Managing a chronic health condition can be a challenge, even from the comfort of your own home. It can be especially challenging when you are on vacation–out of your element and living out of a suitcase. With some forethought and planning, you can have a safe and healthy trip and have some fun as well.
When beginning to pack, your first consideration should be your current health condition. Is your diabetes under reasonable control? If so, great! If not, you may want to consider seeing your doctor prior to your trip to get his or her assessment and input.
Second, think about your current treatment plan. Are you on oral meds? Insulin injections or an insulin pump? You need to make sure you have a more than adequate supply of your meds. If you are on insulin, you’ll need to have more than enough insulin and a way to store it at the appropriate temperature. Make sure you pack plenty of supplies, including pens, syringes, lancets, pump supplies–bring extra of everything. You’ll also want to have copies of your prescriptions on hand, in case something happens that requires you to get more meds or supplies.
Packing your diabetes care supplies is easier when you are driving, because you have more control over your space and environment. If you are flying, things can get a little tougher. You will want to review the latest TSA rules for what you can bring with you and for ideas on what kind of screening you can expect at the airport. As an example, I went through airport security, right after I got my insulin pump. I had been advised to declare the pump and all of my supplies up front. The response of the TSA agent was to pull me aside, completely unpack my carry-on bag, and then test me, and everything in my bag, for explosives. In addition, I was wanded and patted down. The most recent time I flew, the new scanning technology detected my pump right away. The TSA agent had me touch it and then tested my hands, and I walked right through. Generally, TSA regulations are not too unreasonable–medical equipment and supplies are exempt from a lot of the rules. You just need to make sure you are informed and prepared.
You’ll also want to plan to monitor your glucose levels more closely when you travel. The changes in environment, schedule, foods, and exercise will all likely affect your sugars. Stay on top of it, respond appropriately, and you will have a much better experience.
Finally, make sure you have healthy snacks available. You don’t know when unexpected schedule changes will put you in the situation of not having a meal at your planned time. If you have a snack with you, you can make sure your sugars don’t cause you or your travel companions any issues along the way.
As I’ve always said, being diabetic does not have to limit what you can do in your life. Just be prepared, and you can enjoy almost any activity you’d like.
Remember: Be smart. Be healthy. Live YOUR life!
Photo courtesy of Kristen Taylor on Flickr