Having family come home for the holidays is one set of challenges. But to me, traveling to them seems like even more of a quest. I’m going to put a few questions out there, and hopefully you can give us the benefit of your experience and wisdoms about traveling with diabetes in the holiday season.
The Trip Itself
First of all, there’s the trip itself. If you’re on a plane, you can’t take more than 3 ounces of liquid through security now. (In my opinion, this is one of the most ridiculous restrictions in the so-called “War on Terror.”) So you may be limited to drinking what the airline will give you, or what you can buy once you’ve made it through security.
Also, flights may be delayed or canceled. You may find yourself stuck in an airport for long stretches. How can you maintain your self-care in this kind of situation?
Many airlines no longer provide meals, and what they do provide may not match your meal plan or desires. So you really have to bring your own. What do you bring on airplanes to eat and be comfortable?
Auto travel has a similar set of problems. Most of the roadside food is not very tasty or healthy. Again, you may have to bring your own. Or are there some healthy places and ways to eat that you have found?
Whether you’re traveling by plane, train, or automobile, you may be sitting for long periods of time. Long stretches without moving can cause problems with circulation and deprive you of normal exercise. Those of us who have to urinate frequently may have problems if the flight is bumpy or we’re afraid to ask our traveling companions to stop the car too often.
Of course, having health issues means packing extra supplies—medicines, monitoring equipment, extra batteries for insulin pumps or blood glucose meters. Some of these could cause problems with the security screenings. Have any of you had those difficulties?
When you get where you’re going, things can get harder. If you’re in a motel, there won’t be much refrigerator space. A lot of the little things you take for granted will not have come with you. What kinds of supplies have you forgotten, and what’s important to remember?
You may be eating out frequently. You may have learned how to eat well at places you know—what they serve that fits into your meal plan, for example. At new places, you may have to be more careful.
Eating with family can be trickier, because there’s an emotional component to the food choices. Relatives’ feelings may be hurt if you don’t eat what they prepared. How do you cope with these situations?
For all of these difficulties, spending the holidays with family is well worth the effort. Hopefully, it’s a feast of love, not just a feast of food. Family members and friends can be some of the best sources of strength you can find. So enjoy them and let us know how you’re doing.