There is no reason that diabetes can prevent you from traveling and enjoying your life, as long as you take the necessary steps to keep your blood sugar within reasonable limits.
1. Keep your medications and other essentials close at hand.
If you are flying, keep your medications, insulin, syringes, test strips, lancets, ketone strips, and other supplies in your carry-on baggage. As a precaution, keep excess in your checked baggage. Make sure all of your medications are labeled with the original prescription.
2. Bring a snack
Wherever you go, bring a snack, for example, an apple, an energy bar, a banana, raisins, cheese, and crackers, in case your blood sugar starts to drop at some point. do not have access to other food. If you eat these snacks, replenish them as soon as possible.
3. Prepare for airport security screening
Due to the tightening of airport security, you should expect your medication and other supplies to be checked. But you should be able to get on board with your insulin, syringes, and insulin delivery system, as long as you can provide the documents proving that you need them. A doctor’s letter may be useful to you but will not suffice. Make sure your insulin bottles are in their original packaging and that the pre-printed prescription is there; if you have started your insulin bottle, keep the packaging. (Only open your glucagon kit if necessary.) You can also bring your lancets provided they have their caps, as well as your glucometer, on which the name of the manufacturer should appear.
Before your departure, find out about current policies. If you are using an insulin pump, do not unplug it before going through the security check. However, if you wear a continuous glucose monitoring system, you will have to deactivate it because the radio frequencies it emits could interfere with the aircraft’s navigation system during the flight.
4. Plan your meals
If you need to fly or take a long train trip, contact the carrier a few days before your departure to ask them what special meals they offer to passengers suffering from diabetes or heart disease; you may be offered a few different menus. Once onboard, wait for the meal service to start before taking your insulin; thus, if the service is particularly slow or even canceled, you will not risk seeing your blood sugar drop. If you are traveling by car, stick to your regular meal times as much as possible to avoid blood sugar fluctuations. If this is not possible, bring glucose tablets and pay attention to the possible symptoms of hypoglycemia: nervousness, sweating and bad mood. If you have the feeling that a hypoglycemic episode is brewing, park on the side and take a few tablets and wait for at least 10 to 15 minutes before getting back on the road.
5. Plan for jet lag
Crossing time zones may disrupt the insulin and meal schedule. However, with a little foresight, you will minimize the consequences of this change. If you are going west, you will probably need to take more insulin, since you are adding hours to your day. Conversely, if you go east, you will need less. Ask your doctor to give you specific directions. For the duration of the trip, leave your watch set at the time of your place of departure and respect your usual schedule for your meals and injections; when you arrive at your destination, set it to local time and change your schedule accordingly.
6. Plan your stay abroad
The insulin found abroad may have different concentrations from those here. It is important to have the appropriate needles at a given concentration, otherwise, the dose may not be adequate. The best is to use your own medications and syringes, but if you need to buy insulin that has a different concentration than yours, get the needles for it. Before traveling to a country where you have never been, consult your doctor.