Diabetes and travel 22 December 2022 With the world opening back up, travel is on the cards again for many people. Having diabetes shouldn’t prevent you from experiencing the joy of travel, but it does mean you need to add in a little extra planning time. Being prepared before you go will make it easier for you to enjoy your holiday. Follow these simple travel tips so you are well-prepared for your journey. Discuss plans with your GP Have a thorough check up with your GP before your travels and ask for some extra scripts. Remember that to go through Customs you must carry multiple copies of all your scripts and a GP letter which outlines your medical condition/s. Scripts should include your name, the name and type of your medication, and your doctor’s contact details. The GP letter should state your medical conditions, medications you require and the devices you use for your insulin and blood glucose testing. Discuss time zone changes and how to adjust medication, ensure that you have a record of relevant and up to date vaccinations and discuss a sick day management plan. Medications and insulin Make sure you check your blood glucose levels regularly while on your journey. Ensure that you have more than enough medication for your entire trip and in case you are delayed or stay longer than expected. It is advisable to check if your medication is available at your destination and whether Australia has a reciprocal health agreement with the overseas destination: https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/services/medicare/reciprocal-health-care-agreements/australians Remember to carry your Medicare card. Ask about your airline’s regulations on carrying diabetes supplies. Carry your testing equipment, insulin and Glucagon delivery in personal hand luggage as luggage in the hold can freeze. Ideally, pack medications in two separate carry-on bags in case one goes missing. Check Australian airline regulations about carrying sharps. Bring a small, approved sharps container, available from your pharmacy or diabetesshop.com. Check if your hotel and the airport offer a sharps disposal service for used lancets and syringes. If you are travelling to a place that has variable temperatures a cool pack is recommended for storing your medication and equipment. Insulin can be stored at room temperature (15-25°C) for 28 days. If you are travelling for longer than 28 days, your extra supplies should be kept at refrigerator temperatures in a suitable cool pack. It is wise to carry a hypo kit containing fast and slow acting carbohydrates, and a basic first aid kit to treat minor ailments such as cuts and abrasions. If necessary, check with your airline to see if electronic devices used for monitoring blood glucose or infusing insulin can be operated in-flight. Identification People who need to carry supplies of insulin will be asked to present the insulin at Customs and show proof of their condition and need for insulin. Overseas flight travel requires, along with your GP letters, other identification that indicates you have diabetes. Your NDSS card is accepted as primary proof that you need to carry your diabetes equipment, including insulin, if applicable. Additional photographic proof of identify, such as a driver’s licence or passport may also be required. In case of emergency, it is useful to carry a list of contact numbers for your health team and insulin company (if required) at all times. Equipment Take extra supplies such as a spare blood glucose meter, lancets, pen needles, insulin pen, blood glucose strips, extra batteries, sharps container, ketone strips, sensors (if required). Do not remove your insulin pump, or flash glucose monitoring device, when going through airport security. They can be exposed to metal detectors but not x-rays. Food You may require extra carbohydrates during your travel, especially if travelling by plane. Consider packing some carbohydrate snacks you can easily access in case of long delays or misplaced luggage. Remember to stick to the 100ml fluid restriction per container when travelling by air. Glucose gels and tablets are a good high GI alternative to juice or soft drinks. When booking your flights, you can tell the airline you have dietary requests or choose pre-cooked meals low in saturated fat and high in fibre and carbohydrate. Research food availability at your destination so that you know where to find healthy food options. Travel insurance This is as important as remembering to bring your passport. Choose travel insurance that provides adequate cover for your particular health conditions and activities. Consider insuring your insulin pump if you have one. NDSS travel factsheet Download the NDSS travel factsheet that includes a useful checklist so you can tick things off as you prepare them. If you have type 1 diabetes, the NDSS travel and type 1 diabetes booklet is a very useful resource. This seems like a long list but planning and preparation will ensure your safety and well-being. Enjoy your journey.