Traveling with Diabetes
Traveling during the holidays can be stressful. Add the extra burden of managing diabetes on top of that, and it can almost be too much. If you’re concerned about taking care of yourself on the road, here are a few things to consider:
Drink water on the road & in the air. Air travel in particular is dehydrating. Take extra care to drink plenty of sugar-free fluids while traveling.
Remember your meter! If you don’t know what your blood glucose is, you can’t know how to treat it. Also pack the phone number for your primary care physician & endocrinologist, if you have one.
Pack extra medication. When traveling internationally, you must keep medications in their original containers with their prescription labels attached. Per TSA, this is not required for domestic travel, but individual states have different rules, so you might want to 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 are allowed in excess of the 3.4 oz rule in amounts deemed reasonable for the flight.
Take extra insulin. For travel, I really like Frio Insulin Cooling Wallets. They’re designed to keep insulin pens or vials cool for 48 hours. They’re lightweight and portable and can be re-used over & over again, so they are definitely a good value.
Maintain your fitness routine. Yes, it’s much harder in a different place, away from your usual gym, your home treadmill, or the neighborhood streets where you are used to getting your daily walk. But, 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 a good way to keep up a strength training routine at home and on the go.
Keep counting carbs, just like you do at home. Unfortunately, diabetes travels with you.
Be aware that the stress of travel may increase your blood sugar. 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.
Safe travels this holiday season!