Reviewed by Di Bush, PhD
If you have diabetes, you can do anything and go anywhere. It just takes a little extra planning.
Before any trip, ask for these two things from your healthcare provider:
- a letter stating that you have diabetes. It should include a list of the medicines and supplies you need to manage your diabetes.
- a prescription for insulin, supplies, and any other medicines that you take. Although you should always pack more than enough of your insulin and other medicines, this prescription could be useful in an emergency.
Don’t forget! No matter where your travels take you, ALWAYS wear diabetes medical ID bracelet or necklace.
When planning a vacation, it is a good idea to see your healthcare provider at least one month before you leave on your trip. He or she can check if your diabetes is well controlled. If it is not in control, you should have enough time to make any changes in your diabetes care before you leave.
What you should pack
Packing the right amount of clothing, shoes and toiletries is always tricky. The rule of thumb for packing your diabetes medicines and supplies is: Pack at least twice as much of your medicines and blood testing supplies as you think you’ll need. At least half of these items should be placed in your carry-on suitcase or bag and kept with you at all times.
While on vacation you may choose to store your insulin at room temperature instead of in the refrigerator. Be sure to keep your insulin out of extreme temperatures. Don’t leave it in a hot or cold car where it can get too warm or freeze. Be careful if you use your hotel room’s refrigerator to store insulin. Small refrigerators often have uneven temperatures and may freeze your insulin, causing it to spoil. A better idea is to bring a pack that is made to store insulin.
Many vacations require a lot of walking. Keep this in mind when you pack your shoes. Bring good-fitting shoes and comfortable socks to avoid foot injuries, such as blisters. And don’t forget to check your feet each night for blisters or other sore areas.
Once you are there
When traveling, it can be difficult to keep a regular schedule. To avoid problems, be sure to check your blood glucose levels often. Keep track of what you eat, so you can see how new and different foods affect your blood glucose levels.
Pay attention to your activity level. If you are in a tropical area, you may do a lot of relaxing on the beach, while in the mountains, you may enjoy long days of hiking or bike riding. Adjust your food intake and insulin according to your level of activity.
Your diabetes does not have to get in the way of your vacation fun. Follow the simple suggestions above, and you will be able to have an enjoyable time wherever your summer travels take you.
YOUR CARRY-ON BAG SHOULD INCLUDE
– all your oral medicines.
– all the insulin and syringes you’ll need for the trip.
– your blood glucose meter, extra batteries and testing supplies.
– snacks, such as fruit, cheese and cracker packages and some form of sugar to treat low blood glucose levels, if necessary.
– a letter and prescription from your health care provider.
– bandages and other first aid items, such as triple antibiotic ointment.