Holiday Travel is a time-honored tradition of traversing busy roads and packed airports all for that heart-warming moment of being embraced by our loved ones who have missed us dearly.
Before you leaveOne of the best things you can do to ease the stressors of holiday travel is to pop into your doctor’s office for a quick checkup. Not only can you discuss any necessary changes to insulin dosing and basal rates (time zone, elevation, and/or climate changes might require a shift) but they can hand you PAPER SCRIPTS for backup supplies and insulin should you need it. Paper might seem backward in our techie-age but TRUST ME ON THIS ONE. Many small-town pharmacies don’t accept electronic scrips from out of state doctor offices. Paper prescriptions are old school, but they are still legit and it’s better to have a paper scrip in hand for a replacement insulin vial and NOT NEED IT, then to be trying to call the on-call doc at midnight because you broke your brand new bottle on the hotel floor. And while I’m on the subject, before you leave, map-out medical facilities! If the place you are going to is new and largely unknown, you need to have the nearest 24-hour pharmacy and ER plotted out and ready to go. Almost anywhere you travel in the 50 states should have one of each. If you are traveling abroad, visit the International Association for Medical Assistance for Travellers. You can find English-speaking physicians and proactively locate clinics. It might seem overkill, but “better safe than sorry” as they say. Finally, get a LETTER OF MEDICAL NECESSITY (some call it a TRAVEL LETTER) from your endocrinologist! While the TSA does provide handy print-out cards to assist you in security screening, my experience has shown that the entire security/check-point process is easier with a letter from the doc to explain WHY you need a giant suitcase full of kiddie juice boxes and sharp needles. In fact, I make several copies of it to have on hand in case anyone needs to hold onto a copy of it.
Travel dayPacking all your supplies can be a job all on its own. Some people say take 50% more supplies than you think you need, I’m all for a solid 100% overage if you pack it EFFICIENTLY. I discuss this topic AT LENGTH in my blog post from August of 2018, but truly you can’t really OVER PACK when it comes to diabetes. Make sure your diabetic supplies have their own bag, and that your Med bag STAYS with you at all times. And no matter what, never EVER check your diabetic supplies. Did I mention NEVER? How about once more for the cheap seats in the back of the room.
NEVER NEVER NEVER!On the off chance your luggage was to get dropped, damaged, or lost, clothing can be replaced anywhere you travel, but your diabetic supplies are invaluable, and you always need them close to you no matter what. In case you are wondering about packing restrictions, allow me to ease your mind with a few handy TSA Websites:
- Disabilities and Medical Conditions
- Disability Notification Card (for you to print and laminate to show the screeners)
- Passenger Support Contact info