Traveling with Type 1 diabetes can be tricky, but with these five healthy travel tips, you’ll be sure to enjoy some relaxation. Most of us look forward to traveling, but it can be challenging for us to stay on track with our healthy habits. We’ve found that being prepared and having strategies in place is essential for all of us, but especially someone with Type 1 diabetes. Our family lifestyle enables us to stay consistent with our healthy habits without deprivation!
I remembered many years ago, we were having fun at the beach, and I went to test my daughter’s blood sugar, and the meter wouldn’t work. The battery was dead, and of course, I didn’t have a backup with me. We had to pack up and drive to the nearest store, which thankfully was only 10 minutes away. Lesson learned!
As many of us may be preparing to travel, this felt like a good time to share my best healthy travel tips with you. Trust me; your trip can be enjoyable without letting your health fall apart.
5 Healthy Travel Tips for People with Type 1 Diabetes
1. Always pack more supplies than you think you will need (trust me!)
It’s easier to pack additional supplies instead of trying to find them wherever you may be going. Supplies can include insulin, syringes, lancets, test strips, pump supplies, extra blood glucose meter, extra battery for meter, and any other medications you currently take or may need.
If you are on a pump, always bring insulin and syringes in case of a pump failure.
I also have what I call my “healthy habits” and always bring these items with me when I travel. I pack a small bag of herbal teas, raw nuts (or a healthy trail mix), protein powder, almond butter, and high-quality supplements that we take daily. It’s important to keep that immune system strong while on vacation so you can stay healthy and enjoy yourself!
2. Prepare and bring healthy food with you
Whenever we travel, we bring a cooler and snacks with us. I’m typically whipping up some salads and healthy snacks a couple of days before leaving for vacation. Here’s a favorite that we always bring along https://www.ourintentionallifestyle.com/kale-salad/. That way, we know we have healthy food in case something unexpected happens along the way. We always feel like we’re moving in when we start unloading the car, but honestly, it makes our trip so much more enjoyable. A little preparation goes a long way!
If you’re anything like me, I make so many different lists before going on vacation so that we don’t forget anything. Make a list of healthy food items that you can bring with you. Then set aside a few hours to prep healthy meals and snacks for the trip, which will make healthy eating easier and more enjoyable.
3. Stay hydrated (easiest healthy travel tip!)
Remember to drink plenty of water. No matter where our travels may take us, whether you’re sitting on the beach or poolside, many of us don’t drink enough water. Dehydration can cause headaches, dizziness, and many other issues, especially for Type 1 diabetics.
We always incorporate exercise into our daily routine, so when we vacation, it’s no different. Bike riding on the beach, walking, tennis, and of course, swimming! It seems effortless and more enjoyable while on vacation! Again, check your blood glucose levels often as heat and exercise can make them fluctuate and drink plenty of water.
A good rule of thumb is to always carry a water bottle with you, so it’s readily accessible!
4. Traveling on a plane or out of the country
I personally don’t have experience with this; however, it’s my understanding that you can get TSA pre-check. This means that you don’t have to take off your shoes or take your laptop out of the case, which makes going through security easier and less stressful. Also, many airlines will allow you an extra bag free of charge for medical supplies.
This might take a little extra planning, but talk to your doctor and let them know you’ll be traveling out of the country and get a prescription for a backup loaner pump and an extra meter if you don’t already have one. Also, check with your doctor about adjusting insulin for time zones.
Also, many countries list their nutritional information differently on food packaging. Make sure you read the packaging before administering any insulin to avoid high or low blood sugars.
5. Know your destination and amenities available
We typically try to stay in a place that has a kitchen and a refrigerator. This allows us to bring our own food and save a few bucks for all of the fun activities the kids like to do!
I recommend finding the nearest grocery store so you know where you can pick up things you need when you arrive. Even better, place the order online, so it’s ready when you get there! Also, research area restaurants ahead of time so you can have healthy and delicious options if you do choose to dine out.
Finally, in the event you need medical supplies, it’s important to know where you can find them. Of course, you should also be aware of where the nearest urgent care or hospital is to your destination. Hopefully, you won’t need either of those. However, in the event you do, you don’t want to be scrambling around trying to find it. Do your research before you travel and keep a list of addresses and phone numbers!
I know it sounds like a lot of work! However, consistency is key for stable blood sugars, and with a little preparation before traveling, you will be able to enjoy yourself and make memories! Happy traveling!