Holiday Travel: How to Get Where You’re Going (and Stay Well)


Are you planning to travel this year? Here are some tips to keep you healthy and happy while on the road.

Photo Of The Sky As Seen From An Airplane Window

As the holiday season gets underway, thousands flock to the airports in search of loved ones or to escape the chaos. Many others will either take the train or bus, or they may choose to drive along the highways. But whether by land, sea, or sky, there are likely to be delays  along the way.

These travel problems can prove to be more than a nuisance for people with serious medical conditions like heart disease or diabetes. Planning well is key to staying healthy when traveling. Here’s how. 


Keep your meals close to your normal schedule. Inyanga Mack MD, assistant professor of family-community medicine at Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia, said, “This is especially important to diabetics.”

Meal service is no longer available on many flights. This allows you to get to the airport in plenty of time so that you can eat before your flight. You should also bring snacks for hypoglycemia prevention, either on the road or at the airport, she suggests.

Use a medical alert bracelet. Mack recommends you carry the name and contact information of your primary care physician and an emergency contact person. Mack suggests that you keep a record of all your medications and their doses so someone can access them in an emergency.

You should always have your medications with you. You should have a few days supply of medications with you. You can ensure your health is not at risk in case of lost luggage or prolonged delays. No matter what, you should eat and take medication according to your usual schedule.

It is important to properly label medication. All prescriptions must contain the label of the pharmaceutical or professional printed label identifying it. You may not be allowed to board the plane if your supplies and medications are missing. To ensure you have what you need, you may want to call ahead.

FAA requirements: Diabetic patients who carry syringes or needles must also have the injectable medication. Diabetic travelers to the U.S. may bring their syringes or other equipment in carry-on luggage. However, insulin vials must be labeled professionally. It is better to keep insulin in the original packaging, which has the pharmaceutical company label. Needles should be capped. The manufacturer’s name must be on the glucose meter. The original packaging for injectable glucagon with preprinted label should be included.

If you have heart disease

Do not become dehydrated or fatigued. Ronald Krone MD, professor of medicine at Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, advises that you get plenty of rest. Find someone to take your bags if you feel tired. Don’t rush. A long airport journey can feel like a stress test. To ensure that you don’t have to lift heavy objects overhead, carry as little as possible. Minimize your workload.”

Take a rest day if you are traveling internationally. Krone states, “You shouldn’t be on a go/go schedule.” Krone says, “Allow yourself to get enough rest and ensure you are well hydrated.”

A copy of your document should be kept on hand ECG. If you have had heart bypass surgeryGet a note signed by your surgeon. Krone suggests that the chart should show the number and type of bypasses performed. Krone says that if you need emergency catheterization in a foreign location, the cardiologist would know how to perform it. It would simplify the entire process.

If you are taking Coumadin If you are planning to travel for a longer period of time, it is worth making arrangements to have your blood tested at the destination. A lot of countries require that you visit a local doctor to have your blood tested and write a prescription. Krone states that these arrangements can be made easily by the U.S. Embassy.

Traveling with Kids

Make a game plan. Andrea McCoy MD is the director of primary care at Temple University Children’s Medical Center. She says, “It is difficult to travel with children to begin with, and delays or changes in time zones makes it even harder.”

Let the kids run when they have the chance. McCoy states that young children cannot be expected to sit like soldiers. “Mom may let her children run through a hallway, while Dad has to wait in line. It’s enough to be a grown-up and stand there, but you can’t expect your children to do that.

You can bring snacks, drinks and other activities. Keep your kids busy with books to read, games, puzzle books, portable checkers, and game boys. You can also use coloring books, games, and action figures for younger children. McCoy says to plan activities they enjoy. “Plan something new and different. Something they don’t see everyday or have never seen.” The novelty can help a bit. Another option is to wrap individual toys and then bring them out when you are ready.

Have light snacks. Bagels are starchy, and don’t need refrigeration. They can be used to counter both hunger and airsickness.

Keep prescription medication handy. Keep medications cool by storing them in an icepack. In case you need to take a second choice medicine, let your doctor know in advance.

Transport  Acetaminophen Children can swallow or suckle this stuff. McCoy states that these are used for normal aches, pains, and ear pain. If you’re flying, swallowing or sucking will clear the child’s ears.

Make sure boosters or Car seats They are readily available. You should make arrangements for your car rental at the destination. Consider bringing a car seat aboard for a safer flight.

Do you think your destination is child-friendly? You can still apply the same principles at home when you are away. Are there gates at stairs’ tops? If you’re staying with someone who has a gun, is it  stored out of children’s reach? Make sure you get rid of all wrappings and ribbons after wrapping gifts. This will prevent little ones from getting choked or suffocated. And make sure that  leftover party food gets stored safely,  so kids won’t get into it if they wake up before you. 

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Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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