Long-awaited spring break is finally upon us – and that means that many people living with type 1 diabetes (T1D) will be getting out of their everyday routine by traveling away from home.
Whether you’re taking a road trip or a cross-country red eye flight, traveling with your #T1DTech can certainly present some extra challenges but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the experience. Preparing ahead of time will allow you to relax a little more and enjoy your spring break trip to the fullest! JDRF and Beyond Type 1 are here to offer up some valuable resources that can help you prepare for fun in the sun!
Before you travel
- Reach out to your endocrinologist for advice (this can be helpful if you need to adjust insulin dosing for time zones).
- Reach out to your #T1DTech company to see if they will supply a back-up insulin pump or continuous glucose monitor (CGM) transmitter or receiver while you travel. Many companies offer a low or no-cost rental program for travel.
- Make a list of all the supplies you’ll need and check them off as you pack and pack more than what you think you need – many people choose to pack 2 to 3 times more supplies than they would typically need for the same amount of time. Remember extras of things like insulin pump site inserters if you use them.
- Pack plenty of low items and snacks (you never know when your flight or food services will be delayed).
- If traveling by plane, pack all diabetes supplies in your carry-on bag and do research on which of your #T1DTech can safely go through airport security.
Kaila Iglehart Odhiambo, JD, also known as @travelingdiabetic on Instagram, has type 1 diabetes and travels by plane once a week. Here are some of her helpful tips for travel:
- Let airport TSA agents know if you need a pat down instead of going through body scanners. Some insulin pump or CGM companies recommend avoiding the full body scanners to avoid malfunctions.
“Do not be afraid to speak to the TSA agent while going through security about your special needs for your pump and other life saving devices,” Odhiambo says, “it has even given me advantages when friendly airport workers have allowed me to skip the body scanners and go through the metal detectors.”
- Make sure the people traveling with you know you have type 1 diabetes and how to best help you
“The sun, drinking and overeating are inevitable but our friends could see warning signs of our highs and lows before we do,” says Odhaimbo.
- If you’re flying, allow extra time to get through airport security
- Don’t leave your supplies in a hot car or anywhere in direct sunlight
Once you’re at your destination
- Check your blood sugar more often as changes in routine may affect your blood sugar differently
- Going to the beach? See how you can navigate the waves of T1D while you’re catching those rays
- Don’t be shy about asking for what you need in new places, whether it’s food, water, or extra time to change out an insulin pump set or check your blood sugar. People want to help!
- Over 21? Beyond Type 1’s “Alcohol + Diabetes” guide is full of helpful information that can help you drink responsibly
Overall, remember to have fun and enjoy your trip!