Health Encyclopedia

 

Document Search by P01427



Traveling with DiabetesViajar con Diabetes

Traveling with Diabetes

Planning ahead is the key to traveling with diabetes. People with diabetes can enjoy all kinds of recreational travel from a week at the beach, to camping in the Rockies, to sightseeing across Europe. The American Diabetes Association provides the helpful suggestions below for people with diabetes who are planning to travel.

Taking special care when traveling with diabetes

Be sure to have a complete medical examination well before you travel to make sure your diabetes is under control. This will allow enough time for immunizations, if you need them, and give you time to recover from any side effects. Also ask your physician to give you a letter with the following information:

  • How your diabetes is treated (diabetes pills, insulin shots)

  • All medications and equipment needed to manage your diabetes (for example, insulin, syringes, and other medications or devices)

  • Allergies to foods or medication

Also have your doctor give you a prescription for insulin or diabetes pills. You should take more than enough of your medication and syringes to last through the trip with you, but, in case of emergency, the prescription may help.

Prescription laws may be very different in other countries. If you are traveling abroad, contact International Diabetes Federation groups for more information. You may also want to get a list of doctors in the countries you are traveling to before you leave.

It is important to wear a medical ID bracelet or necklace that shows you have diabetes. If traveling to other countries, you may also want to learn a few key phrases, such as "I have diabetes," in the languages of the countries you will be visiting.

Packing for preparedness

Be sure to pack at least twice as much medication and blood-testing supplies as you think you will need. At least half of these should be with you in your carry-on bag, which you should have with you at all times.

When packing, be sure to include the following items:

  • All the insulin and syringes you need for the trip, plus some extras

  • Blood- and urine-testing supplies; be sure to include extra batteries for your glucose meter

  • All oral medications

  • Other medications or medical supplies

  • Your ID and diabetes identification card

  • A well-wrapped, airtight snack pack of crackers or cheese, peanut butter, fruit, a juice box, and some form of sugar (hard candy or glucose tablets) to treat low blood glucose

  • Keep the labels on all medicines and supplies. You may need these during the security check for air travel.

Before you fly, be sure to request a special meal low in sugar, fat, and cholesterol at least 48 hours in advance. Always carry some food with you in case your meal is delayed or there is a mistake in your order. Wait until you see your food coming down the aisle to take your insulin shot, otherwise, if your meal is delayed, you could experience low blood glucose.

Plan for crossing time zones 

If you take insulin shots and will be crossing time zones, talk with your doctor or other health care professional before your trip. Ask for help, based on your itinerary, in planning the timing of your injections while you travel. Eastbound travel means a shorter day, so if you inject insulin, you may need less. Traveling westbound means a longer day, so more insulin may be needed. To help you keep track of shots and meals through changing time zones, keep your watch on your home time zone until the morning after you arrive.

Checking blood sugar while traveling is just as important as when at home. It is important to check blood sugar soon after landing as jet lag may make it difficult to tell if your blood sugar is very low or very high.

Storage of insulin

Insulin does not need to be refrigerated, but should not be stored in very hot or very cold temperatures. It is important to store insulin properly. You should not store insulin in the glove compartment or trunk of a car, or in backpacks and other bags that could be exposed to the elements. Many travel packs are available to keep insulin cool.

Other tips for traveling with diabetes:

  • Take it easy for a few days following a long flight.

  • Test your blood sugar according to your doctor's recommendations.

  • Plan your activities so you can work in your insulin and meals.

  • Take along snacks when hiking and sightseeing. Do not assume you will find food wherever you are.

  • Be extra careful about food and water precautions. Avoid uncooked foods and tap water. Foods that upset your stomach could cause your blood glucose levels to become uncontrolled.

  • Wear comfortable shoes and never walk with bare feet. Check your feet every day, looking for signs of blisters, cuts, redness, swelling, and scratches.

  • Get medical care at the first sign of any infection or inflammation.

