Get on with Your Life: Tips for Traveling with Type II Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition that needs care and monitoring to ensure you stay in the best possible health, but it should not be allowed to stop you living your life you way you want.  Diabetics can do nearly all the things non diabetics can, as long as they take a little extra care of themselves along the way and do a little forward planning to make sure they have everything they need.

Many diabetics avoid travel by taking fewer holidays because of the complications going away from home, and away from their normal schedule can cause.  However, you should not have to miss all the fun and holidays others enjoy, when a little care can make joining in easy.

Breaking your schedule and habits may be one of the hardest things to cope with, but this can be compensated for by extra care.  Make sure you have all the items you need with you and ready to hand – if you are flying, place them in your hand luggage so you have them with you at all times.  Bring your insulin pills or insulin injection materials with you, plus extra supplies.  Pack your blood sugar meter and make sure you have plenty of batteries, test strips, and lancets.

Bring twice the supplies you need for a short trip, and supplies enough to last an extra two weeks on a longer trip.  Try to check ahead and find out where you can obtain more supplies if you need them, and if there is a doctor you can visit if the need arises.  Keep all your diabetic supplies in a handy bag and carry it with you wherever you go.

Wear a diabetic medic alert bracelet in case you become ill, and let your fellow passengers know of your condition.  If you have to see a doctor for some other reason, make sure you tell him about your diabetes.  If you are going abroad, try to learn the word “diabetic” in the language of the country, so you can explain in an emergency.

Tell your travel agent about your condition – or better still choose a travel agent who specializes in planning for diabetics.

Controlling blood sugar levels is harder when you are traveling because you are out of your routine, and time zones changes, unaccustomed meal times and foods you are not used to can all cause problems with keeping your blood sugar within target levels.  Monitor your blood sugar more than you would at home to anticipate problems, and carry some food with you in case of a sudden fall in blood sugar.  Try to take your medication as close to your regular times as you can, and if possible keep your meal times to your normal schedule.

Even if you are on holiday, eating does not have to be unhealthy.  If fellow travelers are eating ice cream, you can still enjoy a healthy dessert such as fruit salad, or take diabetic chocolate with you.  Make sure to eat plenty of fresh vegetables – see you get your “five portions” – plus wholegrain foods to give you plenty of fiber.

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