When I was first diagnosed with diabetes, I went on a cruise. Literally a month after diagnosis I was boarding a huge cruise ship with zero to little experience. I was on needles at that point and hadn't even felt my first low blood sugar. Luckily at the time my uncle who was type 1, was there to assist me and I am forever grateful for him for those first steps.
Clearly, at that point in 2009, I didn't know much about my diabetes let alone how to prepare for travel and diabetes. Flash forward to now, 2016, I am well rehearsed in diabetes and travel and I without a doubt worry way less than I did back then. But, all of that confidence takes time and organization.
Now, when I go on a trip, I already have my diabetes travel bag packed. I have an organized travel case that I leave filled for when I am going away. It is honestly one of the best diabetes hacks I can offer for travel. I am pretty sure it is meant to hold makeup and other toiletries but it makes the most perfect diabetes kit ever. Once I am home from a trip, I replace what I used and store it away for the next time. I have my sites, my strips, batteries, reservoirs, you name it, I have it. Except insulin, because that needs to be refrigerated.
|My diabetes travel bag|
Insulin is probably the one thing that I stress about the most when travelling with diabetes. First is to remember to pack it, countless times I have gone to visit my parents and realized I do not have enough insulin for the weekend. The other thing is making sure it doesn't break in transport and/or get to warm. A couple summers ago we went to Disney. My dad picked me up from the airport because I came in later, and I didn't realize we were going straight to the amusement park. I had all my luggage, including my insulin. The luggage was fine to stay in our rental, but it was the insulin I was worried about in the humid Florida weather. Luckily, Disney was amazing and let me store my insulin in their fridge at the medical stand. But it is times like this where travel and diabetes can be tricky.
|My diabetes travel bag|
Low supplies is another thing I suck at. In general, I am not good about having low supplies at all time. A huge part of the reason is because if I have it around, I will eat it....not when I am low. But, when I travel, I try and remember to bring snacks with me. However, sometimes that doesn't work out so well. Recently on my flight back from California, as we landed I realized I was going low, and my CGM had two arrows down indicating it was dropping fast. I realized I had eaten all of my snacks on the five hour flight and was left with nothing. I impatiently waited for the slow pokes to grab their baggage and move [something that annoys me even when my blood sugar is good] I was tempted to take the emergency exit or find that cool looking yellow slide that pops out in emergency landings.
Going low and travel is it's own post in itself. Travelling puts you in all kinds of situations you're not normally in. Long waits, sitting for long periods of time, running, walking and getting stressed, there are so many things that can toy with your blood sugar when you're travelling, so I would suggest not being like me, and bring snacks, lots of snacks.
Travelling all over the world is possible with diabetes. While it takes some planning, over time it becomes second nature. You know when to tell the TSA guy that you're wearing an insulin pump, you know when to change the time on your insulin pump when there is a time change, and you know what to pack and to pack 10x more supplies than needed. The only thing that you don't know is how your diabetes is going to be, but that's no surprise.