Having diabetes doesn’t stop you from going on holiday – far from it. You can go on a sunny summer holiday or a mountaineering adventure. Whatever takes your fancy, diabetes won’t prevent your next trip. You’ll just have put a bit more effort into preparation, planning and packing. But it will be worth it.
To help with your packing, II’ve gathered five essential items you’ll need to take with you. Check them out:
A doctor’s letter
Before you venture overseas, get yourself a doctor’s letter. Not only will it take navigating customs and security at the airport easily, you’ll be able to get replacement medication should you need it. You might have to pay for one, but a doctor’s letter should include:
- A list of the medication you are prescribed with
- The monitoring and dispensing equipment required
- Details on the need to carry supplies in your hand luggage (if travelling by plane). This includes insulin, needles and syringes
- Contact details for your diabetes team
To keep an eye on your glucose levels, you’ll need to pack your monitoring equipment. Remember extra supplies too – in case you lose any medication, or it gets stolen. You’ve also got to keep your medication and equipment away from extreme temperatures. Extreme heat can also affect both meters and test strips, so it’s best to keep these at room temperature and out of direct sunlight. Hot or cold test strips can result in misleading figures.
A cool bag
To keep your insulin at the right temperature on a day out, take a cool bag along with you. If it’s warm enough for you to sit out in a swimsuit, it’s probably too hot for your insulin. Remember it should be cool, not frozen – as freezing kills insulin.
European Health Insurance Card
In addition to your insurance, it’s worth registering for a European Health Insurance Card. If you’re travelling to the continent it’s worthwhile to get one, as it’ll cover pre-existing health conditions – including diabetes. Should you fall ill, you’ll get access to state-provided health services at a reduced cost or for free.
If your flight is long or you’ve got a busy day planned, take some snacks with you for any lows. Issues can arise when your usual foods can’t be found overseas, but a quick bit of researching before travelling and you’ll be able to find out the typical foods available in the country. Look up popular foods that have the carbohydrates your body needs.
If you have any doubts about travelling abroad with diabetes, you can talk to your doctor about your dietary requirements and how much insulin will be required. This is especially important if you’re planning an active holiday – for example, skiing. They’ll advise you about storing medication suitably, as well as warning about potentially low glucose levels as a result of your body using more energy to keep warm.
How do you stay healthy while travelling as a diabetic? Share your recommendations with me.