 
Related Items
Wellness Library
  Activity Can Help Control Diabetes
  Your Child's Diabetes Care Team
  Essential Eye Care for Diabetes
  Working with Your Diabetes Health Care Team
  Real-Life Ways to Manage Diabetes
SCC Videos
  Diabetes, Type 1
  Diabetes Related Eye Disease
  Foot Care for People with Diabetes
Content Type 134
  Pancreas Transplantation
Content Type 167
  C-Peptide (Blood)
  Diabetes Autoantibody Panel
  Glucose (Urine)
Drug Reference
  Insulin
  Regular Insulin
  Insulin Aspart
  Insulin Lispro
  Insulin Glulisine
  Isophane Insulin (NPH)
  Lente Insulin
  Ultralente Insulin
  Insulin Glargine
  Insulin Detemir
  Insulin Lispro; Insulin Lispro Protamine
  Insulin Aspart; Insulin Aspart Protamine
  Regular Insulin; Isophane Insulin (NPH)
  Insulin, Inhaled
  Pramlintide
Quizzes
  Diabetes Quiz
Disease Management
  Diabetes Tests Worksheet
  Diabetes and Sensitive Topics
  People with Diabetes Need to Wear ID
  Diabetes and Alcohol
  How to Manage Diabetes During Illness
  Diabetic Skin Troubles
  Exercise—Are You Getting Enough?
  How Can Diabetes Affect Bladder Control?
  With Diabetes, Beat the Heat
  Back to School with Diabetes
  Diabetes: Tests You Need and Why
  What Can Disease Management Do for You?
  Important Vaccines for People with Diabetes
  Managing Your Diabetes Medications
  Protecting Your Vision
  Diabetes and Sexual Intimacy
Daily News Feed
  People With Diabetes May Face Higher Disability Risk
  Could Dietary Tweaks Ease Type 1 Diabetes?
  Psoriasis Drug May Help Treat Type 1 Diabetes: Report
  Insulin Pump Shut-Off Feature Prevents Low Blood Sugar, Study Finds
  Parenthood May Reduce Diabetes-Related Death Risk, Study Suggests
  Are All Home-Based Blood Sugar Tests Equal?
  Some Helpful Hints When Monitoring Blood Sugar
  People With Type 1 Diabetes May Still Have Insulin-Producing Cells
  Scientists Report Transplant Advance for Type 1 Diabetes
  Testing for Pregnancy-Linked Diabetes Should Be Routine, Experts Say
  Urine Test May Spot Heart, Kidney Risk in Kids With Type 1 Diabetes
  Needle-Free 'Breathalyzer' for Daily Diabetes Testing Shows Promise
  Keep the Holidays Merry for Kids With Diabetes
  Smartphone Apps for Diabetes: Do They Really Work?
  Adults With Diabetes Need a Flu Shot: Experts
  Experimental 'Implanted Insulin' Device Seeks to Control Blood Sugar Levels
  Scientists Generate Insulin-Producing Cells in Diabetic Mice
  Diabetes Boosts Stroke Risk for Women, But Not Men: Study
  Elderly Diabetes Patients on Insulin Most Vulnerable to Low-Blood-Sugar Trouble
  Diabetes Tied to Higher Risk of Pancreatic Cancer in Study
  Nearly 10 Percent of U.S. Adults Now Have Diabetes: Study
  Diabetes Complication Rates Drop Among U.S. Adults
  Kids' Diabetes Rates Up Dramatically in 8 Years, Study Finds
  Brain Changes May Accompany Type 1 Diabetes Diagnosis in Kids
  Experts Revise Optimum Blood Sugar Level for Kids With Type 1 Diabetes
  Gut Bacteria in Young Diabetic Kids Show Differences
  Scientists Reverse Type 1 Diabetes in Mice
  'Bionic Pancreas' Improves Blood Sugar Control for People With Type 1 Diabetes
  Diabetes Distress Is Distinct From Depression, Researchers Say
  Shortage of Doctors Who Treat Diabetes Looming
  Saliva Test Might Someday Replace Needle Prick for Diabetics
  FDA Approves Inhaled Diabetes Medication
Adult Diseases and Conditions
  Alcohol Use and People with Diabetes
  Overview of Clinical Complications of Diabetes
  Healthy Cooking Tips for People with Diabetes
  Diagnosing Diabetes
  Facts About Diabetes
  Diabetes and High Blood Pressure
  Diabetes and Heart Disease
  Home Page - Diabetes
  Meal Planning
  Online Resources - Diabetes
  Diabetes and Periodontal (Gum) Disease
  Topic Index - Diabetes
  Sodium and People with Diabetes
  Diabetes Statistics
  Treatment and Management of Diabetes
  Type 1 Diabetes
  Forms of Diabetes
  Diabetes (Type 1, 2, and Gestational)
  Treatment of Diabetes
Newsletters
  Good Blood Sugar Control Vital for Wound Healing
Pediatric Diseases and Conditions
  Adolescents and Diabetes Mellitus
  Overview of Diabetes Mellitus
  Diet and Diabetes
  Online Resources - Diabetes and Other Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders
  Teens and Diabetes
  Type 1 Diabetes in Children
  Diabetes and Pregnancy
  Pregnancy and Medical Conditions