What should I pack for a vacation- as a woman with diabetes?

Ask our CDE

What should I pack for a vacation- as a woman with diabetes?

Question:

Dear CDE:

I am all in a frenzy as I am about to leave on a vacation for 10 days!! I have not been away on a vacation in over a year so I am very excited but also panicked about all I have to do before I can get on that plane! As a female it naturally takes me longer to pack than my male cohort as I have to get outfits together, the right shoes, earrings, hair dryer etc. etc.  We are going out of the country to a land far away. So I also need my passport. Add to that the fact that I have diabetes and it almost doubles my packing time and quantity.  Can you offer any packing tips?

Thanks,

Renee

Answer:

Dear Renee-

First and formost, you have to be prepared for anything that may come up. I'll provide some help based on my own experiences: For example: I use an insulin pump so I need to take double the amount of infusion sets and reservoirs for my pump. Also, what if your pump breaks? Heaven forbid, but you need a backup system, whether it is syringes, or insulin pens or a backup pump. Most of the pump companies will let you “borrow” a pump for a fee for a vacation. Next I always take an extra vial or two of insulin as trying to get a prescription filled in a foreign country may be difficult. It is also important to make sure I have a glucagon emergency kit that’s not expired just in case. What about testing supplies? I generally take at least 2 meters and 2-3 times the strips needed. I also bring extra batteries for my meters and pump. I also take glucose tabs or some type of quick acting sugar for low blood sugars as well as snack food for the plane trip particularly if things are delayed. Where do I put all this equipment? It should ALWAYS go on the plane with you. Never ever pack it in your luggage to be checked. One patient of mine went to Africa and put all her diabetes supplies in her checked luggage. She made it to Africa but her supplies did not. It was very difficult getting her more supplies that had to be shipped to her in Africa. I usually carry all my supplies in a clear zip lock bag in a back pack that I will carry on. I have not had a problem getting all of these items through security at the airports. In my experience, since September 11th they have become more accepting of insulin pumps and diabetes supplies. In fact I have had some security people ask me if the bulge on my waist was an insulin pump or a cell phone. The supplies go through the x-ray machine without a problem. If you are nervous about that, you can also get your physician to write a letter saying you have diabetes and will need to have all these supplies with you. I have never had to show that though. It’s a good idea to make a list and check it twice before your trip. You want to have a good time and the last thing you want to have to worry about are your diabetes supplies. I always say to people that again, as a person with diabetes, I can do anything just like anyone else I just have to be better prepared. So think ahead, prepare yourself and go have fun. I certainly plan to!!