Managing diabetes during travel is much the same as managing it at home. It is important to plan ahead for travel-related changes, such as delays in meals and lost luggage.
Here are a few travel tips:
- Take your testing supplies, injection supplies, medications and glucose tablets in your carry-on luggage (car, bus or plane).
- Keep a supply of snacks with you in case your meals are unexpectedly delayed. (Include a carbohydrate and protein – talk to a diabetes team member about what options are best for you).
- Try to avoid sitting for long periods. Get up and stretch whenever possible. If you are in a car, make regular stops to get up and walk around.
- On a road trip, plan ahead so that the timing of your insulin, meals, snacks and exercise doesn’t change.
- If you are going through customs, take a note from your doctor, nurse practitioner or diabetes educator explaining that you have diabetes and you require special supplies like lancets and syringes.
- Carry a prescription for your medicines and syringes. It’s not a bad idea to have a travel companion carrying duplicate copies.
- Take twice as many supplies than you plan to use. You could be delayed or unable to find a drug store if you are traveling outside the country.
- If you are crossing time zones your insulin schedules may need some adjustments.
- Talk to a diabetes team member about your travel plans.
- Test your blood glucose when travelling. This is a good way to see how the change in your routine is affecting your diabetes control.
- Remember to drink plenty of sugar-free fluids, especially on an airplane.
- If possible take an aisle seat and stretch your legs walking up and down the aisles.
Travelling with Increased Security Measures
Transport Canada has outlined several tips to help avoid unnecessary delays. Inform security that you have diabetes and that you are carrying your supplies on board. You should also have a letter from your physician which indicates that you have diabetes and that if you have any difficulty throughout the screening process, you can request to speak to the screening supervisor. If you are travelling outside Canada, consult with your airline for applicable international regulations. Advanced planning will help keep the fun in your vacation!