Diabetes Education, Healthy Living

Does Diabetes Take Vacations?

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vacation

With vacations comes relaxation, fun and you-time. Unless of course you are living with diabetes, because unfortunately diabetes never takes a vacation. Thankfully, we have compiled a list of the top 10 best ways to manage your diabetes while on vacation. So, sit back, relax and manage your diabetes with ease.

  1. Pack for Emergencies: Do not leave anything to chance. The last thing you want to find yourself in mid-relaxation, is unprepared for an emergency. You cannot always trust that you will be in close proximity to a medical kit, and if you are, it may not be stocked with the correct supplies. Be sure your medications are refilled to last your entire vacation, you pack extra supplies and be sure to store your medications and supplies at the proper temperature. If you are heading somewhere tropical, pack cooling packs for insulin and keep your diabetes devices out of the sun.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
  2. Carry a Letter from your Doctor: Your trip through airport security will go much smoother if you have a letter from your doctor that can inform Transformation Security Administration (TSA) about your diabetes. The letter should include information about your need to carry medication, syringes, test strips and other supplies. You may also want the letter to describe the need for your insulin pump or continuous glucose monitor that is attached to your abdomen.                                                                                                                           dining
  3. Plan your Travel Meals: On the days where you are traveling to and from your destination, you may spend a significant amount of time in an airport or in the air. Plan your meals beforehand, so you do not find yourself eating high-carb, high-sugar, high sodium airport food or airplane food. Pack meals and bring them with your carry-on, instead of being tempted by the abundance of fast food options.                                                         
  4. Prepare for Indulgences: Be careful around the all you can eat buffets. It is easy to go overboard when your eyes are bigger than your stomach. Many hotels, cruise ships and resorts will have a menu or their dining options on their website. Make a rough plan of your meals before your trip. That way, you don’t have to worry about indulgences on your vacation.                                                                                                                                                           
  5. Map Local Hospitals and Pharmacies: Prior to your departure, figure out the closest hospital and pharmacy to your vacation spot. It would be smart to map a route to each of these locations, that way you are sure to arrive quickly in the event of an emergency. Better safe than sorry.                                                                                                                                                
  6. Pace your Alcohol Consumption: Beware of the steady flow of alcohol that surrounds you. Alcoholic beverages are high in sugar and carbs and could send your blood sugar levels through the roof. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. If you must drink, stick with wine or light beer and continuously check your blood sugar. It is important to drink on a full stomach. We also advise against ordering from the signature cocktail list. Many times, these drinks are laced with sugary sodas and topped with decorative, carb loaded garnishes. Stick to the simple drinks with zero calorie soda water. Both your blood sugar and your wallet will thank us.                                                                                                            
  7. Alert a Travel Companion or Professional: Whether you are traveling in a group or traveling alone, it is important to inform someone of your diabetes in cause of an emergency. If you are traveling alone, professionals that you should alert include flight attendants and hotel personnel.                                                                                                                  
  8. Hand Hygiene: You will be touching things all day that are covered in dirt and germs. Whether you are going for a hike, lounging in the sand or fishing on a lake, be sure to bring wet wipes to clean your hand in a pinch. That way you do not have to cut into your relaxation time trying to find a bathroom where you can wash your hands so you can test your blood sugar.                                                                                                                                            
  9. Learn the Language: You do not need to learn the entire French vocabulary to have a relaxing vacation with diabetes, but you do need to learn important phrases. If you are traveling abroad, learn phrases like “I have diabetes,” and “Could I have a glass of orange juice,” in whatever language that is most prominently spoken.                                                                                                                                                                                                                       boat
  10. Track your Timezone: The timezone you are traveling to may be much different than your insulin schedule is used to. Be aware of the time zone change because you may have to adjust your diabetes schedule accordingly.