Having diabetes does not mean you have to restrict your holiday or travel plans. As with everything else, a little pre-planning makes things easier. Here is some basic information you need to know.
- Always carry and wear medical identification that says that you have diabetes.
- Keep medication, insulin and syringes readily available in your carry on luggage.
- Carry prescriptions for medications, syringes and blood glucose testing supplies.
- Plan ahead for changes in meal times (especially when you are crossing time / zones). Plan times for testing your blood glucose.
- Carry food and some form of fast acting carbohydrates (e.g., sugar).
- Find out how and where to obtain emergency medical help.
- Follow your meal plan and your activity routine.
- Take your medications as prescribed by your doctor.
- Test your blood glucose regularly, test more frequently if you are ill.
- Check carefully that your own insurance covers diabetic emergencies for your holiday.
- Discuss the implications of different units of insulin with your diabetologist.
- Discuss also the effects of time zones and change of lifestyle with your health care team.
- When sunbathing, or relaxing in the heat, be aware of hypoglycemic episodes, or dehydration due to the heat. Drink plenty of water
- During a swim, access to fast acting carbohydrate should be available, in case of hypoglycemia. Ensure that you eat prior to swimming.
- Take warm clothing with you when traveling to cold destinations. Make sure your insulin does not freeze.
- Always wear well fitting sandals for leisure on the beach and when swimming.
- Wherever possible learn the basics in the local language, e.g., “I am diabetic; please give me something sweet to drink; please call a doctor.”