Diabetes is an inconvenient disease at the best of times, but it doesn’t need to get in the way of traveling and enjoying life. It takes a little bit of extra preparation to stay healthy while traveling, but we believe that anyone can properly manage it. If you’re planning a trip, follow these tips to ensure your condition doesn’t get in the way of a much-needed getaway or work trip.
A little bit of paperwork can go a long way towards staying safe. Diabetic travelers should meet with their doctor to get a letter that documents their illness. It should explain that they have diabetes, list all of the tools and medication that they are carrying and explain the steps that they take to control it. It is also a good idea to get a prescription for those medications at the same time, just in case the supplies get lost or damaged.
Most travelers will also want to get a medical ID bracelet, which can help doctors quickly recognize and deal with emergencies. A TSA notification card can also be useful for people who are flying and want to get through security as quickly as possible.
That may seem like a lot, but most of it is easy to get. A simple trip to the doctor will be enough to prepare the bulk of the documentation.
Plan Appropriate Meals
It is usually possible to find appropriate food while traveling, but it is always better to be safe than sorry. People who are flying should make arrangements with the airline to get an appropriate meal or pack their own food. All diabetic travelers should also bring healthy snacks with them. If possible, it can also be a good idea to make dining reservations and plan safe meals at the destination to avoid unpleasant surprises. A little bit of advanced research on where you’re going can go a long way to keeping you healthy and happy.
Store Insulin Carefully
It can be tricky to transport insulin because it is vulnerable to changes in temperature. Open containers should stay at room temperature. Keep it in a cooler when driving, but avoid putting it on ice. Sealed containers need to stay cool, so they may need to stay in a refrigerator or in a chilled cooler. Getting this right is vital, so it is usually a good idea to check your storage plans with a doctor. If you’re flying, contact the airline to see what accommodations can be made ahead of time with your plane and its flight crew.
Take Breaks to Move
People with diabetes are much more prone to developing blood clots than the general population. Sitting for long periods of time during a long flight or a ride in the car can encourage those clots to form. It is a good idea to get up and walk around every hour or two during those long trips to help prevent clots or, when driving, to make regular stops to stretch your legs.
Talk to a Doctor
Planning for a trip is always a big project, and it is all too easy to forget about something important. The best way to stay safe and avoid problems is to discuss all travel plans with your doctor. They can explain how each planned activity can interact with diabetes and help you make better plans. Doctors can also help with other travel issues, such as getting vaccines and providing medical documentation. We encourage people to schedule an appointment with a doctor as early as possible to avoid needing to alter their plans at the last minute.