Thursday, November 7, 2013

Guest Post: Tips & Tricks For Traveling With Diabetes~

Tonight I'll be flying out to Orlando for a conference where I'll do a presentation about doctors/patient  communications & working together as a team - And I'm really looking forward to it!
OK, I'm looking forward to the conference part, not the whole traveling with diabetes part.
Everyone in the Diabetes Online Community has had issues with traveling with their diabetes  - And I certainly haven't been shy about sharing mine. 
The getting 'to and from' a destination tends to ruffle all of our feathers diabetes or not - and it causes my blood sugar to elevate just thinking about it! 
Which is where my friend friend Susan Weiner, Registered Dietitian, nutritional guru, CDE extraordinaire and author of the newly published book, "The Complete Diabetes Organizer - Your Guide To A Less Stressful & More Manageable Diabetes Life, comes in.  
Susan is very much tuned-in to travel issues for those of us with busted pancreases, autoimmune challenges & wonky metabolisms. And being all in the know, she wrote a simple, but detailed travel list in the form of a post for all of us. Enjoy & thanks Susan!
Do you travel for work or pleasure? If you’ve traveled before, you know how important it is to have all of your diabetes supplies with you when you’re away from home. 
Would you attempt to board a plane, train or bus without a ticket? 
Would you dress in ski gear for a beach vacation? Of course not! While diabetes is part of your life, you can still enjoy your time away from home and manage your diabetes. 
You just need to take some time to plan and organize your diabetes supplies so you can go on your trip with confidence!
Here are a few tips and tricks when you travel:
 Before you go
·  Visit your doctor or Certified Diabetes Educator before your trip, especially if you are crossing time zones. Discuss medication or insulin adjustments if necessary.
·  Ask your doctor for a letter explaining that you have diabetes. The letter should include a list of the diabetes essentials that you’ll require for travel.
·  Make sure to take additional insulin and medications along with you for travel. Also bring extra written prescriptions with you. Update your prescriptions in national pharmacies if traveling within the United States, and contact the International Diabetes Federation ( if you need prescriptions while traveling in other countries.
·  Keep up with your blood sugar testing! Make sure your blood sugars stay are within range before you travel. You’ll be glad you did!
·  Check out the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Regulations before you travel. 
Call TSA Cares 1-855-787-2227 or go online before your journey. We know that people with diabetes may still run into problems going through security, but make sure you are aware of the regulations and possible snags before you travel. Hopefully it will help make travel a little less stressful.
While on the journey
·   Use a travel organizer for your medical documents. Keep all your documents at your fingertips, in case you need them in a pinch. Of course, you can also store documents in a smart phone or other device. 
It’s not just at airports – major tourist attractions will ask to search or x-ray your bag, so having a doctor’s note with you can save time and awkward conversations when your testing supplies or sharps are discovered.
·  Wear comfortable footwear. If you have problems with your feet, make sure to visit your podiatrist before you travel. He or she may have specific recommendations to help make travel more comfortable.
·  Bring along glucose tablets or another fast acting source of carbohydrate, and healthy snacks
One of my patients has a “go kit” of snacks including almonds in single-serving bags, instant oatmeal, single-serve peanut butter and baby carrots. Bring an empty water bottle that you can fill after passing security. Travel is often delayed. Travel breakfasts can contain nutritionally empty calories along with generous servings of fat and sodium. Being prepared can keep you fueled and even. 
· Call your hotel in advance to request a refrigerator. You’ll be glad you did!
· Stay active when you travel. Try to pick a hotel with a gym, or take a walk outside when possible. You’ll see much more on foot and getting fresh air will make long hours in a convention hall or endless meetings more bearable.
·  Make sure you have extra testing supplies and extra batteries.
·  Let your travel agent or travel companion know you have diabetes. Most importantly, let them know what they can do if they sense there is something wrong. Many non-diabetics would not be able to recognize a low-sugar reaction, or know what they can do to help you if you suffer a low. If you have an emergency and can’t communicate, you will be grateful for their ability to speak on your behalf.
·  Check out travel apps for car service, restaurants and alerts. These can be very helpful resources when you’re away from home.
You can enjoy your time away from home and manage your blood sugars. Remember to stay organized, eat well, stay active and take your medications as prescribed. Above all, have fun! Bon voyage!
Susan Weiner, MS,RDN, CDE, CDN
The Complete Diabetes Organizer: Your Guide to a Less Stressful and More Manageable Diabetes Life, Spry Publishing Fall 2013

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I just read your posting from back in April. I just got back from vacation a little over a week ago and when I went thru tsa I got the molestation pat down too. Mine was out in the open for all the world to see. I felt pretty embarrassed myself but it was the first time traveling with my pump, I actually asked for a pat down because I didn't want to disconnect and I thought that it wad better than going thru the xray machine. It wad pretty awful. I'm sorry to hear how rude they were to you. I hope this time around things go much smoother for you.