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10 Tips for Traveling with Diabetes

Traveling with diabetes can seem daunting at first, but planning can make it easy and fun. Don’t forego your vacation simply because you have diabetes! Here’s what you need to know about traveling with diabetes.

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  1. See your doctor before you travel. Visit your doctor before you leave to make sure you are in good health and get any prescriptions you might need, especially insulin, which comes in different strengths abroad. Ask to get a prescription for a glucagon kit for emergencies. Get a copy of your updated immunizations and health record to take with you. Also, ask for any advice on injecting insulin and managing diabetes while traveling. 
  2. Store medications properly. Make sure you have a cooler for medications that need to be refrigerated. In addition, keep the original labels on your prescriptions. Always make sure insulin stays at the right temperature and doesn’t freeze or get too hot.
  3. Keep important documents at hand. Keep your health insurance card with you at all times. Also keep your doctor’s name and phone number, medical records, and a list of medications, and a list of allergies. Wear a medical alert ID (bracelet, necklace, etc.) so emergency service personnel will know how to help you if you’re unable to communicate. 
  4. Visit the TSA. Find out everything you need to do ahead of time to be prepared for traveling with diabetes. Get a TSA notification card that lets people know you have diabetes. This is not required, but it might be helpful as you make your way through airports. Also see your airline’s website to make sure what you can bring on the flight and any rules they have for diabetes supplies.  
  5. Check the CDC. Look at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Traveler’s Health website to research getting special immunizations for traveling overseas.
  6. Pack extra supplies. You never know what might happen on your traveling adventures. Pack more supplies than you think you will need for your time away. Carry all your supplies with you in a carry-on. Make sure to include healthy snacks, water, and sources of sugar. 
  7. Speak up. People might not understand what your equipment is, so be sure to tell them that you have diabetes. It will be easier telling them upfront than getting flagged later. Airlines may also be able to provide specialized meals for you on the flight. 
  8. Stick to your schedule. Make sure to eat at the same times and in the same amount as you usually do. For blood sugar testing, test more often than you would normally since you will be in a new environment. 
  9. Take care of your feet. Wear comfortable shoes and bring extra shoes just in case. Keep a first-aid kit handy. Don’t walk barefoot in case you injure your foot, and check your feet each night for cuts and sores. 
  10. Get medical care. If you notice an infection, inflammation, or you are not feeling well, see a medical professional as soon as you can. 

Following these essential tips will make your vacation go smoothly. Whether you are visiting family or taking a long-awaited bucket list adventure, your diabetes doesn’t have to hold you back.