Traveling around the globe or even to a nearby destination for a weekend is something everyone looks forward to. But when you have diabetes you know that managing your medication and keeping everything under control while away from home could be an obstacle. As in most cases though “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” and the following tips can help you prepare for a carefree holiday away from home !
6 things to remember if you are travelling with diabetes
- Pack at least twice as much medication and supplies as you will need in a separate, clear plastic bag in your carry-on bag. This is your “travel kit.”
- Pack healthy snacks.
- Stay active on your trip.
- Remember to choose healthy food options when eating out so you feel good. Don’t be afraid to ask a waiter to give you details on menu items.
- If changing time zones, be sure to update the time on your insulin pump, blood sugar meter and/or continuous glucose monitor (CGM).
- Have your medical ID with you at all times.
Your special travel kit should include the following things:
- Insulin, medications, syringes, pump supplies and batteries
- CGM supplies, blood sugar and urine testing supplies
- Extra batteries
- Prescriptions for all medications and supplies
- Glucagon emergency kit
- ID and diabetes identity card
- Healthy snacks such as nuts, fresh fruit and pre-cut vegetables, packs of crackers or cheese or peanut butter crackers
- A form of quick acting sugar (hard candy or glucose tablets) to treat low blood sugar
On the plane
Put your travel kit in your carry-on bag if you are traveling by air.
Make sure to visit the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) website for updates before heading to the airport. This is so important because TSA regulations can change on a daily basis. According to the TSA, all items needed for your diabetes care are allowed through the checkpoint once they have been properly screened by security. You should declare these items and separate them from other belongings before the security screening begins. Have them in your special travel kit.
If you use an insulin pump and/or CGM, you can be screened without disconnecting from the device. According to the makers of insulin pumps and the CGM, these devices should not be worn through imaging technology or go through X-ray while in a carry-on bag. Screening should be conducted either by pat down or use of a metal detector. It is important that you inform the TSA officer about your pump or CGM prior to your screening process.
In the car
If traveling by car, make sure you stop at a rest stop every two to four hours to get out, walk and stretch your body for healthy circulation. Keep your travel kit within reach for easy access when you need it. Remember that medications, especially insulin, need to be protected from extreme temperature changes and sunlight so an insulated container may be a good investment.
With all things in order, have a great trip! There is no reason not to!