How to Travel with Diabetes

Update: Travel may not be recommended during the Coronavirus Pandemic. Check travel recommendations in your local area and in your destination before leaving home.

It can be stressful to travel with diabetes. Delayed flights and road construction can be a lot to handle when you’re feeling great. Add the extra burden of managing diabetes on top of that, and it can almost be too much. Keep your cool when you travel with diabetes by taking note of these tips:

Stay hydrated while traveling with diabetes

Air travel, in particular, is dehydrating. Dehydration can raise the concentration of glucose in your blood. Take extra care to drink plenty of water and other sugar-free fluids while traveling. Avoid caffeine as much as possible.

Keep your glucometer handy when you travel with diabetes

If you don’t usually have extreme blood sugars, you might be tempted to leave your meter at home when you travel. But you never know when you’ll need to check, so pack that glucometer anyway. It’s also a good idea to take the phone number for your primary care physician and your endocrinologist with you on your trip.

Pack extra diabetes medication for your trip

When traveling internationally, you must keep medicines in their original containers with their prescription labels attached. Per TSA, retaining the original packaging is not required for domestic travel, but individual states have different rules. Check ahead of time with your destination state to find out whether you need to keep medication in its original packaging. When traveling with insulin on planes, be aware that liquid medications in amounts over 3.4 oz are allowed if deemed reasonable for the flight.

The best diabetes travel case for keeping insulin safe

For travel, I like Frio Insulin Cooling Wallets. They’re designed to keep insulin pens or vials cool for 48 hours. They’re lightweight, portable, and reusable, so they are a good value.

Maintain your fitness routine when you travel

If you take care of your body’s need for exercise, your blood glucose will be in much better control during your travels. Pack your sneakers and commit to catching up with a loved one during a walk. Fitness bands are lightweight and portable, and an excellent way to keep up a strength training routine at home and on the go.

Keep counting carbs when you travel

Unfortunately, diabetes travels with you. It’s really tempting to take a vacation from carb counting, but you’ll probably wind up feeling badly on vacation when your blood sugar gets out of whack. Make self-care a priority no matter where you are in the world.

Be aware that the stress of travel may increase your blood sugar

A stressful travel schedule can wreak havoc on your blood sugar control. Alternatively, a hectic travel schedule with missed meals may cause blood sugar to go low. It’s a good idea to wear a bracelet or another form of ID that lets people know you may need care for diabetes. If you’re traveling with others, make them aware of your condition, as well as the location of your blood glucose monitor and other supplies for managing your diabetes.

Traveling with diabetes can definitely be stressful, but having your meter and plenty of supplies with you means you’ll have one less thing to worry about on your adventure. Safe travels!

Julie Cunningham

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