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tips and advice for the diabetic traveller

Do not let diabetes determine your holiday plans. You can go and see anything you want to, you will just have to plan a bit more!

Do not let diabetes determine your holiday plans. You can go and see anything you want to, you will just need to plan a bit more!

Whether for business or pleasure, a weekend away or travelling around the world, planning your trip will make it more enjoyable and will ensure you are less likely to need any special diabetic care. Therefore ask yourself the following questions:

  • Where are you going? Know the language of the Country you are visiting and find out the climate. Temperature will affect your insulin if your insulin gets too hot or too cold it will become ineffective. If staying in a hotel find out if they have a fridge in the room, this is always useful and can put your mind at rest. If you are staying somewhere that does not have a fridge keep your insulin cool in a cool bag or FRIO pack. Insulin should be kept between 4-25 °C
  • Who are you going with? Ensure the people you are travelling with know you are diabetic and they know how to treat a hypo. If travelling alone tell the cabin crew just in case anything happens. Ensure you keep a card on you explaining that you are diabetic, if possible put this in the language of the country you are visiting. This will mean if you do need help there will be no confusion.
  • How Long are you staying? Ensure you have enough medication for the whole trip, take spares. Also take a copy of your prescription just in case you need more medication. Ensure you have food for travelling, whether by road or air always expect delays!

Before travelling check:

You have travel insurance – be sure what it covers
You are fit to go – have a diabetic check up
Enough Medication and an up to date prescription
Note from Doctor explaining you need to carry needles and medication – you do not need to declare to customs or security that you are carrying needles but a letter will help explain if you get asked
Diabetic card – explaining that you are diabetic
Medical kit
Feet – ensure you have no problems and you are taking the correct footwear

When away:

Protect your skin
Try to keep warm
Keep an eye on your health, check your feet. If you become ill consult a doctor and monitor glucose levels.
Know where the local pharmacy and/or Doctor is.

Diarise your glucose levels so you know how this holiday affected you for future reference. If using diabetic friend to monitor you should ensure you keep your diary up to date by using your mobile or computer in your hotel. You will then be able to produce a report for when you were away for you to keep and review for the next trip.

Skiing with Diabetes

Skiing for the first time with Diabetes can be challenging but you can do anything you want to. You will need to plan and think more on a skiing holiday, remember:

  • The cold climate – being cold decreases the circulation to your skin ensuring the body keeps the heat in. This will mean insulin will be absorbed slower than normal but when you warm up insulin will be absorbed normally. Make sure you are not fooled do not give yourself too much insulin.
  • Hypo – when having a hypo your body can not shiver properly to keep warm. When having a hypo your temperature will fall quickly, ensure you keep sugar with you at all times especially when up the mountain.
  • Insulin – Should be kept above 4°C therefore be very careful when taking up the mountain. Taking insulin up and down the mountain can cause the disposable pen to break. Ensure you have enough spares.
  • Testing – You should test yourself frequently so again ensure you have more than enough testing strips.
  • Boots – take care of your feet always wear comfortable skiing boots.
  • Stay together – do not ski alone ensure you are with someone at all times.

Most importantly have fun!