Well personally, it's not hard to carry my supplies because all I need is my meter, strips etc. But it's hard sometimes getting in the exercise and well, when you are on Vaca or just even business travel in general the food is the hardest thing. Especially these dumb airlines and what you are allowed in your carry on luggage. Even without having to carry around the other things like Insulin (have to keep it refrigerated) and syringes, being a diabetic on the road is a BIG challenge. You just try to do the best you can and then get back on track when you come back home.
I only have troulbe when traveling to time zone that is 3 hours different..1 and 2 hour changes don't seem to whack things out as much..but three gives me grief..and about the time my body gets used to it I am usually travelling back and messing things up again. :-(
hi Randal, I depend on my pump - so I usually take along at least some extra stuff in case of emergency. The supplies aren't all that bad because I have a kit with sharps and testing stuff. I take extra batteries. I was tempted to take along a spare pump to China (minimed would have loaned me one).... but decided to take lantus and syringes instead (gotta go simple sometimes).
Airport security can be a hassle, not always a problem. TSA doesn't always know what to do with us (OMG you have LIQUIDS) and so a very calm discussion followed by a short interview with the security floor manager usually does the trick. It is helpful to know that you are allowed with no restrictions Insulin, Juice, cool paks (though that's a bit too ballsy for me and I never tried it) testing equipment and supplies, oral meds (but keep them in the original pill bottles), etc. Haven't had a real problem in 2 years with 3 international and several in-USA flights. I find it's way easier to detach my pump and put it through x-ray rather than wear it, and go through the "what's that" - it's a pump "Take it off for metal detector please" and then everything is suspicious after that.
My dawn phenomenon goes away if I am out of my time zone by even an hour. don't know why this happens, but I set up a "Travel" basal profile in my pump for that issue, so the thing doesn't try to kill me at 3AM. =)
The hardest part is the guessing of carbs in restaurants for me. No good rules exist except - double the carbs in every single meal. I swear that even restaurant water can make my bg spike...
is it worth it?! yes but I suppose it depends. I like to see different things and I travel for work and pleasure. I like to take pictures and experience local stuff and I find travel *destinations* to be worth it.
Terrible! I have to travel a lot for work. No matter how much I prepare it seems I never have the right quantity of emergency foods. I always get stuck in some social situation where eating is difficult or my blood sugar goes wacky.
"Is it worth it?" seems like an odd question. That's like asking if it's worth it for a wheelchair bound individual to leave the house if there might be stairs in a building.
I have been a diabetic (in Texas) my whole life. I have traveled to France, Germany, Canada, Switzerland, Czech Republic, and to more than half of the states in the U.S. I have done summers abroad for study, summers away from home, and college. I don't see any reason not to travel just because you have diabetes.
That being said, carrying my supplies is just part of my life with diabetes. When I spent part of a summer in Germany, I packed an small suitcase of nothing but supplies. At the end of the trip, it was empty and I could use it for all the souvenirs I was bringing home. Yes, sometimes you get caught without and it's a hassle. (I tried to find IV preps once in a hospital pharmacy of all places and they had no clue what I was asking for.) My experience in the Czech Republic was horrible when I ran out of insulin and couldn't get what I needed, but in the end, this is what I learned:
1. Carry enough.
2. Carry prescriptions (although they cannot honor them abroad, they will help you prove your prescribed use of your medication).
3. Get a travel letter from your endo stating that you're a diabetic and are authorized to carry equipment related to your care (stops even the most resistant TSA agents (who I think are generally great about traveling diabetics)).
4. Before you travel to a foreign place, know how to get help should you need it. (Before my honeymoon to Paris, I knew where the closest hospital and pharmacy would be to our hotel.)
Maybe it just depends on the individual agents. I always try to point out my pump to the agent at the metal detector, but they just nod and wave me through. Then I try to tell the agent watching the x-ray conveyor belt that I have diabetic supplies in there. It usually involves a quick unzip of my supply bag, a visual inspection, and a wave through. DFW, La Guardia (NYC), Logan Intl (Boston), CDG (Paris), etc. Same thing every time.
I hate to say it, but I wonder if they gender profile a bit. You know, trust me because I'm a young woman and give you grief because you're a man.
Go for it, great fun. Biggest problem is finding a place to urinate. There are more public toilets in France than in Clagary Canada downtown which is very diabetic unfriendly. Also buffets are a problem, as one non-diabetic American joked:" 5000 calories is a good start for the day". Exercise in a places like France or Spain is not a problem since we still did a lot of walking about on the streets and in the museums.
The Europeans border guards are pretty friendly about pills, insulin and supplies in general. Getting mugged by security people is more of a problem in America.
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Dear Ms. Rosenthal: I am a person living with type 1 diabetes since the age of 30. I am also the President and co-Founder of the Diabetes Hands Foundation, a nonprofit aimed at connecting and mobilizing the diabetes community. Seeing Read on! →