Planning for vacations seems like an idyllic endeavour until you start packing. That’s when reality knocks on your head: you’ve filled the carry-on with backup toiletries, a pair of shoes, and a few wardrobe essentials – but what about keeping supplies for your metabolic disease?
Individuals with diabetes will always have more preparations to consider. On vacation, you may be in a new time zone, encounter new cuisines, or not have access to your regular medications. This can make it more challenging to manage blood sugar levels and disrupt your daily routine. But if you’re equipped with the right information and supplies, traveling with diabetes can be smooth and healthy process.
Here are some considerations that will set you off on a stress-free vacation:
Prepare ahead with appropriate food
One challenge of managing diabetes when traveling is that you may not have access to the usual diabetic-recommended foods. Whether you’re traveling by train, car, or bus, the available foods (crackers, packaged juices, etc.) aren’t the best choices for managing blood sugar. They are high in calories and low in nutrition. And after you’ve reach a foreign destination, the local fare may can be a problem too.
To counter these issues, you should take along some healthy snacks to avoid low-nutrition choices at convenience stores and at airports. This could save you money as well. Some healthy snack examples include natural peanut butter, protein bar, fresh fruits, whole-grain crackers, and diabetes meal replacement shakes. If you’re taking the plane, bring a note from your doctor to avoid any issues with the airport security while carrying these food items.
Pack enough supplies
Even if you’re taking spare prescriptions, it’s not a good idea to go without your supplies and medications on the road. For example, you will need to check your blood sugar level before, during, and after travel to avoid high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) and low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and the health problems these variations can cause.
So make sure you plan ahead when you are traveling with your insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor for managing diabetes as effectively as possible throughout the journey. Dexcom highlights the importance of portability in a continuous glucose monitor. They and many other companies are making portable models that are ideal for travelers to carry – they take up a mere amount of space and can even be kept inside a pocket.
Additionally, models with long-lasting sensors would offer added value to travelers with long-distance schedules (some companies make sensors that are approved for up to 7 days of use).
Carry identification and discuss your disease
Diabetic patients don’t like to share their condition with everyone. It seems embarrassing, makes you the center of unwanted attention and sometimes just seems tacky. However, it could be a lifesaver in case you’re surrounded by unfamiliar people in an unfamiliar destination. If no one near you knows about your condition and you have an emergency, you might not be able to communicate during that time.
It also means that you should carry details of your disease, medication and identification with you during travel. That could include a keychain fob, an identity bracelet or even a wallet card. You never know they could end up saving you in an emergency.
Traveling in ease with diabetes is no difficult feat. You just have to be smart about it.