International Travel Tips To Review Before You Depart On Your Next Trip

 

Be prepared for extended delays at airport security checkpoints. Always check with the  TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ADMINISTRATION (TSA), your airline or travel agent for updates and concerns before you depart on any trip for the latest updates.


General Information

Traveling to different regions of the world is a fantastic experience. The following list of tips is just a few of the things you should consider when traveling abroad. Keep the name of the US Embassy with you for each destination on your trip. To get the information visit the US State Department website. Each region of the world has its own set of issues and concerns. Please email us about your international travel experience so we may share them with others.

  • Allow extra time for check in and clearing security check points. You airline or travel agent will be ale to provide you with current conditions at the airports on on your travel itinerary.
  • Many UK airports are not allowing any carry-on items including handbags, MP3 players and laptops. De-clutter your carry-on to make it easy for the security staff to check your carry-on luggage – bring only necessary items, medications, baby foods, passports, etc. as a carry-on. Place these items in a plastic bag so it is easy to see them.
  • Medications and baby food are allowed -make the security agent aware of your medications – keep medications in the same part of your carry-on or in a separate pouch so they are easy to find and check – carry a copy of your prescriptions to  make it easier for the security agent to identify them – you may be asked by the security agent to taste baby food items.As usual don’t pack medications in your checked luggage. They may not make it to your destination. Take them through the security check points.

Nutrition

  • Drink bottled water. When traveling internationally, in our opinion, it is better to be safe than sorry. How your body will react to the local tap water is always an unknown. So why take a chance? This point goes beyond just the water you drink. Be careful of foods that are not cooked. They are often rinsed with local water. If you eat too much of these foods you can experience the same physical conditions as if you drank the water. Keep hydrated. Always keep a bottle of water with you at all times. When your traveling and at night when you are in your room it’s nice to have that water handy.
  • Watch what you eat. It is tough when you visit other countries to always know what ingredients were used in foods. International travelers love to sample local and regional dishes. That’s part of the excitement of international travel. Enjoy your meals, do your best to identify what’s in the food, test frequently and adjust your medications accordingly.
  • Always keep glucose tablets, a variety of snacks or hard candy with you. You never know when you might have to eat something quickly because your dining plans changed at the last minute.

 

John’s Experience: I was visiting Henley on the Thames and meeting someone for lunch. The cafe was just across the street from the hotel. I had eaten there before and was familiar with the menu, so I knew what I would order for lunch and decided to take my Humalog before I left my hotel room. As we were leaving the hotel to cross the street to the cafe, we happened to run into a business acquaintance. We visited for about twenty minutes in front of the hotel. Because of the unplanned delay of getting to the cafe and eating, I began to experience some low blood sugar symptoms. I reached into my pocket for a glucose tablet only to find the container empty. When I arrived at the cafe, I immediately got the attention of the server, explained the situation and they brought out some crackers and other munchies. That experience taught me not to take anything for granted. I double check to make sure I have glucose tablets and I don’t take my Humalog until I have ordered my meal. 

 

  • Important: When traveling by train or air, don’t assume there will be food available. Cost considerations have resulted in inconsistent food service. Food service on trains in Europe and Asia are hit and miss. Check with carriers or your travel agent for information on meal availability.

Exercise

  • Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) can be a problem on long flights or train trips. When you are riding on a train or airplane you can always do a variety of exercises that can help your circulation. While sitting, move your toes up and down several times. Stretch your legs out in front of you and lift them off the floor for a few repetitions. On a plane, especially a long flight, walk around when it is appropriate. It is not unusual on long flights for feet to swell because of the inactivity. Also, don’t cross your legs. It’s not good for circulation.
  • When traveling, always have a simple exercise routine planned. If it’s not convenient to walk around, jog or use a fitness facility, develop a exercise plan you can do in your room. A few leg ups, sit ups, stretching exercises, etc. can all easily be done in your room. Select “Exercise” above for a few simple routines.

Medications

Treat your medications like your passport. Always keep your medications with you. On planes or trains: never place your medications with your checked luggage. It doesn’t always show up at the same place or time that you do. Also, keep your medication bag (GO-BAG) under the seat in front of you for easy access. Window or middle seats can sometimes make it difficult to get to the overhead bin for you carry ons.

Craig’s Experience: I was traveling with a business associate to Munich from London with a brief stop in Brussels. My travel associate and I were in business class. When we checked our luggage, it was tagged as VIP Priority Service. On our arrival in Brussels, my business associates luggage appeared, but mine did not. Although I checked numerous times throughout the day, my luggage couldn’t be located. We spent the day in Brussels and then went on to Munich that evening. We were in Munich for three days. Each day I would contact the airline to check on my luggage. After three days I departed Munich and still didn’t have my luggage. It wasn’t until the day after I arrived back in the US that the luggage showed up at my door. If I would have had any of my medications in my checked luggage, I would have really had a hassle.

 

  • Be aware of the temperature at your destination. Keep your insulin in the proper carrying case. To see the latest in storage cases for your insulin see The Insulin Case Shop.
  • If you have to order new medications or supplies while traveling, remember insulin, syringes, pill containers, etc. may not use the same measurements as the US.
  • Always carry more medication than you will need on your trip. Cancelled flights, extended trips and other delays are a reality when you are traveling internationally.
  • Carry a list of your medications, dosages and copies of your prescriptions. If necessary, have the list and your prescriptions translated into the languages of the countries you are visiting. Most countries do a good job with English, so it is usually not a problem. But, check before you go.
  • Adjust the time you take your medications to allow for time zone changes. If you can plan for it before your trip begins, it’s easier. It is difficult when traveling to figure out how the time zone affects you when you’re tired or fatigued from long travel days.
  • Before you depart, locate the medical facilities in the countries you plan to visit.
  • Test more frequently. As you travel the different types of food available and changes in your exercise schedule can affect your diabetic control.

Identification

  • Don’t hide the fact you are a diabetic. Always carry an emergency card in your wallet or purse and wear an ID bracelet. If you have a medical emergency it will benefit you if others can find this information quickly.
  • For a list of companies who have a variety of identification products click on “Identification” above.Travelers that run or walk for exercise but hate to carry identification because it is too bulky or gets in the way, look at the Shoe ID from Road ID. It attaches firmly to the shoe or around the shoelaces of your jogging or walking shoes with a small velcro strap. It is made with reflective materials making it easy to find and because the velcro can be adjusted it wont flop around. No more bouncing of a neck chain or the discomfort of exercising with a wristband or ankle bracelet.