Having diabetes should not stop you from taking a vacation, even to far away places. And while you can’t take a vacation from your diabetes, all you need is some careful planning to stay safe when you’re away from home. Taking your care routine along with you will result in stress-free travel, and help you manage your diabetes.
Step 1: Plan
The first thing you should do is think about the challenges you may face on vacation. These can include potential problems, such as where to store your medicines, eating many meals out, increased levels of physical activity, and temperature and time zone changes. All of these can affect your blood glucose levels.
Step 2: Make sure you have enough diabetes supplies
One of the most important things to do is make sure to pack all of your diabetes supplies and medicines in your carry-on bag. Be sure to include enough supplies to last an additional two weeks, in case you face delays, or just want to extend your trip. This is especially important if you are travelling out of the country, or to an area where a pharmacy may not be available. This is a good list to get you started:
- Glucagon emergency kit
- Glucose meter
- Glucose strips
- Glucose tablets
- Copies of your prescriptions
- Insurance card and healthcare provider information
Step 3: Think about snacks and meals in advance
For long car rides, site-seeing tours, or when flying, it is a good idea to take along diabetes-friendly snacks. Try Costco Chili Nacho Protein Chips, which are diabetes-friendly and travel well. Dried fruit, nuts and seeds are also snacks that travel well. However, since these can be high in calories and sugar, measure out ¼ cup portions in zip-top bags. You should be prepared for delayed flights and other unplanned events. Many airlines offer diabetes meal options if you ask them in advance.
If you normally count carbs, familiarize yourself with the foods/menus in the area you are traveling to. Check your blood glucose before and after meals. If you plan to travel out of your normal time zone, it may mean feeling hungry when you normally would be asleep. Try to stick to your regular routine as much as possible.
Step 4: Safety first
If you need vaccines before traveling, be sure to schedule them at least 2 weeks before your trip, just in case they alter your blood glucose levels. Your local Costco Pharmacy can help you with this. A visit to your healthcare provider is also a good idea before any traveling. If traveling to a country that speaks a different language, have your healthcare provider’s note stating that you have diabetes translated. Take a friend or travel buddy if possible. Let the person you are traveling with know that you have diabetes, and explain what you might need from them in an emergency.
Since people with diabetes are at risk for ulcers, protect your feet by wearing closed toed shoes. Don’t go barefoot. Pack at least 2 or 3 pairs of comfortable shoes. Make sure you change your shoes if they become wet or damaged.
Wash your hands often and pack alcohol swabs for disinfecting your fingers. Take along a first aid kit, like Costco’s Easy Care First Aid Kit, in case of emergencies.
Be heat-savvy and stay hydrated. When your blood glucose is high, you may urinate more often. Some diabetes medicines can raise your risk of dehydration, too. Limit alcohol and caffeine intake, and carry water with you at all times.
Following these easy tips to prepare ahead for vacation will leave you time to have fun and enjoy your travel while managing your diabetes.