There is nothing more thrilling than when you are planning a fun trip away, but when you have type 2 diabetes it can be somewhat stressful knowing just how much you have to consider before you board that plane.
Diminish the stress of travelling - and bring back that excitement! – by following some advanced planning tips to ensure you have everything you need to manage your care away from home.
Bring more medication
Pack twice as much medication and supplies you need, including oral and injectable medications. Avoid putting them in checked baggage in the event your bags are delayed or never make it to their final destination. Keep them in a carry-on bag that travels with you at all times.
It’s advisable to obtain full health insurance with comprehensive coverage when you are travelling. Check what insurance coverage you have or will need, and the geographical area of coverage.
Make sure to read all the small print in the policy so you know exactly what will be covered and what will not should you find yourself in a situation where you require medical assistance.
Pack the snacks
When you’re on vacation, you may not immediately know where the nearest grocery store is, and frankly, you don’t want to miss that day on the beach or a guided tour if you’re searching all day to find food.
Maintain your healthy diet by keeping a supply of healthy snacks and foods on hand for when you need them. Nuts, dried fruits and whole grain crackers will do the trick nicely.
Also, recognize it can be really hard to maintain regular meal schedules, especially in other countries. A great solution is to always try and maintain a daily “snack time” – typically something with protein – to tide you over until the later meal. Also, try and eat a little less at dinnertime (if it happens to be later than your usual time) to keep your morning sugars closer to your targets.
Test your blood glucose even more than usual
Travel can really knock you off kilter. The same goes for different cuisines, mealtimes, activity and changes to your sleep schedule. Test your levels more often than you normally would, especially before and after meals, to ensure you’re on your right track.
For more information on managing your glucose levels when travelling, please read this article.
Do your medical due diligence
At home, you have your diabetes healthcare team: You know your physician, your pharmacist and your hospital, but when you’re travelling you don’t have that built-in system. It’s always wise to plan ahead and find out where you can get medical care, should you need it.
Research names of pharmacies, nearby hospitals and physician phone numbers. In the unlikely event you need help, you can rest assured knowing you have the contacts you need.
Expect the unexpected
If there is any one certainty about travelling, it is that unexpected things will invariably happen: you may miss that bus, that train or find yourself lost in a part of town you’re not familiar with. The higher the level of stress, the higher it could potentially increase your blood sugars, so take a deep breath, relax and appreciate this is all part of the fun. With a little extra management and planning, you will enjoy your vacation, just like anyone else!