With modern methods of glucose control, persons with diabetes should be able to travel without problems. However, before undertaking a long journey or one which involves crossing several time zones, anyone with diabetes should have a full medical evaluation.
Some points to be considered during trip planning:
Check with your physician whether any vaccinations or immunizations required are likely to affect your glucose or insulin balance.
Discuss with your doctor any problems which may arise from changing time zones or your insulin supply, food and medication. Follow his advice. Also check whether you can use finger-stick blood glucose tests during your trip as this is the easiest means of testing available.
Check what medication you can use for diarrhea and nausea and what food and drinks to avoid.
Make sure that any dental work you need is completed before your trip.
Do not rely on being able to purchase your medication during your journey, especially abroad. Take an adequate supply and carry several days supply in your hand luggage in case your checked luggage is lost or delayed.
Get your physician to give you a synopsis of your condition and copies of medication prescriptions. Also keep a list of medications you are carrying in your passport or somewhere handy to assist with customs compliance.
The American Diabetes Association has a free pamphlet entitled Travel and Diabetes, available in English or Spanish. They can also provide a list of hospitals offering assistance to diabetic travelers. Call your local affiliate or the national headquarters at 1-800-DIABETES (800-342-2383)
The Diabetic Traveler, a quarterly newsletter, is dedicated to helping people with diabetes “travel safely and with peace of mind.” Each issue focuses on a specific destination, type of travel, or vacation and also lists upcoming tours and cruises and relevant publications. Their wallet-sized guide, Insulin Adjustment for Jet Travel Across Multiple Time Zones, is free on request. Contact The Diabetic Traveler, P. O. Box 8223 RW, Stamford, CT 06905; (203) 327-5832.