Hitting the road:
Travel tips for life with diabetes.
I love to hit the road! Last summer I took my daughter, her friend, and my dog, on a 16 day cross country road trip east to see some of Americana that we miss out on living in the west. We went through 12 states and did most of the touristy stuff along the way! Sound crazy? Yes, it was, but I loved it! This summer takes me on several out of state adventures both to the east coast and west coast with a few stops in the middle. I am eagerly anticipating each one. How do I manage to keep control on my life with diabetes while traveling? Again, like most things we do, it simply takes some extra planning!
A few necessities:
• Take a travel letter with you from your endocrinologist or family doctor. This letter states what conditions you have and why you need to carry these medical supplies. I have NEVER had to use one in over 33 years, but I always take one in my carry on.
• Take extra supplies. If flying pack 2x what you need in a carry on and the rest in your luggage. This only applies to supplies not temperature sensitive.
• For temperature sensitive medications I like to use the Frio cooler pack. If flying, keep in mind TSA screenings, air pressure and underneath cargo temperatures. If driving in the car, keep a small cooler to protect medications from the heat when stopping for periods where the car will be heating up while you are enjoying the sights or a roadside meal. Remember to not put your insulin directly near the ice. Wrap it in a cloth and then keep it in a Ziploc bag to prevent it from getting wet or too cold.
• If you are traveling to a foreign country, look up the words associated with diabetes. Learn the name of your medications in the native language. Also look up where the nearest pharmacy or hospital are near your hotel or where you will be spending most of your time.
• Double check your phone plan accessibility for travel charges and if there are any specials things to consider.
• Know that you can change your local times on your pump and your meters. To be honest, I rarely do this, but for some people with diabetes, it would be a necessity
• Wear your diabetes identification. No exceptions. Make sure someone traveling with you knows where your supplies are and what to do in case of an emergency.
• Ask hotels for the use of a mini fridge. Sometimes I do this and other times I don’t. It depends on how long I will be staying in one hotel.
• Keep snacks in your carry on or in the car. For road trips I love to save up gift cards for fun stops along the way. In my everyday life I might reach for a GU chew or a glucose tab, but on a trip I might splurge on a carb laden drink from Starbucks! Caffeine and sugar high to keep on driving.
• Bring Sunblock and insect repellent. Sunburns can impact our BG control and make it very uncomfortable to change pump sites or CGM sites. Bug bites can lead to the same thing. Be sure to check the expiration dates on these as they can get old or be less effective if out in the heat by the pool for extended times.
So, hit the road or the air and enjoy this summer of travel. A little extra preparation can make your entire diabetes life much easier while traveling!
Hitting the road: