If you have diabetes, traveling can seem like a daunting task. But it doesn't have to be! With a little bit of preparation, you can travel easily and make sure your diabetes is well-managed while on the road.
This blog post will discuss the essentials that you need to pack when traveling with diabetes. We will also provide a complete traveling with diabetes checklist for you to use to prepare for anything that comes your way!
Pre-departure Checklist to Travel With Diabetes
When you have diabetes, traveling becomes a bit more complicated, and you have to do some pre-planning before your trip. Besides some extra planning and attention to detail, people with diabetes can do everything. Whether traveling by air nationally or internationally, with a boat or going camping, we have some tips to make your travel hassle-free.
You need to check with your doctor. Make sure you have a good handle on your diabetes and that it is well-managed before you travel. It is also important to get travel insurance in case of any medical emergencies while you are away from home.
You will want to ensure that you have all of the necessary supplies packed and ready to go. This includes medical supplies like a blood glucose meter, extra insulin, test strips, syringes, and insulin pump supplies (if you use one). You will also want to pack plenty of snacks, drinks, and glucose tablets to stay fueled throughout your travels and ensure your blood glucose levels remain under control.
Of course, there is more to it than just the above. Let's get down into the nitty-gritty and explain things more in detail.
Get a Medical Check-up Before Departure
It's not bad advice to get a medical check-up before traveling, even if you don't have a chronic illness like diabetes. If you have diabetes, it is essential to get a medical check-up before traveling. The medical check-up will help ensure that your diabetes is under reasonable control and that there are no underlying health issues that could flare up while away from home.
Your doctor can also provide you with a list of necessary supplies and medications that you should pack for your trip. They can also offer guidance on best managing your diabetes while traveling.
Medical Certificate and Prescriptions
If you are traveling by air, you will need to have a medical certificate from your doctor stating that you have diabetes and are fit to fly. You will also need to carry all your diabetes supplies and medications in their original containers with prescriptions. It is a good idea to keep these items in your carry-on luggage if your checked baggage gets lost.
Carrying extra prescriptions with you may come in handy when you run out of supplies while on your trip. Be sure to pack them in a safe place so they don't get damaged or lost.
Travel Health Insurance for Diabetics
If you have diabetes, it is essential to have travel insurance. This will protect you in the event of any medical emergencies while you are away from home. Travel insurance will also cover the cost of any medical care that you may need while on your trip. Health insurance comes in all forms and shapes, so ensure that you get the coverage you need for your trip.
There are many different types of travel insurance, so it is essential to research the best policy for you. Some policies will cover pre-existing medical conditions like diabetes, while others will not. Be sure to read the fine print before purchasing a policy to make sure it meets your needs.
What to Pack When Traveling With Diabetes
It's vital to bring enough and sometimes too much of your medical supplies and diabetes medications. When in doubt, pack it! Here is a list of essential items to bring with you when traveling with diabetes:
Blood sugar testing supplies (lancet device, needles, blood glucose meter, or continuous glucose meter.
Insulin, insulin pens, and insulin needles
A backup supply of insulin and diabetes medications
Insulin pump and supplies
An emergency glucagon kit
Snacks and drinks to keep your blood sugar stable
A medical ID bracelet or necklace
Prescriptions and medical documentation
This is not an exhaustive list, but it should give you a good idea of what to pack. Ask your doctor or healthcare team for guidance on what else to bring when in doubt. They will be able to help you based on your individual needs.
Bring Enough Diabetes Supplies and Treatment
When traveling with diabetes, it is essential to pack plenty of supplies. This includes things like extra insulin, extra test strips, extra syringes, and pump supplies. It would be best if you also packed snacks and drinks to keep your energy and blood glucose levels up throughout your travels.
Packing snacks and drinks will help you avoid low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia). It is also a good idea to pack some high-sugar foods or drinks in case you experience severe hypoglycemia and need a quick sugar fix.
Pack Your Diabetic Supplies Properly
When traveling with diabetes, it is essential to pack your supplies safely and securely. This includes packing them in two bags (regular and carry-on bag) if one gets lost. It is also good to keep the original containers and labels visible if you need to declare or have a TSA officer do a check.
You should never pack your diabetic supplies in your checked luggage if you fly. Instead, always carry them on the plane with you. It can be dangerous if they are stored in the plane's hold. Your insulin and continuous glucose meter are very sensitive to changes in temperature, so they could be damaged if stowed in the plane's hold.
Insulin can be stored and carried in an insulin cooler, and your diabetic supplies are best held in a specially made bag for your supplies.
Tips for Managing Diabetes While on the Road
Besides all the travel and packing details, there are a few more tips to help you manage your diabetes while on the road:
Be sure to check your blood sugar levels regularly, at least every four hours.
Carry snacks and drinks with you if you experience low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia).
If possible, try to stick to your usual routine as much as possible. This includes things like meals, bedtimes, and medications.
If you are traveling by car, be sure to stop and take breaks often to move around and stay active.
Wear comfortable shoes and loose-fitting clothing to avoid any issues with circulation.
Make sure you have a medical ID bracelet or necklace that says you have diabetes.
Keep Your Insulin Cool
Storing insulin at the correct temperature is essential to its efficacy. Insulin should be stored in a cool, dry place and kept at temperatures within a range of 36°F to 46°F. One way to ensure that your insulin stays cool is to use an insulin cooler.
These coolers from 4AllFamily are designed to store insulin at a safe temperature between 48 and 72 hours while you travel. They usually come with ice packs or gel packs that you can put in the freezer before you leave on your trip. Others can work on USB
These coolers are designed to keep other diabetes injectable medications like Ozempic, Victoza, and Trulicity cool.
Pack Diabetic Snacks for the Road
If you travel for a long while, you will need to stop for food and gas. Packing healthy snacks and drinks will help you avoid low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia). It is also a good idea to pack some high-sugar foods or drinks in case you experience severe hypoglycemia and need a quick sugar fix.
What to Do if You Experience a Diabetic Emergency While Traveling
If there is anything that we would like to avoid during travel, it's a diabetic emergency. Unfortunately, sometimes they do happen. If you experience an emergency while traveling, the first thing you should do is stay calm. Then follow these steps:
If you have severe hypoglycemia, eat or drink something with sugar right away. Stop any physical activity and check your blood sugar levels regularly.
If you cannot eat or drink, seek help from others, call 911, or go to the nearest hospital emergency room right away.
The Importance of Staying Healthy While Traveling
When you have diabetes, it is imperative to take care of your health while traveling and keep your diabetes management under control. It will help you not get into any trouble. This means eating healthy meals, exercising regularly, and taking your medications as prescribed. It is also good to get travel insurance if you experience any medical emergencies while away from home.
One last tip that we would like to share is to keep an eye on time zones as they might change while you are crossing borders. When flying by air, keep in mind that you can have delayed meals. Adjust your insulin dosages accordingly.
If you have diabetes, it is vital to take precautions before traveling. Ensure you have the necessary health insurance and pack a well-rounded supply of diabetic supplies and medications. It is also a good idea to bring snacks and drinks that will help keep your blood sugar levels stable. You should also be prepared for any potential medical emergencies while on your trip. By following these tips, you can make traveling with diabetes much easier and less stressful.