My Best Advice for Traveling With Type 2 Diabetes

Mila Clarke Buckley
Young woman waiting for the train on station platform
Young woman waiting for the train on station platform

So far this year I’ve been out my time zone three times. That’s more than I’ve traveled in the last few years, combined. I’ve learned a thing or two about traveling with type 2 diabetes.

I realized there aren’t many tips about traveling with type 2 diabetes online. I thought my everyday instincts would kick in, but it turned out there is much more to think about.

It made me realize that traveling with type 2 diabetes is actually a bit difficult.

So, I came here with some type 2 diabetes travel tips.

Tip: Pack what you need, and then a little extra.

I’ve learned in the last few months that when you travel, everything can and will go wrong.

My flight to Copenhagen was outright canceled in the city I was in. To make it worse, there were more delays in my layover city. I ended up getting to my destination nearly 10 hours later than I expected.

Related:What I've Changed in My Life After Being Diagnosed With Type 2 Diabetes

My flight got cancelled on another trip to Lake Tahoe, and there were no other flights out, so it took me two days to get home.

In my experience (and maybe I’m unlucky), things don’t seem to work out, or leave on time, or work as scheduled. Although an airline can sometimes compensate with meal vouchers, a hotel stay and transportation, they will not be able to get you insulin or other medication. You might be stuck in a city without being able to go anywhere. Avoid the emergency by making plan before you leave home.

Tip: Learn some time math.

Chances are your body is going to be in a different time zone. It certainly was like that for me in another country.

I had to learn time-math to figure out when my closest dosages would occur so I could take them as close to the same time as possible without any trouble.

Related:What No One Told Me About Accepting a Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosis

If you’re unsure about matching up the time, talk with your doctor before you leave about how you can adjust, and what protocol you should follow.

Tip: Always bring a carry on with your supplies and medication.

For some really dumb reason, I packed all of my medication in my checked bag. My planes were delayed for four total hours, and I ended up without any medication until 3 a.m.

I thought “I need a backpack or a carry-on.” I’m the kind of person who hates carrying any extra baggage (I usually just have my Bandolier), but I’m considering investing in a lightweight, cute backpack so that I can take my meds along at the very least.

I don’t want a scare like that again.

Tip: Make sure your supplies include some antibacterial products.

traveling with type 2 diabetes.
traveling with type 2 diabetes.

Related:How I'm Coping With My Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosis

OK, so one of the grossest things you may have to do is take your insulin in an airport restrooms. Restrooms at the airport aren’t nice.

There isn’t a clean, sterile space for people who take injectable medications.

Another tip for traveling type 2’s is to sanitize.

I bring a tiny bottle of sanitizer and some wipes to wipe the areas around me like the sink area of the plane bathroom (gross, but on an 11-hour flight, what choice do you have?), or the stall in the airport.

Sometimes you don’t have a choice in where you have to do your business. You might as well make the best of it, and make sure it’s clean.

Tip: Try not to stress if things don’t go according to plan.

I have seen things go left at the airport and from one moment to the next, your day could be completely changed.

If things don’t go according to plan, don’t stress.

Things are going to work out how they work out, and it’s not worth raising your blood pressure, or blood sugar over.

Know that you have to be flexible when you get to the airport. You’ll definitely get to where you’re going at some point.

These are some of my best type 2 diabetes travel tips.

I love to get out of town, see new places and explore.

I’m curious about what you guys observe, or think about when you travel.

Read more stories like this on The Mighty:

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