Tips for Traveling with Diabetes Medicines
It’s nearly summer, time for a trip
beach, the mountains, or beyond. Wherever you’re vacationing, some
advance planning will help ensure you have a healthy trip. Before you
travel, here is what to do:
Before you hit the road, get a
letter from your doctor explaining
how you take care of your diabetes. If you use insulin or any other
medications or devices, it should list them. In case of emergency, you
should also have a prescription for insulin or oral medication.
Are you traveling outside the U.S.? Be aware that prescription laws
may be different in other countries than they are in the U.S. You can
get a list of International Diabetes Federation groups from www.idf.org.You
may also want to get a list of English-speaking doctors in the country
or countries you plan to visit. Contact the International Association
for Medical Assistance to Travelers at www.iamat.org.
Pack at least twice as much medication and glucose-testing equipment
as you expect to need. Have a carry-on bag with you at all times that
fruit, a juice box, and hard candy or glucose tablets
When flying, you can request a special meal; check with your
airlines to find out how much in advance you need to do this. If you
use insulin, wait until you see your meal coming before you give
yourself an injection so a delay doesn’t result in low blood sugar. To
be safe, always carry some food with you.
Think about where you’ll store your insulin. It doesn’t have to be
refrigerated, but storing it somewhere hot, such as in the glove
compartment, or somewhere very cold, on ice, for example, can cause it
lose strength. Look for a travel pack that keeps insulin cool.
If you use insulin and plan to travel to another time zone, consult
with your doctor or diabetes educator before you leave. If you’re
heading east, you’ll have a shorter day, meaning you may need less
insulin; if you go west, the longer day may mean you’ll need more
When you reach your destination, especially if you’ve had a long
trip, take it easy for a few days. Check your blood sugar often. When
you’re out seeing the sights, wear comfortable shoes and don’t go
barefoot. Check your feet daily for blisters, scratches, or redness,
and seek medical care at the first sign of any of these.
Make taking care of your diabetes a priority on your travels, and
you’ll be rewarded with a fun and healthy vacation. Bon voyage!