6 Tips for Traveling With Diabetes

Living with diabetes can certainly make your daily schedule more challenging, but that doesn’t mean you should slow down and stop enjoying life in the coming years. Traveling is something that many people with diabetes don’t consider or simply rule out because of the risk of a diabetic emergency while being so far from their usual medical care. However, by learning to take a few key steps while out and about, you can put your travel plans back on the calendar. Here are six tips for traveling with diabetes that will keep you ticking off items on that bucket list.


1. Plan your meals. One of the toughest things for diabetic individuals while traveling is maintaining a regular, healthy diet. Planning your meals ahead of time, make the effort to call and request a diabetic-friendly meal on long flights, carry snacks, and ensure your lodging is close to a grocery store. Also, be open and honest with your servers and the wait staff at restaurants. Diabetes is not an uncommon occurrence these days and most people are willing and eager to help out.  

2. Get a letter from your doctor. If you have to use syringes, test strips, an insulin pump or other equipment to manage your blood sugar, have your doctor write you an official letter to show to airport security. This can help things run much more smoothly and avoid unnecessary complications.

3. Plan for time differences. If you’re crossing into different time zones on your trip, your old insulin schedule isn’t going to work for you any longer. Therefore, talk to your doctor about your adventure about a month beforehand, so you can start adjusting your schedule for the new time zone.

4. If you’re going to be aboard a ship or otherwise have limited access to a hospital, you need to know what to expect from the local medical facilities. Call ahead to confirm that your ship or plane will be able to handle an emergency diabetic situation if one happens to arise while you’re on board.

5. Store your insulin and equipment properly. Whether you’re going camping, enjoying a cruise, or relaxing on the beach, it’s important to keep your equipment clean and your insulin cool if you want to avoid an emergency situation. 

6. Learn the medical terms. If you happen to be going abroad for a vacation and are visiting a country that doesn’t speak your native tongue, take the time to learn a few key medical terms in the country’s language. “I have diabetes,” “I have low blood sugar,” and “I need a hospital,” are a few crucial phrases to start with.

Following these tips for traveling with diabetes and getting advice from your doctor can help to ensure that your next trip is safe, fun and disaster-free, regardless of where you’re looking to unwind.