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Diabetes: Travel Tips - Topic Overview

Travel can make it hard to keep your blood sugar within your target range because of changes in time zones, meal schedules, and types of foods available.

Whenever you need to see a doctor away from home, let him or her know you have diabetes. And always wear medical identification. In an emergency, medical identification lets people know that you have diabetes so they can care for you appropriately if you are unable to speak.

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General travel tips

When you are traveling:

  • Take extra diabetes medicine, insulin and injection supplies, high and low blood sugar treatments (including a glucagon kit, if you have one), blood sugar meter batteries, test strips, and lancets. You may not find your regular supplies wherever you travel.
  • Double your normal amount of needed supplies for short trips. For long trips, have enough extra supplies to last for 2 weeks more than the length of your trip.
  • To keep your blood sugar at your usual level, try to eat and take your medicine as close to your regular schedule as you can.

Car travel

When you are traveling by car:

  • Have snacks and drinks with you. Keep sugar-free drinks and drinks with sugar in an ice cooler.
  • If needed, store your insulin in the cooler so that it will stay at a more constant temperature. Don't let the insulin touch the ice.
  • Keep your blood sugar meter at room temperature. Don't leave it in a hot or cold car or in the sun.
  • Walk a few minutes every 2 hours to improve the blood flow in your legs.
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