Holidays are a time to relax and forget about your worries. For those flying with diabetes, your travels should be no different. With a little bit of planning and consideration, travelling with diabetes can be a straightforward process. With this in mind, we at AllClear have put together useful information to help make your trip as stress-free as possible.
If you know you will be flying with diabetes, there are few things you should do before leaving for the airport:
Pack twice the amount of supplies you would normally need. Making sure you have extra supplies before leaving will give you peace of mind, in case any baggage is lost or misplaced.
Divide your supplies into at least two bags. In the event your baggage is misplaced or stolen, you will always have extra supplies at hand.
Place all your insulin in your hand luggage. The Civil Aviation Authority recommends that insulin shouldn’t be packed in your hold baggage, as it may be exposed to temperatures that degrade the medication. There is also the potential risk of losing baggage en-route.
Ensure that you have your diabetes ID and a prescription letter from your GP. This will make the airports security check process as easy as possible.
Travelling with a pump
Many diabetics use pumps or continuous glucose monitors (CGM). Before travelling, it is advisable that you contact your airline and check if there any restrictions against your device.
There are airlines that will not allow you to travel without completing a relevant form before boarding a flight with a pump or CGM. Failure to do so could result in you missing your flights.
When flying with diabetes you should also keep in mind that using a pump during ascension could result in an increase in the delivery of insulin; due to the expansion of air bubbles. Also, during descent a slight decrease in insulin delivery can occur.
Currently there are no restrictions on the quantity of tablets those travelling with diabetes can take with them through airport security. However, correct documentation from a GP or an in-date prescription is essential for validation.
Additional Advice for travelling with diabetes
Things you need to know
When travelling to eastern hemisphere destinations, the hours in your day will be shortened. If 2 or more hours of your day are lost due to being in a different time-zone, you may be required to take less units of intermediate or long-acting insulin.
Alternatively, when travelling westwards your day will be extended. If you know you are going to be flying with diabetes and you are gaining more than 2 hours in your day, it is important to take the right medication. You may have to take an increased dose of an intermediate-acting insulin, or extra shots of short-acting insulin on longer journeys.
In case of any unexpected delays to your journey, it is advisable that anyone travelling with diabetes packs extra snacks to prevent hypos.
For more information on what to expect when you are flying with diabetes, visit the diabetes.org website.
For more information on obtaining cover for diabetes, read our article Diabetes Travel Insurance.
Furthermore, in case of changes to airline restrictions it is recommended that you contact your airline directly.
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