Traveling tests me mentally and physically: mentally by changing my perspective on this beautiful world of ours and physically by challenging my body and my overall diabetes management.
Since I got on my new pump, my way of traveling has completely changed. I have to make sure I bring double the amount of diabetes supplies, pack plenty of snacks, and explain to TSA that my robo-parts can’t go through the X-ray or body scanner (this part is always fun).
However, with proper planning and some organization, I’ve been able to reduce the number of unexpected surprises and help eliminate stress when traveling. There are a plethora of topics I can talk about but I just want to focus on some travel basics that I’ve found to be helpful for when I travel.
✔️Double, triple, quadruple check to make sure you have absolutely everything you need in case of an emergency. My rule of thumb is to take double the amount of supplies I would normally need for the given amount of time I’ll be traveling. When you’re gone for long periods of time, it can be overwhelming to bring so many supplies, but I’ve learned it’s better to be safe than sorry. You might be eating more than usual or your infusion or CGM site might get ripped out, so you want to make sure you’re prepared and have enough supplies to get you through your trip.
🎒Always (and I mean always) carry your diabetes supplies with you in your carry-on bag. Even though this might take up the most room in your bag, you don’t want to be left stranded in the airport with no supplies or have the misfortune of losing your checked luggage. Accidents do happen so eliminate the risk of losing your life source and keep your supplies close to your side at all times. Also, always throw a couple extra batteries in your pack in case your pump runs out of juice on the airplane.
📃It’s always a good idea to bring a signed letter from your doctor explaining your needs of diabetes. This can help explain to TSA or the flight attendants your condition and specific needs while in flight.
🖐 Check with your pump manufacturer about the specific precautions needed when going through security. Most manufacturers don’t recommend going through a body scanner or X-ray with your pump, so make sure you understand the risks and you’re able to explain why you don’t want your pump to go through the devices. You have an option to either opt out of going through the body scanner or X-ray and get a full-body pat-down or you can take your pump off and get a hand check. Getting a hand check is a simple process and it requires little hassle. I recommend doing whatever you feel most comfortable, but I’ve found a hand check is the most efficient option for me.
🦠 When getting a hand check, I put my pump in a plastic baggie and then alcohol swab after the hand check has been completed to prevent the spread of germs.
🍬Make sure to bring plenty of snacks in case your blood goes low in the air. My blood sugar tends to drop often when I’m in the air, so I always have snacks readily available. If you run out of snacks or forget them at home, simply explain your condition to the flight attendant and ask for juice or a snack.
❌ Be confident and know your needs. In almost every trip, TSA tries to get me to go through the X-ray with my pump. I respectfully decline, explain my reasoning and request a hand check. It’s okay to say no and ask for accommodations. You know your body best, so if you feel like something might potentially harm you, SPEAK UP and know your specific needs.
Don’t let your diabetes stop you from seeing this world. There are just a few extra steps you need to do before launching into your next big adventure! With proper planning, you can enjoy the many beauties this world has to offer- stress free.