Vacation, business trip, or family get-together…if you are going to be away from home for any length of time, get your diabetes management planned to a T beforehand in order to ensure smooth sailing.
• Whether you're going out of state or out of the country, be sure you have enough medication. Bring twice the amount you are going to need. However, despite advice to the contrary, be sure to keep all of it in your carry-on. Not only will your medication be safe if your checked bag is lost or stolen, but it also decreases the risk of breakage if you carry glass vials or other fragile items. Checked luggage is also susceptible to extreme temperatures while in the cargo hold. To ensure you have your "stockpile", order it a month in advance.
• Research your destination thoroughly. Not only will it enrich your trip, but it will make travel with diabetes easier. Ask yourself, "What foods are eaten?" "Where are there grocery stores and Western style supermarkets?" "What is the climate like?" While most injectables can be stored at room temperature, if you are going to a particularly hot climate, you're going to need to refrigerate them. It is also advisable to check out where the local hospital in your destination is located – and whether your insurance covers a visit there, especially if you are traveling abroad. If you are traveling in developing nations, be sure you know what kind of medical care is available.
• Enlist the help of your friends and family. Leave copies of your prescriptions (as well as travel documents) with a trusted person back home in case you lose them. It will be much faster to recover them if you have copies ready that can be faxed to your location. If they're traveling with you, friends and family might be able to help with eating, or help you prepare and bring your own food. Having a safe supply of food is never a bad idea.
Reviewed by Francine Kaufman, MD. 8/08
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