Traveling with Diabetes: A Travel Season Checklist

checklist-cartoonPlanning a vacation? Whether you are heading to the beach or backpacking in Colorado the key is to be prepared when you are living with Diabetes. Packing for your vacation can be simple and easy, it just takes a little planning ahead. Here are a few travel tips that can help you prepare before heading out on vacation.

See your healthcare provider before you leave. It is always safe and smart to schedule a medical exam before a long trip to make sure your diabetes is in good control. During the office visit, it is a great idea to get a letter and prescriptions from your doctor. The letter should explain how you manage your diabetes, such as medications and how often you should test your blood sugar. Ask your physician to write out prescriptions for your diabetes medications including insulin, syringes, and pen needles (if being used). You should plan to carry at least 1-2 weeks extra insulin or oral medication than you expect to need especially if traveling internationally. Some foreign countries do not have access to the same insulin or insulin delivery devices as here in the United States.

Carry a Medical ID. Many people with diabetes, particularly those who use insulin, should have a medical ID with them at all times. These are typically worn as bracelets or necklaces. In the event of a severe hypoglycemic episode, a car accident, or other emergencies, the medical ID can provide critical information about the person’s health status, such as the fact that they have diabetes, whether or not they use insulin, or whether they have any allergies, etc. Wallet cards are also available and should be filled out with one’s contact information including the physician’s name and phone number.

Carry-on essentials. When traveling by plane it is important to over prepare in case of emergencies or delays. Include first-aid supplies so you can treat blisters or cuts right away. If possible, keep pills and insulin in their original containers with pharmacy labels. Also, bring an insulated case to protect injectables from extreme temperatures.

Here is a checklist to help you get organized for a smooth sailing journey:
o Pills, including Aspirin and Vitamins
o Injectable medications in vitals or cartridges
o Syringes/pens and needles
o Pump infusion sets
o Pump reservoirs/cartridges
o Continuous glucose monitor sensors (for those on CGMS)
o IV prep wipes
o Blood glucose meter
o Blood glucose test strips
o Lancing device
o Lancets
o Sharps disposal container
o Alcohol swabs
o Meter control solutions
o Glucose logbook
o Spare batteries
o Ketone test strips (if you have type 1 diabetes)
o Pure glucose tablets or gel
o Glucagon emergency kit (check with your diabetes educator on how to use)
o Snacks/ or meal replacement bars
o First-aid supplies
o Doctor/pharmacy phone numbers
o Emergency contact information

Now that you have a checklist and some helpful tips, enjoy your vacation!! Please contact a diabetes educator at St. Anthony’s Medical Center if you are preparing for a trip and have questions. We are here to help you. 314-525-4508 or
Note: you may not require all of the items listed.



One Response to Traveling with Diabetes: A Travel Season Checklist

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