Packing for a long-term trip with Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes Blog

Packing for a long-term trip with Diabetes

Now, let’s be clear: I am an awful packer by nature. If I’m unsure what outfit I might like for a particular event, I’ll bring three. If I’ll be gone for a week, I’ll bring insulin pump supplies for a month, cause, hey, you never know.

For our current year-long trip, however, I wanted to do better since we’d be gone for a very long time. I did not want to carry hundreds of pounds all around the world. And there’s no luggage that’ll hold two-years worth of insulin pump supplies just because you never know. Additionally, we estimated that checked baggage fees would cost each of us $400 over the year. If we could save that $800 between the two of us by leaving a few shirts at home, I was ready to start experimenting with my packing style.

With that in mind, I committed to traveling with carry-on luggage for a whole year. To get started making this a reality, I worked on the non-diabetes aspect of this packing plan – I planned how many shirts, pants, skirts and shoes I'd need. I scoured the Internet for packing advice to verify all of this.

For the diabetes aspects, I decided that carrying three to six months of diabetes supplies on me at any given time felt right. Then I'd just have to figure out how to refill these supplies a few times throughout out our year.

I practiced laying out a three-month supply of my medicine, with about a 10% buffer for failed insertion sites or other errors, to get a sense of what it would look like. It wasn't as intimating as I was afraid of.

So during our trip, I've been toting around a carry-on-sized bag with my clothes and shoes, a purse with my camera and laptop and money, and a backpack with my diabetes supplies. Three bags on total, all of which I can get on a plane as a carry-on. And so far, five months into the trip, it's been working out pretty well!