and test strips than you will need.
  • Pack an extra monitor and some batteries.
  • Pack your medical information list and include contact information for your doctors and family emergency numbers.
  • Put your prescriptions and doctor's notes in your diabetic travel pack with the insulin and equipment you will need, and keep them as carry on luggage if you fly, or stow them close to where you are sitting in the car.
  • Pack plenty of healthy diabetic travel snacks.
  • Pack diabetic shoes for walking and extra pairs of thick diabetic socks because you are probably going to walk a lot.
  • Do not forget to pack sun block, hat and sunglasses.
  • Pack your emergency kit.

Tips for While You Are Traveling

Set your watch alarm so you will eat at the proper times, regardless of time zones and itineraries. And watch for the time zone changes so you do not overdose or take diabetes medications later than you are supposed to.

If you are on a road trip you should not plan to be the designated driver unless you are confident about your blood sugar control and your insulin supplies. Driving adds to stress, and that can affect your blood sugar levels.

Check your blood glucose levels often, especially after you land from a plane flight, because jet lag can mask blood sugar lows even in a type 2 diabetic.

Also, during a long flight move around often to stave off blood clots. Be aware that injecting insulin on a flight can be difficult because cabin pressure sometimes affects the ability to draw up insulin. Take it slow.

While you are traveling be sure to check your feet every day. Do not go barefoot. If you hike, wear double thickness socks and good shoes. Remember, diabetics should never hike alone.

Diabetic travel does take extra planning and thought, but if you pack wisely diabetes will not hold you back. So get out and enjoy yourself.

Make sure you take care of your type 2 diabetic needs while you are far from home. Part of diabetic management involves knowing how to travel with type 2 diabetes.

  • "The world is round, and the place which may seem like the end may also be only the beginning." - Ivy Priest

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