Traveling as a diabetic is easy and stress-free, if you are prepared. By taking time beforehand to get organized, you can avoid unnecessary worry when there are unforeseen circumstances or changes in travel plans. Use the following tips as a guideline and you will be well equipped for your next business or vacation trip.
1. Call your airline ahead of time and inquire about the policy for carry-on diabetic supplies such as glucose meters, insulin and syringes. Most airlines allow all diabetic supplies to be carried on the plane, just be sure to keep your syringes and lancets capped. As an extra precaution, keep all medications in their original boxes with prescription labels adhered. You may wish to notify airline security at baggage checkpoints that you are a diabetic and are traveling with supplies.
2. Always pack twice as many supplies as you think you will need for your trip. There may be delays in your return travel due to natural disasters, airport closures, hospitalization, etc. Supplies also may get accidentally ruined, such as dropping a syringe on the floor or exposing test strips to moisture. You will not want the headache of trying to refill prescriptions or purchase supplies away from home, especially if you are in another country.
3. Pack enough food and snacks in your carry-on to feed you for an entire day. You may not find healthy options at the airport and prefer to stick with familiar foods. Do not count on eating an in-flight meal or snack on long flights. You may not care for the selection, the meals might run out before the attendant reaches you or perhaps, due to turbulence, the meal will be delayed by several hours. Always be prepared to eat when you need to and to eat food that fits into your diabetic plan. Some carry-on friendly foods are cheese and cracker packs, individual string cheese, whole fruit, nuts, packaged tuna and crackers, and protein bars.
4. Wear medical identification on your wrist or neck, especially if traveling alone. Emergency and hospital personnel are trained to check your wrist and neck for this information. Should anything ever happen to you and you could not speak, this identification could save your life. The bracelet or necklace should state, at a minimum, that you are a diabetic. If you take any oral medication or insulin, it is a smart idea to have this information engraved. Medical I.D. can range anywhere from less than ten dollars to hundreds of dollars, depending on how extravagant you choose to be. Click on our Free Stuff link to see an offer for a free diabetic I.D. necklace.
5. Make an effort to adhere to your diabetes routine. Review your itinerary ahead of your departure and allot time for testing your blood sugar, giving medication and eating on a regular schedule. You should have a clear idea of how your diabetes care will fit into your travel plans well before you leave home.
Keep these tips in mind and your diabetes should not give you any cause for concern!