Travelling with Diabetes
How you prepare for a trip will depend on where you are going and what you are doing. Being prepared makes your trip more likely to be hassle free. A few simple precautions can ensure that you're able to cope should the unexpected happen.
Having diabetes shouldn't interfere with your holiday plans, whatever they are. If you are going on an active adventure or a more restful trip, you need to work out what influence this extra exercise will have on your blood glucose levels. Ask your health care professional for advice.
There are a number of diabetes travel factors to consider when planning a trip, but the important thing to remember is that diabetes should never be a barrier to going away as long as you’ve planned ahead adequately.
Travel insurance is vital. People with diabetes should inform their insurance company that they have diabetes and ensure that the insurance package provides adequate cover, which should include cover for emergency transport home and recovery of charges for replacement of insulin or equipment.
Long haul flights can be particularly taxing. If you are crossing time zones or travelling for many hours, consult with your healthcare professional. Take a flight schedule and information on time zone changes with you to help plan the timing of injections.
If you are planning to drive while on holiday, you should ensure that your driving licence is valid for the duration of your trip and that you are covered by your travel insurance policy for driving abroad.
Using insulin abroad isn't usually an issue. Here are some top tips whilst travelling:
- It's useful to know how to store and carry your insulin to make sure it's in suitable condition for use.
- If you're flying, you will require a doctor's letter to take insulin and your pens or syringes on board your flight.
- You need to have enough insulin with you for the duration of your trip. You should find out what types and strengths of insulin are available in the area in which you will be travelling, ask your healthcare professional for further advice.
- Insulin should be kept out of direct sunlight and kept cool.
- Insulin should never be allowed to freeze, therefore when travelling by air, insulin should always be carried in the hand luggage.
- Insulin may be absorbed faster in warmer climates.
- Regular glucose monitoring is important, to allow any adjustments in dose to be made safely.