Diabetes management can be a daunting task, and traveling with diabetes can be quite challenging if you’re not prepared especially during the holiday season. But that does not mean you cannot travel. With a little bit of preparation and planning, traveling with diabetes during the holidays can be as safe and enjoyable as any holiday events. Here are some guidelines to help you prepare for the holiday travels.
1. Consult with Your Physician First
First thing is first. Before making any plans, consult with your physician. Let them know you’re planning to travel. Inform them of any any acute conditions you have that may require immediate attention or being currently treated such as an infected toe, impaired vision, vomiting etc. Make sure your sugar levels are under control before traveling.
2. Know your destination
After you have been cleared by your physician the next step is to get to learn about your destination. Whether you’re going home for Christmas or going on vacation to a place you’ve never visited it’s always important to find out where you can find extra diabetic supplies in case you run out or how to reach a physician or emergency room in case of an emergency. Do some research and find out what’s available and what’s not in the event of an emergency.
If you’re going to be engaged in outdoor activities it’s a good idea to take along a first aid kit. You will also need to have a hypoglycemia kit that includes nutritions that raise your sugar levels quickly and boost your energy such as glucose gels or glucose tablets as well as nutritions that releases sugar slowly like diabetic bars.
You should also consult with your insurance company and find out what is covered and what’s not in case of an emergency out of state or in a foreign country.
3. Take along enough diabetes Supplies
Pack your supplies in a specific travel that is easily accessible in case of an emergency. Make sure to carry extra syringes, insulins and other essential diabetic supplies (glucose strips, blood glucose meter, lancets, and more). Take enough to ensure that these supplies will last for the duration of the trip. If you are flying, carry a copy of your prescription and your essential medicines and equipment in your carry-on luggage. If you’re an insulin user make sure to take along some sugary food in case there is a lack of suitable food on board.
Make sure your glucose meter and carbohydrate supply are easily reachable. In case of a turbulence on board, you may have to remain seated for a long time and not be allowed to leave your seat to reach these items from the overhead cabin.
Furthermore, If you travel by air or cruise, be aware that you can request diabetic meals such as low-carbohydrate meals in advance. Lastly, when going through airport security, inform the security officers of your medical condition and supplies or medicine you may be carrying on board.
4. Be Prepared for Flight Delays
Don’t be surprised if your flight is delayed. Flight delays are very likely to happen during the holiday season. You will need to be prepared and always make plans for such emergencies. It may be wise to carry twice the quantity of medications and supplies that you would normally need, in the event of delays, lost luggage or other unexpected situations.
5. Wear a Diabetic Bracelet with ID Card
It is always a great idea to wear a diabetic bracelet with ID card because you never know what can happen. Your diabetic bracelet should state your name, address and your medical condition. It should also include your medical information and doctor’s name and phone number. A diabetic bracelet quickly alerts others of your medical condition in the event of an emergency.
Prepare for the Worst
Be prepared to deal with unexpected scenarios. Request a letter from your healthcare provider which briefly explains your condition and what medications you are taking. Do not forget to ask for some additional prescription just in case you run out off or lose your medications on the trip. Make sure you are up to date on all your vaccinations.