Travelling with Diabetes Type 2

By justfine Latest Reply 2015-02-07 09:23:35 -0600
Started 2015-02-06 04:44:02 -0600

I was just wondering if anyone has tips on how to control your glucose level and food intact while travelling overseas with a 6 hour time difference ( ahead 6 hours) as this is the first time that I travelled with Diabetes since being diagnosed a year ago. I think I am prepared with medication, etc. and snacks. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I will be flying overseas on this trip and will be gone for 3 months.

8 replies

Type1Lou 2015-02-06 09:37:07 -0600 Report

The time change is what can create a problem…as well as the airline food (or lack thereof). You may wish to ask your doctor about when to take your medication on the day of travel to and from home to accommodate the time change. I would also advise that you test your BG on those days more frequently than you normally do to be certain you stay in range and can nip a low BG trend early. Like Gabby says, be mindful of the carbohydrates in the foods you will be eating. Be sure to drink lots of water and stay hydrated on the airplane. Enjoy your experience!

Sopies Grandma
Sopies Grandma 2015-02-06 08:15:07 -0600 Report

I have some of the same concerns about traveling, I will be taking a cruise in the fall. I'm a little concerned because I will be on the pump by then and I'm not sure how to get through the airport with needles and meds and my pump. I hope they won't make me turn my pump off during the flight. I hope you have a good vacation.

Type1Lou 2015-02-06 17:22:24 -0600 Report

When you go through security, declare to the TSA agent that you are wearing an insulin pump and are opting for a "pat down". DO NOT let them convince you that it is safe to go through a body scanner with your pump as doing so can cause it to fail or malfunction. (Some TSA agent may try to do this…just smile and say No thank you, I'm opting for the pat-down.) Nor should you send your pump through the X-ray scanner. You can go through the metal detectors without any problem. You will not be asked to remove your pump. They will do a pat-down and swab your hands. It really has been no big deal. Keep your meds, insulin, backup syringes and pump supplies in a separate ziplock bag. Make certain you bring MORE than the anticipated number of infusion sets and reservoirs as, sometimes, you'll encounter faulty ones. I usually carry 2X the number I think I'll need. If you are traveling to where they don't speak English, try to have translations of "I am an insulin-dependent diabetic and use an insulin pump" written out so you can hand it to security if the need arises. Google Translate is the site I used when we went on our Baltic Sea Cruise and visited Estonia, Finland, Russia, Germany and Denmark. I use a Medtronic pump and Medtronic has a travel loaner program. For a $50 fee, they will send you a loaner pump to use for your vacation. Upon receipt of the loaner, I program it with my settings and actually start to use the loaner pump once I receive it until I get back home, bringing my own pump with me as a back-up in case of pump failure…so, I'm wearing one pump when I go through security and actually carrying the other one in my hand as well. If your meter communicates its reading directly to your pump, you should turn off that communication in your meter for the duration of any flight while in the airplane. If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to ask!

Sopies Grandma
Sopies Grandma 2015-02-06 19:47:56 -0600 Report

thanks for all the info. does being in an airplane do anything to the pump?

Type1Lou 2015-02-07 09:06:20 -0600 Report

Good question! There are pumpers that say that during takeoff and landing, the air pressure changes can cause small bubbles to form in the tubing and suggest suspending your pump during actual take off (until cruising altitude is reached) and landing (when plane begins to descend). I haven't experienced those bubbles so choose not to do it and haven't had any problems.

GabbyPA 2015-02-06 07:31:08 -0600 Report

First off, I am jealous. I hope you have a great time! Take lots of pictures and please share how it all goes.

Just like at home, you need to be carb aware. You did not mention where you are going. But getting familiar with the ways they cook abroad might help you know what is in your foods. Getting an app on your phone (if you have one) might also be helpful to figure out what is in a meal. I don't know how international is, but it's one our members' favorite sites.

You will most likely be more active and walking more. So that will work in your favor. Caution if you drink as that can lower your levels. Your first week or so will probably take the most adjustment, so don't freak out. Test and watch for trends. When I travel I always take a journal and write in it daily, that can also help with your dealing with your diabetes and use it as a food log or testing log can help keep things organized.

Are you going alone or are you going with people you know? If you have a friend who can help you keep an eye on things that is very helpful. If not, maybe make sure you know how to say you are diabetic in the languages you will be encountering.

Go, have a GREAT time and relish this experience. I traveled a lot in my younger years and I cherish all the memories I have of the places I visited. It will be the experience of a life time.