Travel & Diabetes
Being Prepared is the Best Way to Fully Enjoy your Vacation!
Hooray your trip is booked and you are ready to start packing. Getting ready and packing for a trip is half the fun! What should you consider if you live with diabetes? You may need to consider if there is a significant change in time zones. More than 24 hours in a day or less than 24 hours can impact how much medication or insulin your body needs. Your Diabetes Education Team can help you come up with an insulin plan for the day of travel or they can help remind you of things to pack to help you manage your diabetes while away. See sample packing list here.
Special Considerations for Travel
- Be sure to carry your insulin and needle tips with you at all times
- Liquids over 100 mL that are needed (i.e.insulin, juice or gels to treat hypoglycemia) can be brought on carry-on as long as the security officer is notified
- Never store insulin in checked luggage because it may be exposed to extreme temperatures which can change its effectiveness
- The security scanners used at check-in will not normally damage your insulin or blood glucose meter
- Always inspect your insulin before injecting each dose
- Advise the screening officer in advance if you use an insulin pump and/or CGM such as Dexcom or Libre. The walk-through body scanner and the x-ray machine can affect the functioning of insulin pumps
- Try to do some form of activity during your journey such as: walking around the terminal while you wait, stretching in your seat, moving your ankles in circles and raising your legs to improve circulation
- Consider compression stockings
- “5 to Drive” is an important phrase to remember. Check blood sugar before you leave home to ensure it is over 5.0 mmol/L before you get behind the wheel and test every 4 hours during your trip
- Stop every few hours to stretch your legs to improve circulation
- Limit your driving to 12 hours/day
- Keep supplies to treat low blood sugar at an arm’s length reach
- Be cautious and let others know where you are going and when you expect to be back
- Bring along a first aid kit and if you use insulin; an emergency glucagon kit
- Bring extra food, water and treatment for hypoglycemia
- Choose from the low-carb menu more often and take advantage of the stairs, walking decks and physical activity adventures
- Be very careful and consider avoiding walking barefoot on sand. This can burn the bottoms of your feet
- Wear sunscreen, this is good advice for everyone but especially true if you live with diabetes. A sunburn can riase your blood sugar levels
- Hydrate, hydrate and hydrate some more with water! Dehydration can raise blood sugar levels as well as impact your whole body.
After all the planning and packing is done it is time to sit back, relax and enjoy your trip!