With some planning, you can still go on business trips or visit the places you have always wanted to when you have diabetes. Whether you are joining a leisure tour or hiking in the wilderness, make use of this checklist to keep your diabetes under control when you travel.

Before You Set Off

before you set off

Make an Appointment with Your Doctor

  • Discuss your travel plans with your doctor.

  • Ask your doctor for a letter explaining your condition and the treatment you need.

  • Request for extra medicine. You don’t want to run out of medicine should there be travel delays.

  • If you are crossing time zones and are not sure how it affects your insulin plan, discuss it with your doctor. You may need less or more insulin depending on your destination and itinerary.

  • If you need vaccinations, get your jabs at least one month before you leave.

Related: Before the First Antenatal Visit (Choosing Your Doctor)

Packing for Your Trip

  • Make a list of all medication, doses and supplies which you are bringing on the trip.

  • Keep half of your medication and supplies with you during your flight and the other half in your carry-on luggage.

  • Use a clear sealable bag to carry all medication and supplies in their original containers or packaging.

  • Remember to bring the following items:

    • your doctor’s letter and extra prescription

    • a medical identification tag

    • your medical or travel insurance certificates

    • a list of emergency numbers including your doctor’s

    • sugar packs and convenient snacks such as energy bars

    • comfortable shoes you’ve worn before

Not sure what and how much you can carry on board the plane? Check with the airline company early.

Related: Travel Medicine and Vaccination

During the Travel

during the travel

Eat Well

  • Ask for suitable meals.

  • If you need to take insulin, inject it only when you see your meal coming down the aisle.

  • Carry a snack in case of delay in meal service.

  • If you are travelling alone, let the cabin crew know you have diabetes so that they can help you in case of an emergency.

Store Insulin Properly

  • Do not store insulin in:

    • check-in luggage

    • car’s glove compartment or trunk

    • direct sunlight

    • backpacks or cycle bags

  • Store insulin in a travel pack to keep it cool.

After You Arrive

after you arrive

  • Check your blood glucose as soon as possible after landing. Jet lag can make it hard to tell whether you have very high or very low blood glucose levels.

  • If you take insulin, keep your watch on your home time zone until the morning after you arrive.

  • Follow your doctor’s advice on how to adjust your insulin plan if you are crossing time zones.

  • Plan your activities so that you can fit in your insulin and meals. For example, if you are more active than usual, take along snacks in case you cannot find food.

  • Resist the urge to overeat when you are on holiday. Continue to monitor your diet carefully.

  • Check your feet every day.

Plan well and have a safe trip. Don’t let diabetes put you off your travels.

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