Diabetes Travel Tips Patients’ Guide

Hitting the Road with Diabetes

How to Prepare for a Long Car Trip

There’s nothing like packing up your bags, piling everybody into the car, and heading out for a road trip. If you are living with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes, there are benefits to traveling by car: you often have more control over your trip than you do when traveling by plane or train, which can allow you to manage your condition exactly the way you and your healthcare professional planned.

However, long road trips can also pose challenges to your health. Some upfront planning can help make sure that you’re prepared to take care of yourself while you’re on the road. That way, you’ll be able to spend less time worrying about your blood glucose levels—and more time watching the scenery as you drive by.

Follow these tips for managing your diabetes before and during your next road trip.

Double Up on Diabetes Supplies
Even if you only plan to be away from home for a few days, it’s best to stock the car with more supplies to manage your diabetes than you anticipate needing. Car trouble and other unforeseen circumstances can extend your trip, and it is better to have too much insulin, medications, and snacks than too little.

Keep Your Insulin Cool
When exposed to extreme temperatures, insulin can lose its effectiveness. To avoid this during your road trip, store insulin in an insulated pack or cooler. Remember, never leave your insulin in parts of the car that can become extremely hot in the sun (for example, the trunk or glove compartment). As a bonus: taking along a cooler will also allow you to pack healthy foods, such as fresh fruits, vegetable salads, and yogurt—to help you cut down on the fast food stops.

Make Use of Rest Stops
Rest stops aren’t only made for bathroom breaks; they are a great place to get up and walk around after being stuck in the car for hours. Sitting still for too long during your trip can lead to blood clots.1 Try to move around every few hours, and take advantage of rest stops to get out of the car and stretch your legs.

Don’t Overexert Yourself
Even if you’re planning a serene getaway, traveling of any sort can throw off your body’s clock. Because you’re enjoying yourself, you may not realize the toll your road trip is taking on your health and your sleep cycle. Make sure that you schedule in plenty of time to rest during your trip.

Road trips are a great way to get away from home for a few days. If you have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes, a little preparation can help you make sure that you enjoy a safe getaway that leaves you feeling relaxed and refreshed.

Updated on: November 5, 2012
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