Diabetes Self-Management Blog

The children, as I call them — although they’re young adults now — lined the deck wall-to-wa…er, railing-to-railing last night. My granddaughter was back from spring break, so her best friend was here, too, as was BF’s boyfriend. My grandson’s friend was off work today, so he was here to spend the night. Then there was another friend or two of somebody-or-other.

My eyeballs were spinning in my skull. I need to escape. Unfortunately, with a cruise planned for next year — with the children and one friend each — there will be no “real” vacay this year. No money. About the best I can do is a one- or two-nighter to Chicago to see a show.

Later this month, my traveling bud and I are taking a mini-vacation to Indianapolis, where we’ll overnight in a hotel that’s about one hour from me and 10 minutes from where she lives. Not much traveling there, but it gets us out of our houses. We plan to take a DVD or two each, get Chinese take-out, and have dinner in our separate beds while watching movies.

Trips, short or long, fancy or not, are my mental-health breaks. My husband prefers to stay at home, although he did take me to Hawaii a few years ago. Maybe his mental-health breaks are when I’m gone!

As a traveler with Type 2 diabetes and with a disability, my primary focus is on making sure my medical needs are met while I’m gone. I can get just about anything else if I forget it, but medications, infusion sets for my insulin pump, a charger for my mobility scooter, and such aren’t as easily come by.

Now, I did leave on a road trip once and realized when I got about four hours from home that I’d forgotten my insulin. Oops! Luckily I had a backup plan. Two, in fact. One is that I have my prescriptions at a national pharmacy and can get a refill at any of its locations. Two, in case my pharmacy doesn’t have a location there (it didn’t in Hawaii): Regular insulin doesn’t require a prescription.

I have a list of all of the medical items needed and have designated a purple plaid tote bag that closes to put them all in. Having a list to check off and a designated bag so I don’t ask myself, “now where did I put my…?” makes it easier to remember and to locate the necessities.

When I’m on a road trip, I take food along. It’s in an ice chest in the car or van, and in the chiller (if available) in a hotel room. But, after an incident in Kansas once, I never put insulin in a hotel room mini-fridge immediately. On that night, we put our food in the mini-fridge — and found it frozen the next morning. If my insulin had been in there, it would have been ruined. As it was, all we lost was some lettuce and a bit of time waiting for the turkey slices to thaw out.

The only problem I’ve had with flying is that my luggage has been delayed more than once. One time, I went to Europe and my luggage went to Denver, CO. Luckily, I know to take my necessary items (medications, medical supplies, and such) in a carry-on bag. Since that three-day delay in getting my clothes, I also toss a nightgown and change of underwear in my carry-on. Now, I do get patted down every time because of the scooter. On the other hand, I get to jump to the head of the line.

If I recall correctly, you are allowed an extra bag for medical supplies to carry onto an airplane. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has all kinds of information about traveling with special needs here, including a phone number you can call and ask questions.

Trains? If you have a mobility problem, Amtrak will seat you near an accessible bathroom. On our “girls trip” to Chicago in January, my granddaughter, her friend, and I were treated to a wide-open space where a row of seats had been removed to accommodate my scooter. There was an outlet to plug the charger in, and an accessible bathroom just right there. I couldn’t get to the dining car, but I knew that and had taken food with me.

’tis the season to be traveling, so think things out, expect the best but plan for the worst, and have a good time no matter what. I always do.


  1. There’s a doctor that wrote up a checklist people traveling. Worth a quick glance.

    The link is [http://www.recoverors.com/#!traveler-resources/cfwb]

    Posted by Khoi Lam |
  2. Interesting article but I’d take it a step or two farther. The real difficulty in overseas travel is making sure your insulin stays at the proper temp. That being said it is also impt to have your insulin storage arranged on the other end of your trip .. specifically the hotel. Most are very accommodating to your needs. Read up and make sure you know what you need to keep cool and what doesn’t matter. There are some new pouches out that you simply rince in cold water and they’re good for three days. Amazing technology. I used them on my last trip to Asia and they worked very well. Now they’ve come out with a new pocket that is larger and can handle all my needs easily. Diabetes should not hold anyone back from travel. Doesn’t have to!

    Posted by Ben Johnston |

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