Packing Your Bags as a Diabetic
So you’ve booked your flights, reserved your holiday and got yourself some diabetes travel insurance. Well, that was the easy bit! I say with a slight smile. Packing your bag as a diabetic takes a bit of planning, which is why we’re put together a basic “diabetes check list” to follow. Don’t forget, one size doesn’t fit all, so we may not have covered everything! But our Diabetic Travel Advice pages are a good place to start…
The general advice is to take double your medication and diabetic supplies on holiday… This makes perfect sense ref two weeks in the sun, but might be a little inconvenient when travelling for a greater length of time. I took an additional two weeks of diabetic supplies on my recent trip to Australia; I was there for 3 months and felt this 14 day buffer would tide me, just in case I needed to find extra supplies locally. Most UK GP’s will give up to 3 months supply in advance if asked.
NB. Additional testing strips are a good idea too, I find my levels rather high whilst darting about overseas, consequently I test my blood more often.
Diabetes Supplies and Packing List
- Blood glucose meter (maybe a spare if you have one)
- Spare batteries for meter
- Blood glucose test strips
- Sharps disposal container/needle cutter/SafeClip
- Emergency Kit
- MedicAlert diabetes bracelet (personal preference)
- Identification stating you have diabetes
- Emergency contact number in mobile (store ICE in case of emergency into phone)
- GP’s contact details
- List of diabetic medication/ Copy of prescriptions
- Doctor’s letter
- All diabetic medications
- Contact details of local diabetes centre (if you feel this is necessary)
- Hypo kit
- Carbohydrate snacks
If using insulin:
- Short and long acting insulin
- Insulin delivery device (pens/pump/lines)
- Syringes/ spare pen
- Pen needles
- Cool pack (Frio) for storage of insulin
If previously prescribed:
- Ketone test strips (type 1 diabetes)
- Glucagon (Type 1 diabetes only).
- Quick acting carbohydrates (glucose gel, jelly beans or Lucozade tabs or drink)
- Long acting carbohydrates (muesli bar, crackers, biscuits)
If previously prescribed:
- Glucagon (type 1 diabetes – your travel companion should carry)
Diabetes Emergency Kit
Touch wood, I’ve never had what I would consider a diabetic emergency. So you might not need the full list, just a few items.
- Antiseptic cream or lotion/ betadine/Savlon
- Icepack that does not need refrigeration
- Anti-nausea and anti-diarrhoeal medication
- Treatment for gastro (gastrolite)
- Paracetamol or ibuprofen
- Canesten/antifungal cream if prone to thrush
- Telephone number of your GP and endocrinologist/DNE
- Ketone strips
- Glucagon injection kit (for your travelling companion to administer)
Diabetes Insulin pens
If you use disposable insulin pens such as FlexPen or SoloStar you’ll be aware of their size…OK, squeezed between the Milk and Cheese in your fridge they can be ignored, but try and pack a months’ supply into a Frio and you’ll be tugging at your hair in no time! Best bet, grab yourself a small supply of cartridges whilst you’re travelling… For an extended trip overseas, these are a must. You can fit 2-3 times as much Insulin into a Frio bag with cartridges so well worth investigated. Again, plan ahead, not all insulin’s are available as a cartridge, plus you’ll need a pen! Don’t forget that important bit of kit!
PDF Copy of our Diabetic Travel Advice
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Our Diabetic Travel Advice pages are presented to compliment your travel plans and should in no way replace the unquestionable advice and medical care given to you by your health care team, wherever you are in the World