10 Tips For Vacationing With An Insulin Pump
The final message in our CDE-written series about the beauty of living with an insulin pump.
Aahhhh. It's finally time for that long-overdue, well-deserved vacation! As you surely know, planning any type of getaway takes a little extra effort when you have diabetes. Voyage MD, a diabetes travel site by a UK doctor, is a great place to find destination-specific tips and ideas.
In addition, think about these 10 tips before you hit the road.
When you book your trip:
1. Ask your doctor for a letter explaining that you have diabetes. Make 2 copies, one for your carry-on and one to keep in your checked luggage or with a travel companion.
As you're packing:
2. Bring twice as many testing and pumping supplies as you need for the time you'll be traveling, as well as an extra prescription.
3. Consider other medical supplies you might need, such as a glucagon kit, antidiarrheal medication, antibiotic ointment and antinausea drugs.
4. Don't forget a pen, syringes or back-up insulin pump.
5. Always wear your medical ID that states you have diabetes.
6. Carry some type of sugar source to treat low blood sugar. You can even declare and carry gels and juices through airport security.
7. Keep insulin with you. Since insulin needs to be kept between 33oF and 80oF, it shouldn't be checked into the luggage hold or stored in a car's glove compartment. If you're going someplace especially cold or hot, there are lots of insulated products that can help keep your insulin in a safe range.
At the airport:
8. Familiarize yourself with the TSA policy regarding diabetes supplies. In general, if you need something to treat your blood sugar or another medical condition, or even gel packs to keep insulin cool, it shouldn't be a problem.
9. Tell the security agent that you have diabetes and you are carrying medical supplies.
10. Plan extra time for your CGM or pump. The TSA employs a lot of people, and the possibility that you'll be an agent's first pump or CGM wearer is still, unfortunately, something you may have to contend with.
While diabetes may mean you have more to think about than the average traveler, a little preparation will ensure you enjoy all that your vacation has to offer. As Henry Ford said, "Before everything else, getting ready is the secret to success."
author: Mary Lou Barrette RD, CDN, CDE, Roche Regional Clinical Specialist