Traveling with diabetes can feel overwhelming at times. From schedule changes and exhausting sightseeing events to unknown foods and general anxiety about being somewhere other than home, there are many reasons traveling can be stressful.
We’ve been there, and we get it! However, we’re big believers in living life to the fullest despite our challenges which is why we’re highlighting some of our favorite tips when traveling.
Preparation is Key
- Consult your doctor. They can give you a letter stating that you have diabetes and provide proof to TSA and others that you always need your medical supplies with you. Make several copies just in case one gets lost.
- Wear a bracelet. If you’re traveling alone, make sure you wear an emergency ID bracelet so first responders know you have diabetes if you cannot speak for yourself.
- Pack smartly. It’s always best to pack double the amount of medicine and healthy snacks you think you’ll need. More is always better. Keep your meds in the original pharmacy bottles, or ask your pharmacist to print out extra labels to attach to other bottles or bags so they can be easily identified and verified, if needed.
Traveling Via Air
- Call ahead. Airlines will accommodate your needs, but it might be best to give them a heads up. They also may be able to order a special meal or even refrigerate your medicines if they know you’re coming in advance.
- Carry a card. To make things go even smoother in the TSA line, you might consider filling out a TSA notification card to show the security guard quickly.
- Keep fast-acting glucose within reach. Especially on a plane, make sure you pack a smaller bag of diabetes supplies you can keep with you at your seat. Your Transcend Gel Packs or Shots are TSA-approved and are exempt from the liquid rule.
- Take a walk. Talk to your flight attendant to make sure they know your condition. It will make it easier (and less suspicious) if you take a quick walk or two up and down the aisle to keep your blood circulating.
Traveling Via Car
- Bring a cooler. Keep your insulin and meds in a cool place and out of the trunk or by a window so things don’t get overheated. Make sure you keep the cooler within reach of where you are sitting.
- Prepare for long breaks. You never know when you’ll hit a desolate area with no restaurant stops. Make sure you always have extra snacks on hand.
- Stay safe. We don’t have to tell you how fast a low can come on, but here’s a good reminder to stop often and check your levels to stay alert and safe!
Try an App
- Fooducate: Nutrition Coach: This calorie counter and diet tracker could help you make smart food choices. Just plug in a food and it will give it a grade of A, B, C, or D.
- mySugr – Diabetes Tracker Log: A great resource for tracking carbs, glucose, and bolus dose calculation estimates.
- Medical ID (for Android) or the Health App (already installed on iPhones) to create a medical profile for first responders, medics, and staff. Don’t forget to add those emergency contacts should an emergency arise.
- BlueStar Diabetes: Helps organize meds, record blood glucose and carbs, and will quickly sync with trackers, meters, your pharmacy, and labs.
- iExit: This is not a diabetes-specific app, but it’s excellent for road trips. Just open the app, and it will tell you what restaurants, gas stations, lodging, and more are coming up at exits ahead of you based on your GPS location.
Diabetes shouldn’t stop you from traveling and experiencing the world’s wonders. With diligence and the proper preparation, you can do anything. Don’t forget to take us with you and tag us on Facebook and Instagram so we can see where you’re headed.
Disclaimer: THIS IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN AS A MEDICAL ADVICE. For those with existing medical conditions, those who are taking medications, or are uncertain about any information we share, proper consultation with your trusted physician is strongly recommended.