6 Tips for Traveling with Diabetes
Fifteen years ago, when my oldest daughter was just 2 years-old, we found out that she had type 1 diabetes. It was a life changing moment, but we vowed from day one that we weren’t going to let this devastating diagnosis control our lives and keep our daughter from living the life she wanted.
We refuse to let diabetes stop us from traveling, although we have found that it takes a bit more planning and plenty of flexibility when we do. Hopefully I can pass on some of the knowledge that we have accumulated through years of traveling with a type 1 diabetic.
Tips for traveling with type 1 diabetes
Although someone with diabetes should NEVER leave home without their medical ID, it is especially important when you are traveling.
Pack twice as many supplies as you think you will need. Pack them all in your carry-on bag if you are flying or keep them near you in the car if you are driving. Your supply bag should include: insulin, syringes, pump supplies (if pumping), extra batteries, extra test strips, glucagon and fast acting sugar. Glucose gel or glucose tablets are preferable as they are the easiest to travel with and won’t leak like juice can.
Test blood sugar more frequently
Travel and changes in routine cause stress on your body and can significantly impact your blood sugar levels. Testing more often can help you catch an issue before it becomes a problem.
Just like in your everyday life, diabetes can be unpredictable during travel. Low blood sugar can occur more frequently when traveling. Make sure your schedule isn’t so demanding that you can’t sit down and recover from a low should it happen.
Ensure that you have a letter and current prescription from your doctor before you travel. This can save you issues at airports or if something happens to your medications and supplies while traveling.
Invest in cooling packs for carrying insulin
While insulin doesn’t need to be refrigerated, extreme temperatures can render it ineffective. To be on the safe side, carry your insulin in an insulated cooling pack to avoid loss of potency.
While traveling with diabetes is slightly more difficult, it’s definitely not impossible. Just follow the tips above and remember to always check with your doctor before traveling, to make sure that he or she doesn’t want you to take extra precautions when traveling with type 1 diabetes.
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