Tips For Traveling With Diabetes

Tips For Traveling With Diabetes



Having diabetes doesn’t mean you can’t travel. But before you pack your bags, it’s important to make sure you have a plan in place to manage your diabetes while you’re away from home. Here are five tips that will make it easier to take care of yourself when you travel.

1 Talk with your healthcare provider

Speak to your healthcare provider at least one month before you leave to let him or her know how long you plan to be away, and if you’ll be in a different time zone. He or she may need to adjust your insulin dose, medicines, or meal plan. Make sure all of your medicines are up-to-date before you leave for your trip.  Your healthcare provider can also provide you with a letter that says you have diabetes. Keep it handy when you go through security at the airport. It should explain why you need to bring your diabetes supplies with you, and why they can’t be put into your checked baggage.

2 Watch your portions

Have you noticed that many restaurants serve huge portions? You don’t have to pack on the pounds when you travel. Steer clear of all-you-can-eat buffets. Food choices at buffets may be high in salt, unhealthy fats, sugars and calories, and low in fiber. Plus, it’s easy to eat too much food if it is offered in unlimited portions. Pick a restaurant that serves smaller portions of tasty food. At dinner, order an appetizer or lunch portion as your main course. Enjoy a fresh salad and grilled or roasted vegetables on the side. Look for healthy words on menus, such as broiled, roasted or grilled. Enjoy a tall glass of water or unsweetened tea with your meal.

Bayer_DLC-Diabetes-Health-Contour-Next-73 Test your blood glucose

Do the best you can to get your blood glucose levels to your target range before you travel. Test more often before your trip so that you know what changes you’ll have to make to reach this goal. Try to test the same amount when you are away from home. You will enjoy your trip more if you aren’t worried about your blood glucose levels.

4 Bring extra supplies

What if you stay away longer than you had planned? What if your flight is late or you’re caught in a traffic jam? Here’s the answer: bring at least double the amount of daily pills, insulin and diabetes supplies that you think you’ll need. Don’t skimp on extra supplies. Keep your supplies close when you travel. Make sure snacks and testing supplies are within reach at all times. You should always be able to get your meter or glucose tablets in case your blood glucose drops. Clearly mark all diabetes supplies and keep the
pharmacy’s original labeling on them wherever possible.

5 Keep moving

Try to keep up with your exercise routine when you’re away from home. Plan to walk every hour when you travel by air, bus, train or car. Take a walk to help prevent blood clots. Need another reason? Physical activity can help keep your blood glucose level within your target range. Call your hotel before your trip to find out if there is a gym or walking path nearby. Wouldn’t it be fun to take a walk with your travel partner? You can exercise and sightsee at the same time. Plan to stay active each day, even when you travel.


By Susan Weiner, MS, RDN, CDE, CDN

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