At times it may feel that because you have a condition like diabetes that it is not worth the trouble or the risk of undertaking a foreign journey. Many opportunities to travel are lost because you may feel that it is just too much trouble.
Nonsense! All it takes is a bit of common sense and following a few basic rules.
Notify Others About your Diet
Tell your airline and the hotel where you will be staying about the specific requirements of your diabetic diet. This will help them prepare the correct food for you well in advance and make life easier for everyone. If you are travelling as part of a group make sure some responsible person knows of your condition so they could recognise the early signs of low blood sugar levels which can come on very suddenly even in the most experienced diabetic patient while travelling.
Carry All Your Requirements
Make sure that you have sufficient medications (Insulin, oral hypoglycaemics) as well as syringes, needles, alcohol pads and glucose monitoring devices which you will need for the length of time you are abroad. It is essential to carry your own medication since preparations may vary significantly from country to country. Carry the supplies with you in your hand luggage – not in your check-in suitcase which may easily become misplaced. If you need to carry syringes make sure you have a way of proving that these are essential for your personal health.
Obtain a Letter from your Physician
Depending on your itinerary, before you leave make sure that you have a letter from your physician, on their headed note paper, outlining your requirements for insulin and accompanying equipment. Keep all medications in their original containers.
Don’t let your supplies look in any way suspicious! Syringes and customs don’t work well together usually…
Medi-Alert Wrist Band and First-Aid Kit
Travellers with diabetes may become hypoglycaemic very rapidly and may even be unable to help themselves by taking glucose. When travelling with Diabetes wearing a good Medi-Alert bracelet and carrying a laminated information card with your details will help others to identify the problem quickly and ensure that correct treatment is started. Include a history of any known allergies on the information bracelet and identify your specific treatment. A small well stocked first-aid kit is also essential.
Regulate your Medication to your Meals
As mentioned previously, when travelling across time zones it is very easy to continue your medication but to miss your regular meals. How you should alter the timing of your insulin will depend on the stability of your condition. Your should ask the advice of your specialist physician before you travel. Always carry some glucose sweets on your person in case you feel yourself entering a hypoglycaemic phase. If you do begin to feel off-colour tell somebody at an early stage so that they will know what to do for you.
Thank you for reading ‘Travelling with Diabetes – Top Tips and Advice’. For more information please see Travelling with Diabetes – Travel Health Advice PDF.