Traveling with Diabetes: Spring Break Tips for the Family

Mary Kate Cary Health Guide
  • Here are a few tips for parents traveling with children with diabetes, as we head into Spring Break at many schools:

    1. Bring enough snacks to survive a long layover or a missed flight – or more likely, a mad dash between planes with no time to eat a full meal. With fewer and fewer airlines serving food on board, don’t count on getting something to eat on the plane. Have plenty of food with you that doesn’t need refrigeration.

    2. Never check your diabetes supplies in your luggage. Always carry all of your diabetes supplies in your carry-on, in case your luggage gets lost.

    3. I’ve always been told to keep prescriptions with the diabetes supplies in case you are questioned at security checkpoints about syringes, lancets, etc. The fact is, I’ve never been questioned at security. I think they know that terrorists aren’t going to use a finger-pricker to do harm. But I have needed the prescriptions for forgotten supplies. In fact, nothing makes you feel like an idiot more than having to ask the endocrinologist on call back home to phone in a prescription because you forgot to pack something. It’s a lot less embarrassing to just bring your prescriptions.
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    4. Bring twice as much insulin and supplies as you think you’ll need, in case your schedule changes or something unforeseen happens to your supply. I’ve had glass bottles of lantus break inside the carry-on.

    5. If you’ll be traveling to extreme climates, bring an insulated bag for the insulin. Heat can be especially damaging to insulin. My husband had our daughter’s insulin inside his ski jacket in the Rockies and the cold affected the insulin, so we now carry it in extra wrapping.

    6. Don’t forget to bring hand sanitizer. I think airplanes are flying germ factories.
    Most importantly, remember my rule: Never stress out for something that’s supposed to be fun. This especially goes for vacations. Since blood glucose levels can rise with stress, keep the schedule sane and don’t overdo it. Enjoy Spring Break!

Published On: March 17, 2006