A Checklist for Traveling with Diabetes

Airplane

If you have diabetes, travel can add stress to your life. Monitoring your blood glucose levels, and balancing your exercise and diet routines, all present challenges when you’re away from home. But with some simple planning before your trip and mindfulness when you’re away, travel can be both relaxing and enjoyable.

Before You Leave

  • Check with your doctor a few days prior to your trip to ensure your blood sugar is under control.
  • Bring an adequate supply of medication and syringes. Pack at least twice the amount you need. And don’t forget extra test strips and batteries for your glucose monitor.
  • Your doctor may not be able to prescribe your medications out of state or overseas. Check with a pharmacist at your destination prior to leaving.
  • Get a printed list of your medications from your doctor or on MyLGHealth. This is particularly helpful for insulin-dependent diabetics and everyone traveling out of the country.
  • Be sure you have medical ID to carry with you at all times.

On the Road

Carry your insulin in a carry-on bag, protected from the heat in a cooler, but not directly on ice or a gel pack.

If flying:

  • Inform the TSA about your diabetes supplies, and provide a medications list if needed.
  • If you have an insulin pump, the TSA will be able to inspect it without removing the pump.
  • Make sure your medications are clearly marked with the original pharmacy label.

If traveling by car:

  • Keep snacks handy in case you experience low blood sugar.
  • Make frequent stops to stretch your legs and to protect against the possibility of blood clots.

At Your Destination

  • Be mindful of your diet and physical activity level.
  • Check your blood sugar frequently and take all medications as prescribed.
  • Keep snacks and water bottles close by.
  • Have your diabetic medical identification card readily available.

By taking these steps, you can enjoy your time away relatively stress-free. More information on traveling with diabetes, is available from American Diabetes Association and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

author name

Hyasmine M. Charles, MD

Hyasmine M. Charles, MD, is a physician with Lancaster General Health Physicians Women’s Internal Medicine.
Education: A graduate of the Penn State University College of Medicine and the residency program at the University of Rochester, Dr. Charles completed her fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh. She is board certified in internal medicine.

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