Can I plan a diabetes travel and journey?
If yes, how to enjoy and have fun as a diabetic?What are the diabetic supplies I should take with me?
How to deal with an emergency when traveling?
Let's go step by step and give the answers to all your questions.
"Yes, you can”. As a diabetic you may plan whatever journey or travel you want to make. Nothing changes in your plans. You may go on holidays, or even in a business trip whenever and where-ever you want.
However, you should take some precautions before leaving and during your journey. You should make some changes to all your daily activities: from meal plannings to other activities.
What to prepare before going on a journey?
You should talk to your physician that you are planning to travel, explain what kind of travel it is, and listen carefully and follow accurately all the advices he/she will give you.
Discuss with your doctor if you need any other prescription (an extra one) or any other letter you may need (when written you have diabetes, and what therapy and diet you are following).
Also, it is very important to have some info about the place you are going to, especially regarding the facilities they provide for diabetics as you.
When you buy your ticket, tell to the traveling agency you are dealing with that you are a diabetic, and need special (diabetic) meals and care.
Check with your physician the possible changes your blood sugar level will have, since different time zones affects your blood glucose differently.
Diabetes travel and journey – What diabetic supplies should I take with me?
It is very important to take all your testing meter, strips and needles with you (inside carry-on luggage). You need to perform the blood sugar test more often.
You should provide a list of medications you are having, together with a medical document which identifies you as a diabetic, and has you doctors name and any contact number.
Extremely important is to carry your “sugar-helpers” in cases of hypoglycemia. Table sugar is a very good source to quickly raise blood sugar levels in cases of hypoglycemia.
Diabetes travel and journey – insulin precautions
Before leaving, check if you have all the diabetic supplies with you and tell to the security you're a diabetic carrying the supplies. Pay attention to the label of manufacture for each of your diabetic supply.
Check if you have the syringes (if you are injecting insulin), or if you have the insulin pump (if you wear an insulin pump) with the accurate meter. Do not allow security to remove of change your meter.
Pay attention to the physical conditions you keep the insulin you're taking. Be careful not to put it in sun (directly) or/and not to freeze it.
In case you are flying on a plane, and you have to take your insulin injection during the flight, take them at the right time. The only change you must do is about the air you put into the insulin bottle. It must be half as much as you normally do. This is due to the differences of pressure in the airplanes compared to the ground.
Diabetes travel and journey – how to deal with an emergency when traveling outside my country?
In all cases of emergency, look for Red Cross or any medical school. Don't forget to carry your “sugar-packets” with you, if you feel you're experiencing a hypoglycemic episode.
If you are experiencing other emergency episodes, you may ask people for help or where the nearest medical school is. And don't forget to learn few words of the country you are traveling in, such as “I have diabetes”, “I need help”, “I need sugar”, “where is the hospital”, etc.
Diabetes travel and journey – feet care
As a diabetic, you should take proper care of your feet, especially when you are going on vacation. Don't forget to take two or more pairs of shoes with you in order to frequently get them changed.
Avoid going barefoot. Although you may go at seaside, always wear that kind of shoes which are suitable to walk on beach or ocean. Try not to wear open-toe shoes, to avoid any food injuries or problems, and to get them always freshened.
Written by Dr.Albana Greca Sejdini, Md, MMedSc
Medically reviewed by Dr.Ruden Cakoni, MD, Endocrinologist