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Diabetes 101: Choosing a travel destination

by IBD Medical on September 12, 2023

Choosing destinations for travel when you have diabetes involves careful consideration of factors that can affect your health and well-being during your trip. Here are some steps to help you decide on destinations that are suitable for your needs:


Consult Your Healthcare Provider: Before planning any trip, consult with your healthcare provider or endocrinologist. Discuss your desire to travel and get their input on destinations that may be more suitable based on your specific diabetes management plan and overall health.

Consider the Climate: Consider the climate and weather conditions at your selected destination when organising your supplies. For instance, if you're heading to a hot and humid area, anticipate an increased usage of CGM patches and infusion sets due to excessive sweating. Conversely, in colder climates, it's likely that your insulin requirements will rise, necessitating a larger supply of these supplies than your usual amount.

Accessibility to Healthcare: Research the availability and quality of healthcare facilities and services at your destination. Ensure that you will have access to necessary medical care, including diabetes supplies and medications, in case of emergencies or unexpected situations.

It is essential to arrange an emergency contact before commencing your journey and inform them in advance in case of any unforeseen emergencies. Additionally, set aside extra funds separate from your travel insurance to serve as a financial safety net. This precaution is especially crucial because in certain instances, foreign countries may not accept travel insurance and could deny medical assistance if you are unable to make immediate upfront payments for the required care.

Language and Communication: Consider the language spoken at your destination. If it's a foreign language, it can be helpful to know some basic medical phrases or carry a medical ID card that explains your diabetes and any allergies in the local language.

Cuisine and Dietary Considerations: Think about the local cuisine and how it may affect your dietary needs. Some destinations may have diets that are high in carbohydrates or may not offer the foods you typically consume. Research local dining options and their suitability for your dietary requirements.

E.g. Setting out on a vacation often involves savoring new and diverse cuisines, which, while delightful, can sometimes disrupt your regular eating routine. When you're dining outside your norm, anticipate potential impacts on your blood sugar levels and make necessary adjustments. If you have dietary intolerances or food allergies, consider researching local restaurants and grocery stores at your destination(s) to find suitable food options. This proactive approach ensures access to foods that align with your dietary needs while enjoying the flavors of your vacation spot.

Time Zone Changes: If you're traveling across multiple time zones, consider how this may impact your insulin or medication schedule. Discuss time zone adjustments with your healthcare provider and plan your activities and meals accordingly.

Activity Level: Give thought to the possibility of increased activity during your holiday! If you find yourself taking longer walks or engaging in more physical activities, it's essential to be ready to adjust your insulin doses accordingly. Additionally, make sure you have supplies for treating low blood sugar readily available to prevent any unexpected drops in your blood sugar levels.

Travel Insurance: Investigate travel insurance options that provide coverage for medical emergencies, including diabetes-related issues. Read the policy carefully to understand what is covered and how to access medical services while abroad.

Accessibility and Mobility: If you have mobility challenges or use assistive devices, consider the accessibility of your chosen destination. Ensure that your accommodations, transportation, and activities are suitable for your needs.

Local Regulations: Research any specific regulations or restrictions related to diabetes medications or supplies in your destination country. Some countries may have restrictions on bringing certain medications or medical devices.

Personal Interests: Consider your personal interests and preferences. Consider what types of activities and experiences you enjoy and whether the destination offers opportunities for these interests while managing your diabetes.

Community and Support: Investigate whether there are diabetes support groups or communities at your destination. Connecting with local individuals who have diabetes can provide valuable insights and support.

Ultimately, the choice of destination should align with your health needs, comfort level, and interests. Thorough research and open communication with your healthcare provider are essential in making an informed decision. With proper planning and precautions, you can enjoy travel and explore destinations that cater to your unique requirements as a traveller with diabetes.

 Want more guidance and tips on nutrition, T1D exercise and health? Follow Andi at @thet1dnutritionist on instagram.


The content of this Website or Blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website or Blog.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call 911 (in the US) or 000 (in Australia) immediately, call your doctor, or go to the emergency room/urgent care. 

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