After more than a year of lockdown and quarantine and visiting people through computer screens, folks are itching to travel again. With the end of the COVID-19 pandemic seemingly in sight, people are making plans to get in cars and hop on planes to visit beaches, mountains, distant cities, or far-flung loved ones.
And if you are one of these people and have diabetes, your travel plans need to include managing your diabetes as thoughtfully and vigilantly as you do at home. That requires preparation, ensuring that you have the items and resources you need to keep your condition in check and address any issues that may arise during your trip.
So, as you pack your bags for your first big adventure in a while, also pack away these four travel tips for people with diabetes
#1: Talk To Your Doctor Before Your Trip
To make sure you are healthy enough to travel, schedule an examination with your physician before you are supposed to leave. Also, make sure you are current on all immunizations (this, of course, includes your COVID-19 shots) and get them several weeks prior to departure to let any side effects pass and ensure that they are at full efficacy.
Also ask your physician for a letter that contains the following information:
- How you treat your diabetes (e.g., diabetes pills, insulin shots)
- All medicines and equipment needed to manage your diabetes (for example, insulin, syringes, and other drugs or devices)
- Allergies to foods or medicine
#2: Pack Once, But Pack Twice As Much
You don’t want to run short on anything you need to manage your diabetes, so try to pack twice as much as you need. If you are checking luggage or otherwise will be separated from your belongings for a while, make sure you keep what you need or half of what you’re bringing in a carry-on bag or with you at all times.
Your packing should include:
- All the insulin and syringes you need for your journey, plus some extras
- Blood- and urine-testing supplies; including extra batteries for your glucose meter or other devices
- All oral medications
- Other medicines or medical supplies
- Your ID and diabetes identification card
- A tightly wrapped, airtight snack pack of crackers or cheese, fruit, peanut butter, juice, and some form of sugar (such as hard candy or glucose tablets) to treat low blood sugar
#3: Store Your Insulin Properly
You don’t need to refrigerate insulin, but you also need to avoid storing it in extremely hot or cold temperatures. That means if you’re traveling where it’s very warm, you should avoid keeping a lot of insulin in a backpack or car. You can purchase an insulated travel pack to keep your insulin supply cool.
#4: Adjust or Increase the Frequency of Blood Sugar Level Checks
Activities, diet, and routines all get disrupted when you travel. While these changes are all usually welcome parts of being on vacation, they can wreak havoc on your diabetes if you’re not careful.
Long days of exertion while seeing the sights or lazy afternoons by the poolside in the hot sun can quickly increase your blood glucose levels. If you traveled far from home, changes in time zones can further throw off your normal blood sugar rhythms. All of this means you need to be even more vigilant about checking your blood glucose levels than you are at home.
Be prepared to check your levels more frequently or at different times of day than you usually would.
Fortunately for many people with diabetes, their relaxing vacation no longer needs to be interrupted with the inconvenience of finger-pricking. Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) is a tested, approved, and easy-to-use transceiver device that helps those with diabetes stay in control of their condition and their lives without the need for inconvenient and burdensome finger-pricking multiple times a day. Small and compact, CGM makes for a perfect travel companion. Before you set sail on your next trip. ask your doctor about CGM and contact us today to see if you qualify for CGM and access our guide to continuous glucose monitoring.