Travel when living
with diabetes

For diabetics, being well-prepared for a trip has an even greater significance. Here are some worry-free travel tips.

Before you leave

When choosing a travel destination or itinerary, you must consider the realities of the person living with diabetes. Eating at regular hours and having timely access to medical care are examples of elements to consider. Before booking a vacation, talk to your travel agent who will be able to help you.

It is advisable to see your doctor for a routine check-up at least one month before you leave. Talk to him/her about your itinerary, meal schedule, medication, possible vaccinations, or about any medication adjustments according to time differences. Also, if you plan on carrying syringes and needles onboard, be prepared, since most airports and airlines require a letter signed by a doctor.

Before you leave, here are a few helpful tips:

  • Pass by the pharmacy to obtain a complete list of your medications, including the original and generic name of each drug and its dosage. Keep a copy with you at all times.
  • Refill your medications.
  • Be sure to bring enough medication for the entire trip and bring some extra for unforeseeable circumstances.
  • Wear a medical bracelet or necklace identifying your diabetic condition;
  • Be sure to have travel insurance;
  • Remember to bring your blood glucose meter and its essentials (test strips, lancets, batteries, and alcohol swabs);
  • If you use insulin, ask your doctor or pharmacist if you should change your insulin dosage according to the time difference, if this applies.

Upon arrival at your destination

Once you've arrived at your destination, make sure to store your medications and the necessary material to monitor your blood glucose at the recommended temperatures. Most blood glucose meters cannot be exposed to extreme temperatures. It is generally recommended to store it and test strips away from light and humidity between 15 and 35° C (this may vary depending on the blood glucose meter).

This also applies to medications. Most medications should be stored between 15 and 30° C, unless otherwise specified. Furthermore, insulin can be stored in a non-refrigerated environment for up to 30 days if it is stored between 15 and 30° C. During travel, and once you have arrived at your destination, you may find it useful to store the insulin in an insulated (or thermal) bag.

It's normal for your eating habits to change while you travel. However, it is important to check your blood glucose more often to ensure better monitoring. Try to eat at regular intervals and make healthy food choices. A little alcohol is often a pleasant ritual while on vacation. In general, alcohol should be consumed in moderation. If you take a little alcohol, be sure to monitor your blood glucose more often.

Diabetes should not interfere with your travel plans. Several associations provide documentation and advice for travellers who live with diabetes.

Don't hesitate to ask your pharmacist for advice if you are planning a trip and have diabetes.

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Travel when living with diabetes

Travel is one of the best ways of getting away from the daily grind and enjoying life to the fullest. Choice of destination and planning are some of the key elements for a successful trip. For people living with diabetes, being well-prepared for travel is even more important.
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