Travelling with Diabetes
Being prepared before you travel can save you time, money and trouble. Planning ahead is the key to a successful trip.
- Visit your healthcare provider several weeks before you leave for a check-up and to obtain a travel letter.
- Ask for a list of your medications from your pharmacist. Medications must be carried in their original container with the label from the pharmacy on it.
- Carry all insulin, testing supplies and medications in your carry-on luggage in a clear sealable bag both going and returning from vacation.
- Purchase extra supplies including blood glucose test supplies, medications, and any other supplies you may need to help manage your diabetes.
- Purchase fast-acting carbohydrate that stores well and that you can keep on you such as glucose tablets or life-savers.
- Obtain travel health insurance. Many travel insurance policies state that pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes, are not covered under their plans. Ingle Insurance offers insurance plans for people with diabetes.
- Have some sort of identification on you that lets people know you have diabetes. A MedicAlert bracelet, necklace or watch provides this identification.
Travelling across Time Zones
For people on insulin, travelling on flights that cross more than four time zones may require a change in your insulin regime/dose to match the longer or shorter day. If travelling east, hours are lost. If travelling west, hours are gained.
It is best to err on the side of caution and run your blood sugars a bit higher than too low on your first travel day. Stay on local (departure) time and schedule until your travelling is over. Once you arrive where you will stay, change to the local destination time as soon as possible.
Your diabetes educator can help you with your insulin regime, or there is a website available to support you in making your decisions: www.diabetestravel.org
Air Travel with a Pump
If you wear an insulin pump, your pump may be affected by the metal detectors. There are recommendations from the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) that will help make your travel easier:
- Arrive at the airport well in advance of your flight
- Inform security that you wear an insulin pump. You do not have to remove your pump. You can request a patdown in lieu of imaging technology.
- If you have questions about the safety of wearing your pump through scanners, contact your manufacturer
For further information on air travel with diabetes, click here
While on Vacation
- Test your blood sugar frequently
- Stay active
- Keep hydrated
- Protect your medication from heat
- Protect your insulin pump from sun by covering with a towel
For more information on travelling with diabetes, visit:
Travel Tips for Diabetes from the Diabetes Canada
Travelling with Diabetes from the American Diabetes Association
Medical Assistance for Travellers from the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers (IAMAT)