Is it travel season yet? I mean, the “normal” travel season. You know me; I’ll travel any time of the year. So far, however, all I have on the books is an overnight to Chicago next month and, in February, a trip with a friend to take her grandson on a Disney cruise. If she doesn’t chicken out. Something about being in water that’s over her head.
Chicago, by the way, is for two reasons: One is that I get out of town. The other is that I need to fly somewhere before the end of May so I can keep my frequent flier miles. Chicago is nearby, and therefore relatively inexpensive. I’m going to drive to Indianapolis and pick Sandy up; she’ll take me to the airport then drive to Chicago. I’ll meet her at our favorite hotel. (That would be Hotel 71, if you’re interested. Big rooms, good location near shopping and theaters, won’t break your bank account.) We’ll see a show, do some shopping and eating, and drive back together.
Back in the day, I concerned myself with making sure I had enough clothing and shoes. Since I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, however, I’m mostly concerned with having enough medicine, insulin, supplies, and some fast-acting sugar.
You not only need to have enough — and more, in case you lose or break something or your stay is extended — but you need to carry it with you, just in case you go to Europe and your luggage goes to Colorado, for example. (Yes, it’s happened.) Or your flight is late, and you miss your connecting flight and have to stay in a hotel overnight. (Yes, that’s happened, too.) Or you and the grandchildren fly to San Francisco and your luggage stays in Alaska — and then the airline insists on sending the luggage to Indiana where you live, instead of San Francisco, where you are. And, hey, even if it’s just a 70-mile trip, you need to have enough just in case your husband parks the van on top of a boulder and you have to stay in a hotel for the night.
I should even have taken an emergency infusion set for my insulin pump with me last week, when I was staying overnight in a sleep lab. While the wires were being taken off me, my infusion set was accidentally pulled out. Luckily, it was at the end of my stay instead of the beginning, or I would have had to call my husband to bring a new set. If only I’d listened to my inner voice when it said, “you should put an extra infusion set in your bag.”
For places where my carry-on bags go through an x-ray machine — airports and cruise lines — I put my medical supplies in plastic storage bags. That makes it easier for the inspectors to check out your things without touching them.
Going to a country where another language is spoken? I’ve found that English is spoken in most places. Just in case, however, have somebody who knows the native language write down some important phrases for you: e.g., “I cannot eat gluten.” For Pete’s sake, don’t try to speak a language you don’t know. For all you know, you’ll mispronounce something and say “I’d like to eat your shoes” instead of “I cannot eat gluten.” Just pull out your paper and point to the appropriate phrase.
Even if you think you know some of the language, you can stumble over your tongue. I once asked for drei apfelkuchen at a bakery in Germany while holding up two fingers. Drei, of course, is three. I meant zwei, which is two. You’d think I’d be able to count to two in German. At least I made the lady behind the counter laugh. I quickly learned to hold up the appropriate number of fingers and point to what I wanted!
Want to sample the native — or regional — foods, but don’t know what’s in the dishes? Look up recipes for common dishes before you go. It may not be exactly the same as what’s being served, but it will give you an idea of what’s in the dish. With computers, it’s a lot easier than back in the day when you had to go to the library and look for cookbooks.
Above all, get out there and go someplace near or far. I tend to rush blindly into things, assuming I’ll be able to get around despite diabetes, asthma, and mobility problems. And you know what? I generally don’t have any problems at all. And it sure beats moping around the house, telling myself I can’t do anything.