What Preparations Should I Make For Traveling?

General preparation for traveling may include some of the following considerations. Remember to take your glucose testing equipment and your diabetes medications.

Take an extra supply of test strips and medication to allow for travel delays and changes in plans. Remember that not all of the medications that are available to you in your home town will be available to you in other countries if you should run out.

It is a good idea to take your testing equipment and medications in your carry-on baggage when traveling by air, as your check-in baggage may get misdirected or lost. Most security and airport screening authorities recognize diabetes testing paraphernalia and insulin pens and syringes in industrialized countries, but cannot be relied on to do so in all parts of the world.

It may be prudent to bring a note with you in the local language, if you do not speak it, that explains to authorities what these items are. If you are traveling to an exotic locale, where you are not sure of the local cuisine and your tolerance of it or your ability to accurately carbohydrate-count it, you may want to take a supply of familiar nonperishable food items with you to fall back on until you familiarize yourself with the local food or can locate a source of items that you recognize.

If your diabetes is brittle or you have significant chronic complications, you may want to ask your physician or CDE for names of some local diabetes care providers that they can recommend in case you need them. This is especially valuable and important for students going away to college, who are likely to initially experience unpredictable lifestyle and diet adjustments and who will be away for lengthy periods.

The farther away you are traveling, the less likely it is that your doctor or CDE will be able to identify resources for you at your destination. In this case, you may have to do your own homework. For the United States and Canada, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) directory of professional members (for this, go to http://www.diabetes.org) contains the names of physician and non-physician professional members throughout the United States, Canada, and the world. You may be able to contact them prior to your departure.