- Invest in travel insurance
Make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance to cover your trip, and keep copies of your insurance documents with you in case of an emergency. Some insurance plans do not cover pre-existing conditions, which may include diabetes, so ensure your diabetes is covered by your medical plan.
- Break the language barrier
Learn how to say, “I have diabetes” and “orange juice or sugar, please” in the language or languages of the countries you visit. Try to find out what the important words for diabetes are (insulin, sugar, hypoglycemia, etc.) in the country where you are travelling in case you have a medical emergency or if you need to let people know that you suffer from diabetes.
- Talk to your doctor about glucagon
If you use insulin to manage your diabetes, ask your doctor if glucagon – an injection used to treat severe hypoglycaemia – is suitable for you. If you are traveling in a remote area with no ambulance service, it is important that your travelling companion learns how to administer glucagon. Talk to your doctor if you are not familiar with its use.
- Stock up on medications
Make sure you have enough medicine to cover you for your entire trip. It may also be a good idea to double the amount of medication you need for your trip and to put one set in your hand luggage and the other in the hand luggage of your travel companion – that way, you’ll have a backup if one of your bags goes missing. Store your medications in properly labeled containers, keep your insulin at the right temperature (between 2 and 8°C), and think about investing in a travel case with a cooling inner, like MedActiv’s travel range.
- Dispose of it thoughtfully
In addition to your medication, you will need a secure box to dispose of your used needles. These boxes are usually available from your pharmacy. Talk to your pharmacist or doctor about how to get one.
- Get vaccinated
Be sure to get the necessary vaccinations at least four weeks before your departure to allow time to deal with possible side effects.
- Have a back-up prescription
Ask your doctor to give you a prescription in English, because English is the most widely understood language by doctors worldwide.
- Get a travel certificate
Download a travel certificate and ask your doctor to complete it. This travel certificate says that you have diabetes, that you should not be separated from your medicine, and that your medicine should be stored at a temperature between 2 and 8°C.
- Buy a seasickness helper
Travelling by boat? If you suffer from seasickness, take carbohydrates in liquid form (juice or soft drinks) with you.
- Ask for help!
When booking your holiday, always inform your airline or your travel agent if you need assistance during the journey.
Information in this article was extracted from the A to Z of traveling with diabetes, developed by MedActiv with a team of specialist and international medical consultants. For more information about traveling with diabetes, speak with your care team or visit www.medactiv.com.au.