Tips For Travelling With Type 2 Diabetes
Having type 2 diabetes shouldn’t stop you from travelling and seeing the world. With careful planning and preparation you can enjoy your holidays to the full.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and requires strict monitoring to prevent further complications. But it shouldn’t stop you from enjoying your life. In fact, healthy eating and an active lifestyle not only help to keep the condition under control but will also give you energy and strength to get the most out of life. That includes travelling the world and enjoying your holidays.
The most important things to consider are careful planning and preparation so you can relax and enjoy yourself without letting your condition limit you. Here’s a few tips for travelling with type 2 diabetes.
Before You Go
You should start preparing for your tripbefore leaving. Ensure you organise the following before you leave:
- A GP’s letter explaining your condition and necessary supplies such as syringes, pumps and insulin that you’ll need while you’re away.
- Diabetes ID.
- EHIC – a free European health card entitling you to reduced cost or sometimes free medical treatment if you’re travelling to Europe.
- If you did not inform your airline, resort or cruise ship of your condition at the time of booking, contact them now.
- Find out the generic name for your insulin and other medication from the manufacturers and also where you can buy emergency supplies at your destination.
Pack double the amount of supplies you’ll need and make sure you have adequate supplies in your hand baggage for the flight. Split supplies between hand luggage and luggage in the hold.
Keep your GP’s letter safely with your passport and other documents so you can present it if needed. Ensure you have plenty of carbohydrate rich snacks in case of delays.
Contact your airline several weeks before the trip and let them know what supplies and medication you need to take through airport screening.
There’s no need to order special meals, but ensure you have plenty of carb rich snacks, especially during a long haul flight. Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol while travelling.
Heat and humidity can affect your blood glucose levels and rate of insulin absorption. Keep in the shade, cover up and make sure you have plenty of UV protection. Long periods of sun exposure can rise your blood glucose levels so you should monitor them more often than you would normally do at home.
It’s important to stay hydrated, however, in hotter climates there’s a higher risk of food poisoning so avoid tap water and ice in drinks. Only consume bottled or sterilised water.
Cold climates can also have an adverse effect on your blood glucose levels and insulin absorption. As your body tries to stay warm you’re more at risk of hypos. Stay as warm as possible and monitor your blood glucose levels more often.
Even if you have an EHIC, it’s strongly advisable to take out personal travel insurance for your trip. In the event of emergency repatriation, your EHIC card will not cover the cost.
If you need medical assistance abroad, for any reason, make sure you inform medical staff of your condition. Failure to do so could affect any claims you may need to make. Likewise, you must inform your travel insurance company of your condition before taking out a policy to ensure that you are fully covered.
As long as you prepare carefully for your trip and use your common sense, there’s nothing to stop you having a fantastic holiday, wherever your destination.