Traveling is already stressful. When you add in you or your family’s diabetes, it just gets worse. But, like all vacation planning, good prep is key to making sure traveling with diabetes goes smoothly.
Preparation for Traveling with Diabetes
It’s best to travel when your diabetes is under control, so schedule a check up with your doctor before your trip if you need to.
Make sure you have enough of current prescriptions to take while traveling. With some things, you can stock up in advance. For others, you may have to take your prescription with you and get it filled on the road. Make sure you also know which pharmacies your plan covers before getting a prescription filled there.
Keep a document that lists all of the medicines and supplies you’re traveling with. Not only can it help you pack before leaving home or the hotel, but you can also show it to security agents at airports to help them check your supplies quickly.
Call or check out your insulin pump company’s website before you fly. Not all pumps can go through the X-ray machines safely, so it’s important to check for yours. If your pump can’t go through, let one of the TSA agents know and ask for a pat down check instead.
Packing for Traveling with Diabetes
According to the TSA, most diabetes supplies, including insulin, pumps, unused syringes, lancets, and blood glucose meters are allowed in your carry-on.
It’s important that you pack supplies and snacks in your carry-on so that you can monitor your diabetes during the flight without problems.
Keep medications in their original containers, and keep them in a separate, clear plastic bag. This makes it easy for security to check what kind of meds you have and that they’re yours.
Use your list to make sure you’ve packed everything you need to take care of your diabetes.
If your kids are traveling without you, it’s important to both help them pack their supplies, and to make sure they have their emergency plan and important numbers, like your phone number and their blood sugar levels, handy when traveling.
At the Airport
Once you’re at the airport, the key to a smooth flight is communication.
Make sure you tell the security officers you are traveling with diabetes supplies and meds and if you need a pat down or your bag checked by hand to protect your pump.
Use a phone, an app, or a watch that can stay on your home time zone, so you can keep track of when you should be eating and taking medicine on your normal schedule. It’s easy to get distracted on vacation, so alarms are also an easy way to remind yourself at the right time.
Once you’re on your flight, if you feel sick and need food, a drink, or to get your carry-on quickly, it can help if you let your flight attendant know what’s happening. They can help you better and faster if they know it’s important for your diabetes.
Always make sure you’re wearing your shoes after you go through security and on your flight. Never go barefoot to protect your feet.
Once you’ve made it to your hotel, it’s a good idea to make sure your supplies are still organized after the flight.
Make sure you’re still keeping track of meals, meds, and your levels like you would at home. Try to plan activities so you’ll have plenty of time to go back to your room to check your levels or take meds, or be ready to bring things with you.
And of course, watch what you eat. Vacation is a good time to enjoy yourself, but still keep a good count of your carbs.
With a little extra planning, diabetes won’t be able to stand in your way of an amazing trip!