Travelling with Diabetes: What to Pack?
We’ll soon be heading on our first family vacation since V. was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. The big question when travelling with diabetes: what to pack?
It used to be as simple as making sure we didn’t forget clothes, a toothbrush, passports and Mr. Bunny.
But after talking to other parents, consulting with V.’s nurses, and reading up on some very helpful websites, our What-to-Pack list (as well as our previously non-existent How-to-Pack-It list) has grown exponentially.
Just the “basics” that we need to remember when travelling with a child with diabetes include:
- Open bottles of insulin
- Extra bottles of insulin
- 2 glucose testing kits
- 2 sizes of syringes
- Glucose testing strips
- Alcohol swabs
- Kleenex and gauze
- Glucagon emergency kit
- Ketostix urine testing kit
- A sharps container (for disposal of lancets and syringes)
- Her logbook
- A calculator (for figuring out the carbohydrate count of all of the restaurant meals she’ll be eating)
- A measuring cup (for verifying portion sizes)
On top of that, to get all of this through security at the airport, we need:
- a pharmacy print-off of all of V.’s prescriptions and medical supplies
- a letter from her doctor explaining that all of these items need to be brought onboard the aircraft with her and not checked in her luggage
- contact information (doctors, nurses, pharmacy) in case of questions
And we can’t forget the whole meal/snack issue. Since we’ll be in the air during her afternoon snack and her dinner—and timing is critical to keep her blood sugar regulated—we need to pack enough food to cover those and then some (in case of delays). Oh yes, and juice boxes in case of low blood sugar. (Thankfully juice “for passengers with a disability or medical condition” is exempt from the TSA 3-1-1 Directive regarding liquids and gels in carry-on baggage. Also exempt are “gels or frozen liquids needed to cool disability or medically related items”…again a good thing, since we need to keep her food safe and her extra bottles of insulin refrigerated.)
It’s a lot to think about and adds a whole new level of stress to travelling. But I know that once we’ve successfully tackled the what to pack when travelling with diabetes issue once, it’ll just become another part of our new normal.
Our airline’s website was also extremely helpful, offering details about what medical items are allowed in carry-ons, and guidelines for travelling with medicine.