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Travel Tips

by Tara Dairman

Diabetes should never keep you from doing the things you love, and travel — even world travel — is no exception. However, with a blood glucose meter, prescription drugs or insulin, sharps, extra food, and more in tow, not to mention time zones and language barriers to cross, trips with diabetes certainly take some extra planning. Luckily, there are several resources that can give you pointers on who to call, what to pack, and even how to eat healthfully during your travels. Whether you are heading to another state or another continent, these Web sites, books, brochures, and supply companies can help you make sure you’re prepared for every possibility.

Online tip sheets
The following Web sites provide free, up-to-date information that you can read online or print out and keep with you while you set your travel plans in motion.


The American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) Web page on travel contains advice on how best to plan ahead for a trip. The section entitled “See Your Doctor Before You Go” covers topics such as when (and why) to see your doctor before your trip, what written materials you will need from him (including prescriptions and a letter explaining your diabetes care regimen), and addresses and links to international diabetes and medical associations that can direct you to appropriate care at your destination if you are traveling overseas. The “Packing Tips” section lists items you will want to make sure to have with you in your “carry-on” bag at all times (whether you’re traveling by air or not). Other sections of the Web page offer advice on topics such as requesting special in-flight meals, insulin availability overseas, and how to manage insulin dosing when crossing time zones.

This page also features a link to another ADA Web page entitled “Traveling with diabetes supplies,” which provides travel tips developed in conjunction with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The tips apply to people traveling by air within the 50 states and can also be found at the TSA’s Web site (see following entry).


The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), a division of the US Department of Homeland Security, is responsible for security at US airports. At its Web page, you can find the TSA’s specific tips for people traveling with diabetes, including a list of allowable items, labeling requirements, and guidance for requesting a visual inspection of supplies if you do not want them to go through a metal detector or x-ray machine. The TSA’s general page for “Persons with Disabilities & Medical Conditions,” found at http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/specialneeds/index.shtm, also contains helpful links to a list of steps you should take “Before You Go” as well as more “Tips for the Screening Process.”


Children With Diabetes, an “online community for kids, families and adults with diabetes,” publishes a comprehensive 14-item list of tips geared toward travelers with Type 1 diabetes. The list covers topics such as whether x-ray screening will affect insulin and blood glucose meters (don’t worry about it), where to store insulin on your trip (not the hotel room refrigerator), and what food, prescriptions, and extra supplies you should carry with you in case of emergency.

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Statements and opinions expressed on this Web site are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the publishers or advertisers. The information provided on this Web site should not be construed as medical instruction. Consult appropriate health-care professionals before taking action based on this information.



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