Travel across time zones

Does anyone have any tips about changing your insulin routine when traveling across time zones? I’m going to Europe to visit my sister in a few months and I’m not sure of the best way to handle the timing of injections. It seems like on the way there, I would just stay on the regular schedule since it’s an overnight flight, but from there I don’t know.

Also, do you bring an extra glucose meter when you travel overseas? I’m probably just being paranoid but this is my first big trip with T1 and I don’t know what I’m doing :slight_smile:

Best advice I’ve heard is to set your watch for landing time as soon as you board. Then basal and bolus based on that. I don’t pump, but if I did I would do the same with my pump. I tell them not to collect my tray if I’m not ready to eat - just save it for when you want to eat.

I always find that I am much more active when I arrive, especially at first, so be prepared to take less insulin (so for example I would take one fewer basal doses instead of one extra when I changed the five hour timezones to Europe). Be prepared to adjust your insulin - I find I always need to.

I pack the insulin and supplies that I will need plus some extra on my carry-on baggage. And I put the rest, more than enough of everything to cover my full trip time including plenty of glucose tabs or equivalent, in my bag. You certainly can buy anything you need while traveling - probably for far less than it costs here thanks to our wonderful health care system - but who wants to spend time finding a doctor and pharmacy when you have limited time. I spent a month in Japan a couple years ago and made sure I had plenty of supplies due to my language barrier - insulin kept fine in my hotel fridge.

One other bit of advice (which I never needed to use but that made me feel more comfortable) - look up how to say “diabetes” and “please help me” and “I need sugar” in the native language of whatever countries you’re going to. Tokyo is easy, but I was also wandering around rural parts of Japan where English was definitely not well known.

Have fun.

Thanks for the responses! I hadn’t thought of mentioning food and water in the travel letter. I’m sure I’ll have to make quite a few insulin adjustments - I had to do that even just flying to Texas in October and being out of my routine. It might be easier because my sister is also T1, so I could bum some supplies from her in an emergency. Jag, “I have diabetes” was the first thing I looked up in my phrase book :slight_smile:

Eastbound: losing 5 hours on MDI. It is appropriate to take 2/3 usual Lantus divided in two doses and not forgetting the first one around bedtime when you leave at night. Setting your clock for the arrival city’s time shortly after you get on is good. If you take usual doses, you have to correct for hypos and you don’t want that.
Westbound: gaining 5 hours: It is appropriate to take 1/5 more Lantus, again divided in two doses and setting your clock for the arrival city’s time shortly after you get on.
You are sitting a long time on the westbound trip since you don’t have winds with you.