Blood Glucose Control
Travelling to your destination can affect your blood glucose levels. While ideally, you want to keep them under control, don’t fret too much if they are a little erratic until you arrive and get into more of a routine.
Try to plan your journey so that you can have a meal and take insulin. Be aware, however, that plans can always change. You might get delayed, and excitement, stress, alcohol, running about to catch your plane or sitting around in the airport or on the plane or can affect your blood glucose.
If you suffer from travel sickness, make sure to keep sugary drinks with you in case you can’t eat. Bear in mind that you probably won’t be allowed these through airport security, so plan to buy them once you’re near your gate.
You will be able to buy food and drinks on board the plane, but these can be expensive and the service can be slow. It’s normally better to buy what you need in an airport shop and take it onto the plane.
Remember to test your blood glucose regularly and try not to run too high or too low. Many people prefer to run slightly high to reduce the risk of a hypo.
Insulin and Timezones
If you are going to be crossing time zones when you travel, think ahead about how this will affect mealtimes and insulin doses. If you’re moving more than four hours behind, for example, you may need to take more insulin than usual and have an extra meal.
You can ask your diabetes care team for advice and see what they’d recommend with your travel itinerary.
If you use a pump, remember to change the clock on it when you travel – and remember to change it back when you’re on your way home!
Try to space out your main meals to every four to six hours. If you haven’t taken any food with you and are relying on getting something to eat on the plane, ask the cabin crew what time they will be serving and try to fit this in either as a snack or as your main meal. They may also be able to provide you with additional food or at least bread rolls
Be aware that if in-flight meals are provided, they may not have a lot of carbs. Airlines sometimes offer a ‘diabetic’ option with even fewer carbs. Avoid these if you can, unless you’re taking your own food that has a high carb content.
Try to avoid taking insulin until you’re sure you’re about to be served, even if you usually wait a while before you eat. It’s better for your blood glucose to go a little high than to risk a hypo.