Day trip or dream vacation—how to take diabetes along for the ride
Whether you're trying on a new hemisphere or just enjoying a weekend away, we have a few quick reminders can help you get there ready to enjoy the destination.
Use diabetes as an excuse to overpack. Traveling for a week? That equals six pairs of shoes and two weeks of diabetes supplies. Take double the testing supplies, medications, low blood sugar treatments, pump accessories and other medical items you think you'll need. And if you use a pump, pack as if you expect for it to quit working on the first day.
If you're flying, keep everything in your carry on so you don't have to worry about your supplies arriving in Auckland while you deplane in Oakland. Driving? Use an insulated bag so supplies don’t overheat in the trunk while you're out exploring.
Embrace your new time zone. But first, talk to a member of your healthcare team about how to manage your blood sugar as you cross time zones—especially if you use insulin. Depending upon how far you go, the direction of travel and how long you'll be visiting, your healthcare provider may want you to alter your therapy and check your blood glucose more frequently.
Jetlag can also affect how your body uses insulin, how you eat and how well you can do math, so try to pay close attention to your numbers.
Import your own snacks. Planes don't always leave or serve meals on time. Roadside dining may not offer great options. Cruise ships make it easy to go overboard with food and drink. A few (or few dozen) snack, nut, fruit, etc. bars with predictable carb counts (and effects) can come in very handy. And make sure you have a fast-acting carb source to treat a low. See how Austin stocks up when he travels.
Between the selfies, keep a closer eye on your blood sugar. Walking an extra 20,000 steps a day, lingering meals later at night, new foods or a disrupted sleep schedule can impact your blood glucose levels in unpredictable ways. Why be surprised when you can simply test?
Overshare. Tell airport security, your travel companions, your hosts and anyone else who needs to know that you have diabetes. Let people know what a low looks like for you. A note from your doctor can also be helpful for explaining the extra syringes, infusion sets, medications and a container of used sharps in your bag.
Sure, there's a lot to consider. But getting away is worth the extra planning. Don't let diabetes keep you at home—we wish you smooth sailing (or driving or flying) on your next trip!