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Hitting the Road!

What to prepare before you travel this summer season


With the long Memorial Day this upcoming weekend, and summer just on the horizon, thoughts may turn toward an extended trip on the open road. Whether you live with diabetes or care for a loved one who does, these tips may help you better plan and prepare ahead of time so that you can focus on the fun!

First things first: Map out a plan. A Sweet Life co-founder Jessica Apple, who lives with type 1 diabetes, shares a checklist of things that she makes sure to get done before a big trip – from tasks to complete a month before leaving, such as getting a doctor’s note and stocking up on supplies, right up until she leaves the house to get into the car, like putting glucose tablets or a small snack ready in her pocket or purse.

Further reading: “Get Ready, Get Set, Go!” Jessica Apple’s checklist for travelers with diabetes.

travel with diabetes

No matter how much planning goes into a trip, it may not be possible to predict delays or other variables, such as misplaced supplies while on the road. Certified Diabetes Educator* and Registered Dietitian Dawn Sherr believes that packing twice the amount of medication and blood testing equipment needed may help travelers avoid running out of necessities. She adds: “Bring a list of any other medical conditions or medications you’re taking – it helps to have that information in one spot.”

Further reading: Dawn Sherr and health writer Teresa Dumain exchange more travel suggestions, including staying hydrated and wearing an ID bracelet.

Lester on his Harley-Davidson®
Lester on his Harley-Davidson®

Motorcyclist and Harley Owners Group® member Lester Johnson credits his passion for riding on the open road as motivation to manage his type 2 diabetes, even though he says it has meant more packing and preparing. “It was a welcomed trade to be able still ride my motorcycle the way I wanted to ride it,” he said. “I’m a very active person, even at 68. … I like to get out. I like to move.”

Further reading: Lester reminisces about how his riding friends helped keep him on track for a 16-day road trip from Tennessee to Niagara Falls.

Driving with diabetes

For folks traveling by car, the American Diabetes Association recommends several measures to keep people living with diabetes safer behind the wheel, including testing blood glucose before driving, testing at regular intervals after safely stopped, and keeping glucose tablets and juice boxes within arm’s reach of the driver, ideally in the front seat or in the center console rather than in the glove compartment or other hard-to-reach place.

Further reading: D-advocate Dr. Daniel Lorber discusses the American Diabetes Association’s 2012 “Diabetes and Driving” position statement and shares more recommendations.

Diabetes bags for staying organized

Because insulin is a protein, it may become ineffective if stored in direct sunlight or in a place that can get hot, such as a glove compartment. On extended trips, backup supplies may need to be kept even colder while in transit, such as in an ice chest or insulated bag. (Read more about storing therapeutic insulin.) If you’d prefer to carry supplies more in something more fashion-forward, author and frequent contributor to The DX, Catherine Price, who lives with type 1 diabetes, shares info on some of her favorite diabetes-friendly bags.

Further reading: Catherine recommends 5 different bags for nearly anyone with diabetes on the go.

Got a travel tip or two of your own? Share them in the comments below!

Lester Johnson received no compensation for his post on Discuss Diabetes. Jessica Apple, Teresa Dumain and Catherine Price are paid contributors to The DX. All opinions contained in this post reflect those of the interviewees and/or contributors, and not of Sanofi US, its employees, agencies or affiliates.

*“Certified Diabetes Educator” and “CDE” are certification marks owned and registered by the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators (NCBDE). NCBDE is not affiliated in any way with Sanofi US. NCBDE does not sponsor or endorse any diabetes-related products or services.

Harley-Davidson and Harley Owners Group are registered trademarks of H-D U.S.A., LLC.

© 2015 The DX: The Diabetes Experience


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