- You can still travel if you are diabetic, as long as you plan your trip carefully and control your blood glucose levels throughout.
- Prepare your medication and blood testing equipment beforehand, so that you have the correct amounts for your trip.
- When in transit, ensure that you have some snacks with you at all times to prevent low blood glucose levels.
In this day and age of increased mobility we often travel. People travel for work or go on holidays. They’re packing their bags and buying the essentials needed for the trip. However, there are also many people with diabetes who would like to travel, but are anxious about doing so because diabetes is a unique condition which requires the sufferer to control their blood glucose levels at all times. Diabetics need to take medication orally and through regular injections, and this is why some diabetics become anxious at the thought of traveling, which only increases their own stress levels.
In fact, diabetics can travel too. They just need to plan their trip carefully, so that their holiday is a time for happiness and celebration.
Advice for diabetics to ensure that a trip which may look like an upheaval becomes an exercise in simplicity:
- Plan your trip, so that you know exactly which places you will visit, how you will get there and how long you will be away for.
- Take the right equipment for your trip, such as comfortable shoes. Do not take new shoes, as they could cause blisters or irritation. Do not walk anywhere barefoot and be sure to check the condition of your feet each day.
- Prepare your medication or insulin and the equipment used for injections. Calculate how much you will need by calculating how long you will be away for, and then take some extra, just in case.
- Take a cool bag with you. This is important for diabetics who require insulin injections and need to carry the insulin on one’s person for overnight travel (insulin can be stored outside of a refrigerator in temperatures not exceeding 30°C for a period of about one month).
- Arrange snacks that can be easily carried and are conveniently consumed, such as milk and bread. These snacks will prevent low blood sugar levels if your traveling arrangements are delayed and you need to postpone a meal.
- Prepare a glucometer with all the necessary equipment and a spare battery. It is advisable to bring more than enough equipment in case your trip takes longer than anticipated.
- Carry your diabetic ID card, so that doctors will be aware of your condition in an emergency and treat the problem accordingly.
- Arrange and carry documentation or a medical certificate to confirm that you have diabetes and that you require medication, or always carry medical equipment including syringes with you.
- Inform the airline authority of your diabetes for trips which require air travel, and order airline food which is suitable for diabetics.
- Inform security personnel, as some medical equipment such as insulin pumps may not be able to pass a security scan. You should consult the instruction manuals, so that you are able to inform security personnel appropriately.
- Consult your doctor regarding the timings of your insulin injections while you are on your trip, because traveling by air often means a change of time zone which could cause an issue regarding the timings of your insulin injections.
- Test your blood glucose levels with a finger prick test when you arrive at your destination, to ensure close monitoring of blood sugar levels, especially if you’ve expended a lot of energy while travelling which may have caused a drop in blood glucose levels.
Nevertheless, long periods of travel are inadvisable for diabetics who cannot yet control their diabetes. If the trip is essential or cannot be postponed, seek medical advice from your doctor before traveling.
It’s no secret that one way of ensuring a fun trip is to relax as if you were at home. When it’s time for your medication, take it and inject it as your doctors advise you. Moreover, try not to view everything as a potential problem. Just following these steps can ensure that someone with diabetes can be as happy as any other person on their holidays.