On the Road: Traveling With Diabetes
Whether you travel for business or pleasure, a little extra effort before you leave can make your trip go more smoothly. Just like you plan where you’ll stay and check the weather at your destination, you can prep to keep up with your diabetes treatment plan so you'll keep your blood sugar level in check.
Before Your Trip
Tell your doctor about your plans. If you will cross time zones, ask your doctor about how to adjust your insulin doses.
Will you need special meals? Talk to the airline, hotel, or cruise ship about that.
If you're going to visit another country, check to see if you need to get any immunizations before you go. Plan to get them 3 to 4 weeks before your trip. Some shots can affect your blood sugar levels, so ask your doctor about that. Along with learning how to say hello and thank you, learn some diabetes-specific phrases in the local language just in case, such as "I have diabetes" and "I need sugar."
You could also scope out health care centers in the places you’re going. But remember, if you manage your diabetes well, you shouldn’t need to go to one.
What Should You Take?
Your bag should include:
- Medical identification that says you have diabetes.
- A piece of paper or card with your doctor's name and phone number.
- A list of all the medicines you take.
- Your prescription drugs, syringes, inhaler and cartridges, and blood sugar testing supplies. Keep them in your carry-on luggage so they don't get lost or sit in an unheated, uncooled cargo hold.
- Enough medicines and diabetes supplies to last an extra week.
- A quick fix for low blood sugar like hard candy or juice box.
Breeze Through the Airport
Let your security screener know that you have diabetes and that you’ve brought medical supplies. You can take them on board, but they must have a prescription label and the maker’s label.
You can also take syringes with you if you have insulin, too.
Do you wear an insulin pump? Tell the security agent. They will inspect the meter, but ask them not to remove it.
When in doubt, check the Transportation Security Administration web site for the latest list of what you can bring with you.