Travel & Diabetes

Managing your diabetes at home where everything is familiar is usually relatively straightforward, even if the condition isn’t. After a while you know where everything is, habits are formed, who to call and where to go if things go wrong.

Travelling throws everything up in the air a little and does require extra planning and organisation to make sure everything remains as easy as it can be.

Preparation:

  • Know where the nearest local hospital is. Obviously you want to concentrate on having an amazing time away but on the off chance something goes wrong, you need to know where to go as it’s your responsibility.
  • Talk to your insurance provider and confirm that they cover emergency treatment for diabetes.
  • Speak with your GP and/ or specialist and get a written note confirming that you have Type 1 Diabetes and that you’ll require insulin & testing equipment on the plane. I’ve never actually needed this, but it’s always very useful to have if you encounter overly strict staff. Just saves a lot of hassle.

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Time Zone:

  • Obviously you take your background/ basal/ long-acting insulin at designated times of the day where you are from. For me it’s around 6am and 10pm GMT time. However, changing time zones dramatically will mean I have to adjust. Track your sugar levels and adjust accordingly.

Cooling:

  • If you’re going somewhere hot check with the place you’re staying at to make sure they have a working fridge to store insulin. If not, take cooling packs with you which can also be used out and about.

Pack, pack and pack again:

  • Take more diabetes equipment than you need! You never know if something will get lost. Make sure you have spares in two different places (for a friends and your hand luggage) in case one bag gets misplaced. Triple check you have everything and plan your days for approximate insulin dosage and medical supplies.
  • If flying, it’s a good idea to keep insulin away from check-in luggage as temperatures in storage can drop below freezing.
  • Keep snacks on you on the journey. Plane and train food can be scarce and journeys can always be delayed.

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Prepare to change your dosage:

  • Physical activity such swimming, walking and hiking can vary your insulin requirements. Make sure you’re aware by testing regularly and knowing how the possible extra exercise is changing things.
  • Hotter climates increase absorption of insulin so be aware of possible after meal lows. 

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Do you have any favourite travel tips to manage your diabetes? Leave them in the comments box below for others to read!

Until next time!

Dan

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Dan has been a Type 1 Diabetic since November 2011 and writes about his experiences living with two autoimmune conditions (Type 1 Diabetes and Ulcerative Colitis), nutrition, exercise and living an overall healthier life on his blog and via his social media platforms.

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