Diabetes Travel Tips

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Diabetes Nurse Educator, discusses diabetes and travel tips.

Diabetes Nurse Educator, discusses diabetes and travel tips.

Video transcript

Featuring Lori Berard, RN, CDE (Certified Diabetes Educator)

Duration: 2 minutes, 39 seconds

Traveling with diabetes doesn’t have to be a challenge, but there are a few things that you might want to think about before you leave.  

First of all, if you’re on prescription medications for your diabetes, you might want to gain a prescription from your provider so that you have that with you should you happen to lose your medications when you’re in another country; you’ll have something to start with.  

If you’re traveling with insulin, you want to think about how you’re going to keep it cool, and more importantly, you’re going to want to talk to your healthcare provider about how to manage your insulin when you cross time zones.

The other thing that’s really important to remember is, luggage gets lost. So don’t pack all your diabetes supplies in your checked bag; make sure you carry half with you and half on the plane.  

The other thing that’s important about taking those things on a plane is, you need a letter. You often need a letter to cross through security to explain why you’re carrying needles and files and testing equipment. And also, having that letter helps you should anything happen in the country that you’re traveling with to at least give some identification of some of the things that you need.

For some people, it might be also important to think about where you’re traveling and what that food looks like because you may not be able to get your favorite foods, and you might feel a bit challenged about how to incorporate the local cultural foods into your own diet.

So if you’re going somewhere that you really feel like you might be lost when you get there, that’s a great time to touch base with your dietitian and ask for a bit of guidance.  

The other thing that you can do is carry some staples with you, things that you know are safe, such as granola bars or – you obviously can’t take fruit with you, but you can take some prepackaged foods that will be helpful when you get to the destination if you’re having difficulty. Cereal, for example, might be a good thing to take with you just so that you know that you’ll have something that you’ll be able to eat.

If you run into trouble managing your diabetes when you’re out of the country, it’s important that you seek local medical help. It will be very helpful if you have that list of medications or a prescription with you so that you can actually have a conversation about how you’re managed in your home country so that that person can help you to figure out how you’re going to be able to treat your diabetes where you are.

Never ever feel scared to seek out help to manage your diabetes. The last thing that you want to do is to get into trouble and be hospitalized in another country.

Just remember – traveling with diabetes doesn’t have to be a challenge. Be prepared: take a list of your medications or a prescription; pack half of your supplies in the plane, the rest with you; know your time zone and any challenges of the country that you’re going to visit; and most importantly, never be scared to ask for help to manage your diabetes.

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Presenter: Lori Berard, Nurse, Winnipeg, MB

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This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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