Preparing for a trip abroad can be a time-consuming and stressful task. The dates, flight plans, hotels, and itinerary are just a few of the items you need to check off your list. And if you have a medical condition such as diabetes, you have to plan for that as well.
Just because you are going on the trip of a lifetime does not mean your diabetes is going on vacation too, but planning ahead with these tips will go a long way in ensuring you are prepared.
Keep up Your Routine
As much as possible, you need to keep your routine abroad as close to the schedule you keep at home. Of course, traveling can mean delays of hours at a time or time zone changes that may cause disorder to your rhythm. Plan ahead for these situations by packing extra snacks like baked chips, light popcorn, and rice cakes.
Keeping up your routine also means continuing to check your glucose levels. It would be easy to get caught up in the sights and sounds of your destination if you are not careful. Use a smartphone to set up reminders and alarms so you can check your levels. You might even consider continuous glucose monitoring (CGM), which gives you a better idea of your glucose patterns. Learn about CGM with Dexcom, a company that provides state-of-the-art glucose monitoring equipment for people with diabetes.
Pack Enough Supplies and Keep Them Safe
Regardless of your mode of transport, you need to ensure that your diabetic supplies are close by and accessible if you need them in a hurry. Also, because insulin can be spoiled by extreme heat and cold, keep your backup insulin with you at all times when in transit. Some transportation options also provide the opportunity to store you supplies in a refrigerated area accessible in an emergency. Ask about these options when booking your transportation.
Additionally, when packing for a trip (here are some tips for packing for your getaway), ensure you bring more supplies than you need just in case of unforeseen circumstances.
Bring a note with you from your doctor that states you have diabetes and carry it along with your medication at all times. Translate the letter into the language of the country where you are headed just in case as well. Ensure that your traveling companions are also aware of your condition and provide them with copies of the notes as well, in case they need to communicate on your behalf.
When bringing your supplies and equipment to any transportation hub or border, you may need to prove the medication you are carrying is your own. As much as possible, keep your medication and supplies in their original packing—prescription information is usually kept on the package—so you can easily prove it is yours. Keep it separate from other non-diabetic supplies so screeners can quickly separate it from other liquid items.
It happens all the time: people go away and get sick while on vacation. This sometimes happens because of contaminated water. Water safety regulations vary wildly from country to country so you need to careful. (Use Pure Travel’s strategies to avoid contaminated water sickness.)
Any type of illness you contract while you are away will aggravate your condition, so do your best to keep yourself healthy while you are abroad.
Diabetes will never take a vacation, but that does not mean you can't still control it while you are sitting on the beach or taking in the sights of some exotic country. The key is planning ahead so you are never caught off guard.