woman with diabetes looking at ocean from the beach

A Useful Guide to Traveling Safely With Diabetes

Millions of people around the world are living with diabetes, a chronic condition that requires careful management of blood sugar levels.

For those who have to travel frequently, this can be a bit of a challenge. But it’s not impossible—with some preparation and forethought, you can manage a safe trip despite your condition.

woman with diabetes checking blood sugar while at beach

Here are several important tips for traveling safely with diabetes.

Comfortable footwear is key

Whether you’re walking through an airport or exploring a new city, you’ll be doing a lot of walking. Diabetic people have to be extra careful of their feet, as they are more susceptible to developing sores, blisters, and infections.

Wear comfortable, supportive shoes that won’t rub or chafe your feet, and make sure to bring along any special orthotics or a continuous glucose monitoring system that you need.

Additionally, make sure to have extra supportive and specialized diabetic socks to help keep your feet dry and blister-free. Take a look at what was considered the best diabetic socks in previous years and make sure to bring a few pairs with you on your trip.

These will not only help your feet but also your overall comfort level while walking and standing for long periods.

Carry your medical supplies with you

This one is a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning nonetheless. When traveling with diabetes, you’ll need to make sure that you have all of your essential medical supplies with you—and that includes your medications.

If you’re flying, pack your insulin and other medications in your carry-on bag in case your luggage gets lost.

It’s also a good idea to keep a list of all the medications you’re taking, as well as their dosages, in case you need to replace anything while on the road.

If you use an insulin pump, make sure to pack extra supplies, as well as backup batteries. And if you use a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM), don’t forget to bring along the receiver and any extra sensors or transmitters you might need.

On the other hand, if you’re traveling by car, you can pack your supplies in a cooler with ice packs to keep them safe and cool.

Bring snacks and drinks with you

When traveling, it can be difficult to find foods that are both diabetes-friendly and tasty. That’s why it’s always a good idea to bring along some snacks and drinks that you know you’ll enjoy and that won’t spike your blood sugar levels.

If you’re flying, take advantage of the TSA’s 3-1-1 rule and pack snacks and drinks in 3.4 ounces or fewer containers that fit in a clear, quart-sized bag. Some good options include nuts, seeds, dried fruit, yogurt, and hard-boiled eggs.

If you’re driving, you can pack more substantial snacks and meals, such as sandwiches, salads, fruit, and veggie snacks. And don’t forget to bring along plenty of water to stay hydrated—dehydration can cause blood sugar levels to rise.

Monitor your blood sugar levels regularly

It’s important to monitor your blood sugar levels regularly when you have diabetes, but it’s even more important when you’re traveling. This will help you to catch any potential problems early on and make adjustments to your diet or medication regimen as needed.

If you use a CGM, be sure to pack extra sensors and transmitters so that you can continue monitoring your blood sugar levels even if something goes wrong with your device. And if you don’t use a CGM, make sure to bring along a reliable blood sugar monitor and test strips.

Be prepared for emergencies

No one likes to think about worst-case scenarios, but when you have diabetes, it’s important to be prepared for emergencies. This means packing a diabetes emergency kit with all of the supplies you might need, such as insulin, syringes, glucose tablets, and more.

It’s also a good idea to wear a medical ID bracelet or necklace that says you have diabetes. That way, if you become unconscious or unable to speak, first responders will know to look for your emergency kit and take care of your diabetes needs.

Consider travel insurance

When you have diabetes, it’s important to have travel insurance that will cover any problems that could arise related to your condition. Make sure to read the fine print of your policy so that you know exactly what is and isn’t covered.

For instance, some policies may not cover you if you need to be airlifted to a hospital in another country. Or, they may only cover the cost of one emergency visit to a doctor while you’re abroad.

However, most of them should cover the emergency supplies that you need to manage your diabetes, such as insulin or test strips.

Choose your destination carefully

When you have diabetes, it’s important to choose your travel destinations carefully. If you’re planning on doing a lot of walking or hiking, for example, you’ll want to make sure there are plenty of places to stop and rest along the way.

You’ll also want to consider the climate. If you’re traveling to a place with a very hot climate, make sure you have enough supplies to stay hydrated and cool.

On the other hand, if you’re going somewhere cold, pack extra supplies in case you get stranded or have trouble keeping your blood sugar levels stable. Some types of climate are more conducive to diabetes management than others.

Additionally, you will need to think about the needed vaccination for the destination country. If you’re traveling to a place where certain diseases or illnesses are more common, it’s important to get vaccinated before you go. This is especially true if you’re going to be spending time in developing countries or remote areas.

Some of the more common vaccinations for travelers include those for hepatitis A and B, typhoid, cholera, yellow fever, and rabies.

When you’re traveling with diabetes, it’s important to be prepared for any situation.

This means packing the right supplies and medications, monitoring your blood sugar levels regularly, and being aware of the risks associated with your destination.

With a bit of planning and preparation, though, you can have a safe and enjoyable trip.