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Diabetes Health Center

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Tips for Traveling With Diabetes

When you have diabetes, a vacation or a business trip means a little extra planning. Changes in what you eat, how active you are, and time zones can affect your blood sugar levels. Here are some tips to make your travels easier.

Before You Leave

  • Make an appointment with your doctor to go over your travel plans.
  • Get twice as many supplies as you usually need to travel, and bring extra prescriptions and a letter from your doctor explaining that you have diabetes.
  • If you need vaccines, plan to get them 3 to 4 weeks before your trip. Some of these shots can throw off your blood sugar levels.
  • Be prepared. Know what medical facilities you can visit in the area.

What Should I Bring With Me?

  • Bring your doctor's name and phone number and keep it with you at all times.
  • Bring a list of the medicines you take and keep it with you at all times.
  • Always carry and wear medical identification that tells others that you have diabetes.
  • Keep medicines, syringes, and blood sugar testing supplies in your carry-on luggage. Don’t put them in checked luggage in case the airline loses your bag. Also, the cargo hold isn’t heated or insulated well, which could damage your medicine and supplies.
  • Take enough medicines and supplies to last an extra week in case you get stranded or stay longer than you planned. If you’re traveling with someone, ask if he can carry some of them for you.
  • Always carry hard candy, a small snack, or glucose gel or tablets in case your blood sugar dips too low.
  • Let the airlines, cruise ships, and tour guides know in advance that you have diabetes.

At the Airport

To make your trip through airport security hassle-free, try to:

  • Make sure you tell security that you have diabetes and that you’re carrying medical supplies. You can take them through security checkpoints, but they must have a prescription label on them.
  • All of your supplies should have a proper manufacturer's label.
  • Security will allow you to carry syringes if you have insulin with you.
  • If you’re wearing an insulin pump, you must notify security. They will need to inspect the meter. You must request that they not remove the meter.

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