Are you looking forward to a summer vacation? Are you going to an exotic location and traveling by air? Perhaps you are getting to your destination by relaxing on a train or bus? You might also be splurging on a cruise. Then, like many people you may be driving your car to get to your destination. No matter where you are going, you too need to eat.  Think ahead and execute a plan that is best for you as you travel.  Personally I travel at least four months out of the year. When I choose my foods and plan ahead, the travel is so much more enjoyable. Today we are going to discuss making the most of eating on the go!

food tips for summer travelAir Travel
Traveling through airports can be challenging for people with diabetes. Getting to the final destination may involve taking a direct flight or several layovers. Unfamiliar airports which may or may not have the needed food for you can add to the stress of travel.  As part of your carry on, consider packing food for these emergencies. Visit the TSA website to see what foods you can bring into an airport in the United States. Consider the following scenario and how you can plan ahead to avoid these food troubles.
Scenario:  You are at the airport and you will travel to a destination through a connecting flight. You will have a layover for an hour at an airport that you are not familiar with. The total time you will be traveling including the layover is 7 hours. Your flights do not offer meal service and the airport you are starting from may not have food you can eat available. How can you plan for this?
Travel time is expected to be 7 hours but delays happen. For a fact sheet on handling food safely click visit the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service website
1.    Eat a meal before you leave for the airport.
2.    Pack a water bottle that you can fill up after going through security. 
3.    Make and freeze sandwiches (bread and meat, egg, cheese or lentil loaf) ahead of time. Pack them in a clear freezer bag. In another small bag, pack a serving of lettuce. Put this in another freezer bag filled with ice and a single serving mustard or ketchup. Throw the ice away before you go through security. If possible buy ice and fill up the ice bag on the other side of security. 
4.    Freeze meat or cheese and pack (see suggestion 2) or bring hard boiled eggs. Pack a box bag of crackers instead of the bread
5.    Pack a few pieces of fresh fruit and vegetable sticks. You can even freeze a yogurt dip if it is frozen in a small enough container acceptable to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
6.     Bring your favorite energy bars, muffins or healthy cookies.
7.    Bring a small bag of homemade trail mix.
8.    Bring a large supply of glucose tablets (if on a medication where you may become hypoglycemic) also carry your meter and medications in your carry-on bag.  

Bus or Train
There usually are not restrictions as to food brought from home.  Amtrak allows food brought from home on their trains and you may bring a small cooler. You can eat your food only at your seat or in a sleeping compartment. Visit the On Track On Line website for details on Amtrak rules and guidelines. 
It is best to call the bus or train company to see if there are any restrictions to what is consumed onboard. You can ask if there is a dining car on the train. If you consider a train meal, ask for a copy of the menu. Longer bus trips often have stops at rest areas. Call to see where the stops are and if there is food available that will meet your needs. See above plane travel hints for packing.

Call the cruise line and talk to an agent about foods that will be served. Most of my patients do not have a hard time getting food to eat on a cruise, the problem may be they eat more than required. Problems may occur on excursions. You should always bring necessary medication, a snack, glucose tabs and your meter on excursions to take care of possible emergencies. 

I advise packing a cooler and bringing a nutritious, healthy picnic lunch or dinner. Drinks should be packed as well. This avoids the need for restaurants that may be closed or offer only limited selections. As with all trips, carry emergency supplies. Make sure you stop and rest and plan enough time to get the exercise you need as discussed with your medical team.

Traveling is lots of fun! With a little planning, you can have tasty, nutritious meals wherever you go. Bon voyage!