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.
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.
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.
Also, if you are traveling to another country your doctor can supply you with anti-diarrheals and antibiotics to carry along as well.
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.
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.
Here is a useful diabetes checklist:
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.