Diabetic travel takes extra preparation. It's important to plan ahead especially if you aren't used to traveling, because you'll be out of your home comfort zone. In this article there's a diabetes checklist you can use that's made for type 2 diabetics.
Before You Start Packing
The first question to ask yourself is how long you will be gone from home. Never pack just enough medication for those days. If you are traveling by car you will need enough medications to last an extra day or two, and if your diabetic travel includes plane rides the rule of thumb is enough for three extra days.
That means you may need to talk with your doctor about getting extra insulin and supplies. While you are at his office, get written prescriptions to carry with you, and let your doctor know where you're going. It's a great idea to get up to date blood tests done and even a physical if it's getting close to time for one.
For plane trips, a doctor's note about your diabetic condition and any special needs is a great thing to have in the case with your bottles and equipment. And if your diabetic travel is to another country, your doctor will supply you with anti-diarrheals and antibiotics to carry along as well.
Check the expiration dates on medications and test strips to make sure they won't expire while you're away from home. Buy extra batteries for your monitor and insulin pump if you have one, and it would be a good idea to have a backup glucose monitor to carry in a separate bag just in case the other one gets lost or broken.
If you are going to a non-English speaking country, learn the words for diabetes, insulin and phrases you might need, for instance "I need juice." And make sure you have your diabetic jewelry that states "Diabetic" clearly on it.
Diabetic Travel Emergency Kit
Assemble a diabetic travel emergency kit. It should include glucose tablets, an anti-diarrheal and the laxative you usually use because traveling tends to make some of us constipated, and foods we aren't used to can cause diarrhea.
The kit should contain a fever reducer like Tylenol and a pain reliever like aspirin or ibuprofen. A diabetic cough medication and an antihistamine (which makes a pretty good aid against motion sickness) should be included.
Put in a tube of antibacterial, a roll of gauze and tape for blisters and cuts, an antifungal (and yeast infection treatment for women), alcohol or Betadine, and insect repellent. Add the medications you got from your doctor as well.
Get a strong, insulated diabetic travel pack for your insulin and other supplies. Some packs have temperature controls in them. Remember, your insulin doesn't have to be refrigerated but it can't get too hot or freeze either.
What To Pack for Diabetic Travel
Here's a good diabetes checklist for you.
* Pack more syringes and test strips than you will need. And pack an extra monitor and batteries.
* Pack your medical information list and include contact information for your doctors and family emergency numbers.
* Put your prescriptions and doctor's notes in your diabetic travel pack with the insulin and equipment you'll need, and keep them as carry on luggage if you fly, or stow them close to where you'll be in the car.
* Pack plenty of healthy diabetic travel snacks.
* Pack diabetic shoes for walking and extra pairs of thick diabetic socks because you are probably going to walk a lot.
* Don't forget to pack sun block, hat and sunglasses.
* Pack your emergency kit.
While You Are Traveling
Set your watch alarm so you'll eat at the proper times, regardless of time zones and itineraries. And you'll need to watch for the time zone changes so you won't overdose or take diabetes medications later than you are supposed to.
If you're on a road trip you should not be the designated driver unless you are confident about your blood sugar control and your insulin supplies. Driving adds to stress, and that can affect your blood sugar levels.
Take your blood glucose levels often, especially after you land from a plane flight, because jet lag can mask blood sugar lows even in a type 2 diabetic. And during a long flight move around often to stave off blood clots. Be aware that injecting insulin on a flight can be difficult because cabin pressure sometimes affects the ability to draw up insulin. Take it slow.
While you are traveling be sure to check your feet every day. Don't go barefoot. If you go hiking wear double thickness socks and good shoes. And never hike alone.
Diabetic travel takes extra planning and thought, but it's possible. So get out and enjoy yourself. Just make sure you take care of your type 2 diabetic needs, and you'll do fine even far from home.