Vickie provides travel tips for those with diabetes

Published 10:06 am Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Question: I have diabetes. Is there anything special I need to do to get ready to go on vacation?
Answer: Vacations can mean delayed meals, unfamiliar food, being more active than usual, and a change in routine; all of which can all disrupt your diabetes management. Plan ahead so you can count on more fun and less worry.
Carry prescriptions for your medicines in case you lose them or run out. Get a medical ID bracelet that states you have diabetes and any other health conditions.
If traveling by airplane, ask the doctor to write a letter stating that you have diabetes and why you need your medical supplies. Pack your diabetes supplies in a carry-on bag (insulin could get too cold in your checked luggage). Good news: people with diabetes are exempt from the 3.4 oz. liquid rule for medicines, fast-acting carbs like juice, and gel packs to keep insulin cool. A continuous glucose monitor or insulin pump could be damaged going through the X-ray machine. You don’t have to disconnect from either; ask for a hand inspection instead.
If you’re driving, pack a cooler with healthy snacks, like fruit, raw veggies, and nuts and plenty of water to drink. Don’t store insulin or diabetes medicine in direct sunlight or in a hot car; keep them in the cooler too. Heat can also damage your blood sugar monitor, insulin pump, test strips and other diabetes equipment. Don’t leave them in a hot car, by a pool, in direct sunlight, or on the beach.
On vacation, your blood sugar may be out of your target range at first, but your body should adjust in a few days. Plan to test your blood sugar more often. Extra activity and high temperatures can change how your body uses insulin. You may need to adjust your insulin dose and what you eat and drink. If your vacation is in the great outdoors, bring wet wipes so you can clean your hands before you check your blood sugar.
Food is a huge highlight (and temptation!) on a cruise. Avoid the giant buffet, and instead order off the spa menu (healthier choices) or low-carb menu (most ships have one).
Diabetes can make everyday life and travel more challenging, but it doesn’t have to keep you close to home. The more you plan ahead, the more you’ll be able to relax and enjoy all the exciting experiences of your trip.
Vickie Clark is the Director of the Carter County UT Extension Office and also serves as the Family and Consumer Sciences Agent. If you have questions or need any information related to Family and Consumer Science contact her at the UT Extension Carter County, 824 East Elk Ave., Elizabethton, call 542-1818 or email at

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