Travel Hacks for Diabetics on a Long-Haul Flight

Travelling can be overwhelming sometimes. You have so many things to do – planning itineraries for a multi-day trip, going through your checklist of things for your flight, or making tour and restaurant reservations – and if you have a chronic condition like diabetes, it can feel even more daunting.

With diabetes, routine is important and traveling can change that routine and affect your wellbeing. However, with proper planning and preparation, traveling as a diabetic can go smoothly. Here’s a guide to help you if you are embarking on that long-haul flight to your adventure:

See your doctor

Having a medical appointment to discuss your travel plans is always a good idea. Aside from ensuring that you are fit enough to travel and detecting any possible problems, you can also get updates about health precautions and warnings. You can also get necessary travel vaccinations, updated medications, and medical documentation.

Prepare for Accessibility

While researching your destination, include where to get medical care if needed. Look up hospitals, confirm your doctor’s contact information, or save any hotline or emergency numbers. You can also make sure you are connected and on track with your health goals by enrolling in programs such as a diabetics weight management program online which can give you access to support and health tips regardless of where you’re in the world.

Pack Your Supplies

Make sure you have everything you need by writing down your travel essentials, and include your diabetes supplies. Put your diabetes medications and monitoring supplies in your carry-on luggage for easy access. If you are on insulin, take care to pack it in an insulated bag or insulin cooling case as extreme temperatures can affect your insulin and testing equipment. Check your equipment manual for proper storage instructions.

Watch Your Schedule

The whole process of checking in, going through security, getting to your gate, and boarding can take hours. Make sure that you put in enough time to avoid rushing and forgetting something. Also allot time for meals and medication breaks. An easy way to remember is to set alarms on your watch or phones to remind you of your schedule.

Inform The People Concerned

While going through airport security, notify the officers about medications and have them ready in a separate bag. Also notify them of your medical devices and equipment.  Have your prescriptions and doctor’s information handy if needed. If you have an insulin pump or continuous glucose monitors (CGMs), ask for inspection instead of an X-ray to avoid damage.

Prepare for Time Zone Changes

You may need to adjust your medication dosing schedule during your flight. Talk to your doctor beforehand to make sure you get the right instructions. Change your sleep time gradually or time your sleep on the plane to help you adjust to the new local time. Keep an eye on your glucose and make adjustments as needed.

Eat and Drink Mindfully

Eating is a big part of controlling diabetes while traveling. Take advantage of airlines that allow you to make meal choices prior to your flight. If this is not available, pick the healthiest meals and snacks onboard. Also, pack healthy snacks and meals in your carry-on in case of delays or if there are no available options. Drink plenty of water and avoid sweet or dehydrating beverages.

Be Aware of Your Body

Long-haul flights can take a toll on your body. When possible, get up to stretch or walk to keep your circulation going. Do relaxing activities such as deep breathing or meditation to lower stress levels and avoid blood sugar fluctuations. Last, but not the least, watch your body for signs and symptoms of uncontrolled blood sugar so you would know when to respond or ask for help.

Following these simple reminders and tips can help you manage your diabetes even during a long trip. Careful planning, setting reminders, and taking care of your body can help you stay healthy and allow you to better enjoy your journey.

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