The United States of America (USA) is one the most visited countries in the world, with world-famous attractions such as the Statue of Liberty, the Grand Canyon and Times Square drawing huge levels of tourism.

Visiting America

Around 5.5 million British nationals visit USA each year, which can be accessed only by airplane given its 4,242-mile distance from the United Kingdom.

The USA is roughly 3,000 miles wide and travel times will therefore depend on which part of the country you are visiting. Travelling to London to New York, for example, can take a minimum time of eight hours, while departure from London to Texas can require a minimum flight time of nine-and-a-half hours.

Regardless of where you are visiting, you should expect to be in the air a long time, which will in likelihood require medication when on board the plane.

If you are unsure as to how to manage your medication while in the air then you should discuss a plan with your diabetic specialist.

Time difference

The time differences in USA are again dependent on your destination. Miami is four hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), while Hawaii is 10 hours behind GMT. It is essential to assess your time difference before arriving in USA to analyse your medication plan.

Summer periods in many USA states such as Texas, California and Florida can see exceptionally hot weather welcome travellers.

Control in warmer climates

If you take insulin, be wary that insulin absorption can be enhanced in warmer climates. You will need to regularly check blood sugar levels , especially if you are undertaking physical activity.


The currency used in USA is the US Dollar, although ATMs are easily accessible and most credit and debit cards will be accepted when paying for goods.


There are no mandatory vaccinations required to enter USA, but this opportunity should be taken to ensure existing vaccinations such as your yearly flu jab and those against polio and tetanus are also up to date.

Getting medication in the USA

UK citizens with diabetes will not be entitled to any free medication services while in USA. Securing comprehensive medical insurance will be essential in order to obtain even basic treatment.

Diabetic medication is available in USA, but payment will be required from all pharmacies. Blood and urine testing kits are available from pharmacies in USA.

The emergency services telephone number to be called in Thailand is 1554


You should note which syringes are available in USA, with U-100 syringes the most commonly used.

The vast majority of insulin in the UK is U-100 insulin. If you take, or are given any other strength of insulin (e.g. U-80 or U-40 insulin) whilst abroad, your current doses will not be applicable.

For example, you would use a U-40 syringe for U-40 insulin. You will need to work with a doctor getting the right dose if you’re using a different form of insulin.

Diabetes associations

It is important to note the diabetes associations in the country you are travelling to in case of an emergency.

There are two diabetic associations in the USA, which are:

  • American Association of Diabetes Educators (a member of International Diabetes Federation (IDF) since 2011),
    200 W. Madison Street, Suite 800,
    IL 60603-1901 Chicago,
    Tel: +1-800 3383633
    Email: [email protected]
  • American Diabetes Associatio, (a member of the IDF since 1950),
    1701 North Beauregard Street,
    Alexandria, VA 22312,
    Tel: +1-703-5491500
    Email: [email protected]


  • How is blood glucose measured in USA? Blood glucose levels are measured in mg/dl
  • What language is spoken in USA? English
  • Will I need an international driving license when driving in USA? No
  • If I want to hire a vehicle during my visit, will I face any form of discrimination? No
  • What sugar free drinks are available in USA? A wide variety of diet, or sugar-free drinks, are available, including Diet Coke and Diet Soda

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