Type 2 Diabetes Control
Traveling With Type 2 Diabetes
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Having type 2 diabetes doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy travel anymore. With a few simple precautions and a carefully packed carry-on or travel bag (see the Travel Tips section below), it’s easy to leave the house and still take care of your type 2 diabetes. Just be sure to prepare for the kind of trip you are taking and how long you will be away from home.

The Basics


  • Ask your doctor if you need a medical exam prior to your trip to make sure you are in tip-top travel shape

  • Bring a list of doctors local to your destination whenever possible, just in case
  • Pack twice as much of any medical supplies or prescriptions as you think you will need. Keep everything in a bag you keep with you rather than in the bags in the trunk, baggage storage, or checked baggage

  • Be ready with food and drinks. Have emergency food close at hand, in case of low blood sugar

  • Stay hydrated

  • Remember to move. If you are driving, stop every once in a while to stretch your legs. On planes and trains, stretch in your seat or take a brief walk along the aisles

Airline Travel Tips

  • Wear a medical ID bracelet that identifies you as a person with diabetes, in case of emergency

  • Contact your airline to request a special meal, such as low-fat, no-salt, no-sugar, or vegetarian

  • Check the Transportation Security Administration Web site (tsa.gov) for information on traveling with food and medicine

  • If you are traveling internationally, regulations might be different than domestic travel. Check with your airline for country or airport-specific regulations

  • Most airports allow you to purchase liquids for carry on after security. Grab a couple bottles of water or juice to keep yourself hydrated on your flight

  • Bring doctors’ notes and prescription information, in case anything needs to be verified

    • The doctor’s note should include what you need to do for your diabetes (take medicine or insulin shots), list all medicine and devices you need to use, and list food or medicine allergies you may have

  • If you are on medicine, bring the prescription containers and be prepared to offer identification or declare the medicine to security personnel

  • Pack candies, dried fruit, granola bars, or similar snacks in your carry-on so you are prepared in the event of late or missed flights or long layovers

  • Pack twice as many necessities (including medicine and test strips) as you think you will need, just in case

  • Be mindful of your skin. Air travel can be very drying, so keep moisturizer handy

Train Travel Tips

  • Wear a medical ID bracelet that identifies you as a person with diabetes, in case of emergency

  • If the train has a dining car, call a few days before you leave to make sure they have menu items that will meet your needs

  • Pack your own food in a small cooler or lunch box

  • Bring extra bottles of water or juice.

  • Bring doctors’ notes and prescription information, in case anything needs to be verified

  • If you are on medicine, bring the prescription containers and be prepared to offer identification

  • Pack candies, dried fruit, or similar snacks in your carry-on so you are prepared in the event of late or missed flights or long layovers

  • Pack twice as many necessities (including medicine and test strips) as you think you will need, just in case

Keep It In Your Carry-On!

No matter how you travel, make sure you pack a small carry-on bag with the following essentials:

  • Insulin and syringes

  • Blood and urine testing supplies

  • Extra batteries

  • All medicines plus any needed prescriptions

  • A medical ID bracelet and any medical information that will help in case of an emergency, such as allergies or sensitivities

  • An airtight container of snacks in case of low blood sugar

Car Travel Tips

  • Wear a medical ID bracelet that identifies you as a person with diabetes, in case of emergency

  • Pack your own food in a small cooler or lunch box

  • Bring extra bottles of water or juice.

  • Pack twice as many necessities (including medicine and test strips) as you think you will need, just in case

  • If you are going to cross time zones when you travel, consider how this will affect your medicine or testing schedule and plan accordingly

International Travel Tips

  • Wear a medical ID bracelet that identifies you as a person with diabetes, in case of emergency

  • Learn how to say “I have diabetes” in the native language of the country you are traveling to

  • Consider time zone changes if you are taking medicine or checking your blood sugar on a schedule. Pack a small travel alarm to remind you when it’s time to test or take your meds

  • Investigate international doctors, especially if you are in a country where English is not the primary language. Contact your insurance carrier for information on international emergency care or call the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers (IAMAT) at 716-754-4883

  • The American Consulate is a great resource in case of an emergency in a foreign country. Find out which one is closest to your travel destination and keep the number and address handy

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