Planning to travel with diabetes:
- Investigate the destination – check out the carbohydrate content of local foods
- Diabetes supplies – work out how much you need then double it and give half to a travelling companion to carry. All supplies should be carried as hand luggage
- Identification – carry identification at all times
- Insurance – ordinary holiday insurance does not cover diabetes. You will need a letter on medical stationary stating you have diabetes and use medical appliances.
If your trip involves crossing time zones, talk to your diabetes nurse about altering doses. It is a good idea to bring a written prescription with generic terms of the medication you are on. Also, it is useful to go over your sick day regime and maybe discuss this regime with your travelling companions. If you are on insulin or medication that puts you at risk of a low blood sugar, you may want to have your travelling companion instructed on the use of glucagen.
When travelling within the EU, you will need a European Health Card for reduced rate or free medical attention. However, you are advised to obtain full health insurance with comprehensive cover. Check what insurance cover you have or will need. Remember that ordinary holiday insurance booked through your travel agent may not cover your diabetes. Contact ERM at 353 1 8454361 for information on the federation’s comprehensive travel insurance scheme.
It is a good idea to have a few phrases in the local language e.g ‘I have diabetes’, ‘Please give me something sweet’, ‘Please call a doctor’. In addition, you should always have some identification on you stating that you have diabetes. There are inscribed bracelets and medals available through the Diabetes Federation of Ireland offices. It is important that your insulin supplies are kept at the correct temperature. When out on the slopes, carry your insulin pen in an inside pocket to prevent the insulin being chilled. Don’t forget to pack a supply of energy bars for quick snacks while skiing. Remember to bring them from here as you will be unsure of the content of local bars.
Taking the time to plan and prepare for your trip is a good investment and may save hassles and worry later