Preparing to travel

Before you leave home, ensure you research your destination well to make sure you will get the most out of your trip and also to minimize any surprises.

It is important to take signed certification from your doctor that you have diabetes and that it is safe for you to travel. The written note from your doctor should also include permission to carry your diabetes medication and delivery devices, such as insulin, needles, glucometer, etc.

Take a supply of diabetes medication with you

It is important that you carry a supply of your diabetes medication with you when you travel.

This is important for a number of reasons:

  • First, insulin and oral medications can be very expensive in other countries.
  • Second, you may not be able to get the diabetes medication that you normally use while you are away.

When you pack

Ask your travelling companion to carry some of your insulin or pills, or pack some of your diabetes medication into different bags. That way, if an item of your baggage is lost or stolen, you don't risk losing it all.

Never pack your insulin or pills in the luggage that is checked through. Store your diabetes medication in a bag that you carry by hand and can keep with you at all times.

Identification and insurance

Always carry some visible form of identification stating that you have diabetes. It may be a card, necklace or bracelet.

The purpose of this identification is primarily to help if you become ill. It also helps to avoid unpleasant misunderstandings. For example, customs officers may wonder why you are carrying needles, syringes, injection devices, vials and/or cartridges.

Your doctor or health care professional can provide a written note that explains that you have diabetes.

Check your medical insurance

Does your medical insurance cover you everywhere you might go? Check into these details well before your departure date. For example, illness caused by diabetes while travelling is not covered if treatment could have occurred before you left home.

Discuss your travel itinerary with your doctor before you leave home

If you're carrying prescriptions written by your doctor, be sure to find out whether they are valid in another country and whether they are available there. In some countries the medication may be available, but it is called a different name.

It's a wise idea to carry all the diabetes medications you'll need during your trip, but find out what to do about getting more medication in the event of an emergency.

Lost luggage

If you should be unlucky enough to lose all of your diabetes equipment, you must contact a doctor immediately or go to the emergency department of the nearest hospital.

The final check list

Before you leave on your trip remember to:

  • Talk to your doctor about your travel plans.
  • Get a prescription for extra insulin or other diabetes medication.
  • Review your health insurance coverage.
  • Pack your glucometer and other diabetes supplies.
  • Tell your travel companions that you have diabetes.

During your trip remember to:

  • Keep your passport, money and other important papers on you at all times.
  • Carry special diabetes ID or wear a bracelet for identification.
  • Store some of your insulin in different bags - then if a bag gets lost, you haven't lost all your insulin.
  • Carry some extra food with you just in case.
  • Check your blood sugar levels more frequently.

Most of all, after following these simple precautions, remember to relax and have a good time!