Medical conditions, including diabetes, don’t restrict you from seeing the world. You can travel just like anyone else. But you can make it easier for yourself by planning well. After all, there are some factors that come into play when travelling as a diabetic – this includes your diet, the level of activity you’ll be undertaking and the climate. Before you venture overseas, we suggest the following tips:
Declare your diabetes
First things first, declare your condition to your travel insurers to ensure you’re fully covered for the trip.
Take a doctor’s letter with you
To get through customs and security at airports easily, Insurancewith recommend taking a doctor’s letter with you. It should include:
- A list of the medication you are prescribed with
- The monitoring and dispensing equipment required
- Details on the need to carry supplies in your hand luggage (if travelling by plane). This includes insulin, needles and syringes
- Contact details for your diabetes team
This information will also make it easier to replace any medication, should you need more.
Pack a cool bag
On some holidays, you’ll inevitably spend time at the beach. But insulin shouldn’t get too hot. If it’s warm enough for you to sit out in a swimsuit, it’s probably too hot for your insulin. So take a cool bag with you to regulate the temperature. As Diabetes Forecast add, even blood glucose meters don’t like extreme temperatures – so keep them out of direct sunlight.
Be strict with food hygiene
Falling ill on holiday isn’t fun for anyone. But for diabetics, it can be riskier. Vomiting can lead to low blood glucose and suffering with a fever may have the opposite effect. It’s important to keep up good hygiene levels, including the following:
- Avoiding cooked food that’s been left out for ages (buffets)
- Watching out for undercooked seafood
- Washing your hands regularly
- Avoiding tap water, ice cubes and washed salads where necessary
Be wary with alcohol
You’re going to want to have a drink from time to time – but choose wisely. High-carb alcohol (beer or cocktails) will make your blood glucose spike. Opt for mixers with diet soda, wine or a light beer. If it comes with a paper umbrella, avoid it at all costs as it’s probably full of sugar.
Find out what activities you’ll be doing
Different activities will affect your glucose levels in different ways. You might need to change your dose of insulin accordingly. For example, if you’re sightseeing or generally increasing your physical activity, you need to be prepared for low glucose whenever it strikes.
Glucose tablets come highly recommended, mainly because they won’t melt, explode in heat, or leak and become sticky – very handy for when you’re on the go.
Learn some key phrases
Should an emergency occur, it will be useful to know some key phrases in the local language – such as “I need medical help,” “I need something to eat” or “I feel unwell.”
This also includes knowing what certain medication is called in foreign countries. Being able to recognize certain generic names and brands will come in handy.
You’re there to have a good time – stressing out will only make things worse. Armed with these top tips and some good preparation, you’ll be ready to have a good time. You deserve it. So take the time to do things you enjoy – whether it’s hiking or sunbathing, enjoy yourself.
Are you diabetic? Share your travel recommendations with us.