Seven Secrets to Healthy Travel with Diabetes

Are you headed out on the open road, rails, or sky? Traveling, whether it’s for vacation or business, can totally derail our normal routines and maybe throw a wrench in our healthy choices. Regardless of where you’re headed, here are some secrets for healthy traveling:

Pack it up

Make sure to pack all necessary monitoring equipment (glucometer, testing strips, backup batteries) and medicine you may need during your trip. Even if you’re headed out for just a few days, it is always a good idea to pack a few extra…just in case! Put together a little travel kit of all the essentials (including supplies in case of lows) so that everything is in one place. Traveling with insulin? Liquid meds and other diabetes-related liquids are allowed through TSA checkpoints. It never hurts to have your prescription information packed with your medications if there are any questions. Pro-tip: If you’ll be headed to a different time zone, chat with your doctor about timing your medication appropriately.

Plan ahead

Vacation is a time to kick your feet up and relax, maybe even indulge a bit, but that’s no reason you can’t have a few healthy options up your sleeve. Scope out the area where you’ll be staying – get some dinner reservations on the books or find a nearby market where you can grab a few essentials. Cruise through online reviews, browse menus, or crowdsource your friends for recommendations on food spots, it can save everyone the dreaded “what’s for dinner?” debacle.

Keep it clean

Getting sick on vacation can definitely put a damper on the fun. The easiest way to prevent a lot of illnesses is through simple hand hygiene. Try to wash your hands more often while traveling since you’ll be exposing yourself to a lot more germs. If you’ll be flying, consider bringing some disinfecting wipes in your carry-on to wipe down your tray table and seat area and avoid touching the items in the seat pocket if you can help it. 

Pro tip: You can give your immune system a boost before traveling by keeping your microbiome healthy.

Bring snacks

Maybe it’s just us, but airports and major highways don’t tend to conjure up thoughts of fresh, healthy meals. And with many airlines not providing meals during flights, it can be hard to keep your tummy full during trips without turning to convenience foods that may not be the friendliest to your health goals. Plan ahead and throw a couple of snacks in your bag to keep cravings at bay after a long day of travel. Some of our favorites include fruit, nuts, and trail mix. Bars are a convenient option too, just be sure to read the label before you buy. Try to find bars with few ingredients and little to no added sugar, like RxBars or Kind Bars.

Drink up

Flying is particularly dehydrating – altitude can dry you out more than you may feel. Add in that you can’t bring liquids through security and things can get tricky! Staying adequately hydrated can help you arrive feeling refreshed and energized, and trust us, that’s worth the bathroom breaks. 

Pro tip: pack a reusable water bottle that you can fill up once you’re past the checkpoint. It will ensure you have plenty to sip on before the beverage cart’s trips down the aisle (which will help you avoid the temptation for that mid-flight soda or juice). If you do need to grab a beverage from your friendly flight attendant, we recommend tea, coffee, or some bubbly water.

Get active

We all deserve a little R&R, which can be a healthy component of vacation time. For those moments when you need a break from the beach chair, introduce some movement into your day. In a new city? Try a walking or bike tour to catch all the sights. Planning a trip in the great outdoors? A walk, hike, or swim can be a great way to get a dose of fresh air. Many hotels have gyms or offer free exercise classes, give one a try if any catch your eye! Beach yoga anyone?

Check in with yourself

Lines, crowds, flight delays, traffic…let’s face it, traveling can be stressful. Take a moment to check in with yourself, especially during travel days. A few deep breaths can go a long way. We’re available every day if you have questions, concerns, or need someone to check-in with.

While we can’t help you pack your suitcase, we are full of ideas to ensure you have a happy and healthy trip. Head on over to your Brook app to chat travel tips & tricks.

Image of Brook Health Expert Kelsea
Reviewed by Kelsea Hoover, MS, RDN​

on February 27th, 2020. Kelsea is a Registered Dietitian with her Master's degree in Nutrition from Bastyr University in Kenmore, WA, and is one of our Health Coaches.