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22 Responses

  1. Cody
    Cody December 12, 2008 at 7:42 am |

    I fly twice a year. What I do to make it easier is I put everything in ziplock bags like the TSA suggests. Then I put all medical supplies in one bag with nothing else. I tell them at Security that I am diabetic and this bag is full of medical supplies, then I tell them I have a letter from my doctor stating that it is life threatening for me not to have these supplies. I always have the letter in my hand in case they want to see it. Then I tell them I have an insulin pump and I show them the pump and then I place the pump attached to my pants in the small of my back. For some reason with it placed there I do not have any problems getting through the metal detector. Once I get to my gate, I check my blood sugar to see if it is ok. If it is running a little low I will drink some juice and I wall also tell whoever is working the desk that I am diabetic and I would like to have pre boarding on the plane as my sugar is running a little low and I can’t affod to stand in lines with my sugar running low. Once I get on the plane if the flight attendents tell me I need to check my bag, I also inform them that I am diabetic and that it all my medical supplies. Only one time have I had to fight to keep my bag with me. once seated I make sure the diabetic bag is under the seat within easy reach. I again check my blood sugar to make sure it isn’t low and I always take a juice box out and put it in the seat pocket. I have learned that my blood sugar is going to go low on landing or take off when I can’t reach my supplies. Again if I am asked to remove it I just tell them I am diabetic and I need it there in case I go low during landing or take off so that I don’t get into an emergency situtation. Again I have never had any problems after telling them this. Then I check my sugar periodically throughrout the flight and I always get a snack during my connecting flight. I also make sure that I have water with me on the flight as well in case my sugar decides to spike. Another tip I have is to make a checklist on excel and print it off and then check the box after you pack each thing and take the original boxes of insulin with your name on them. I also have a lawyer’s phone number in my cell in case I am given any grief I can call them and they can inform TSA I am within my right as well as ask for a supervisor if given any trouble. I try to keep all my pills in one ziplock bag, all my insulin in another, my test strips in one, lancets in one, pump supplies in one, and syringes in one so it is more organized and easier for security to deal with in case they search my bag. I can just pull out each individual ziplock bag, they can see what is in it and then put it back in my bag. It keeps things a lot more organized for them and me and they said they have been thankful I do it this way, said it makes it easier for them to see through the xray machine and easier for them to search if needed.

  2. Denise  Bevard
    Denise Bevard December 12, 2008 at 8:01 am |

    So my favorite bad to carry stuff on a daily basis is actuallly a modella weekender Jr–got at Wallyworld for <$15–hold a few vials of insulin, a couple of pens, pen needles,some syringes,2 etras infusion sets, IV3000, sm calculator, paper tape,quickserter, alcholhol swabs, gelpack, the precision xtra metere I use for keytone testing, sm bd sharps disposal, copy of my insluin rx’s

    When I travel by plane all my insulin goes on the plane in my carry on, not had anyprobs through security–i do put all my D supplies in one ziplock and and note in ito please be careful with the sterile contents in case they do have to check—the two computers and my tehcie stuff always causes more trouble than my medsupplies. I always order a fridge for my hotel room, I always take twice what I need of everything…getting RX’s away from home not always easy, and some ER docs not real good about Diabetes so better safe thatn sorry.

    AS for timezone changes–I don’t have that figured out yet–the three hour ones mess me up big time-thankfully I do not do themthat often

  3. Debi Martin
    Debi Martin December 12, 2008 at 9:07 am |

    Oh, this has gotten so much easier for us over the past two years!

    1. As much as possible, leave a bag packed with the supplies you need for a short trip. At departure time, add fresh insulin and anything else that you only have one of- ketone meter, inserters for pump sites and cgm sensors, etc. This keeps packing to a minimum, and I’ve found that anything not done at the last minute adds peace to our travel preparations.

    2. Compile on your computer (and keep updated!) a list of the supplies you need to take with you. If possible, have two sets of eyes go over the packing; it’s amazing the errors we’ve found this way.

    3. In addition to that good old travel letter from your doctor (which we’ve never, ever needed!), also carry backup copies of written prescriptions, or at the very least, your prescription numbers/amounts/etc., so that if you get in a jam at your destination you have what you need to get refills easily.

    4. Regarding a bag: we use a large, tri-fold cosmetics bag from Target which has an entirely transparent plastic interior. All supplies are visible, and because it unfolds flat, there’s only a single layer to search- no digging through a single compartment bag.

    5. On road trips: we use our pump’s temporary basal. Again, through trial and error, we’ve found a “magic” number to combat hours and hours of sitting still: 115%. YDMV!

    6. After going on a girl’s trip to Disneyland, and having my daughter’s young friend spend the night violently throwing up in our hotel room, we now travel prepared to deal with sudden stomach illness. We travel with a filled prescription of an anti-nausea drug (Ondensatron), so that if something comes up (pun intended), we aren’t stuck in a hotel room worrying about the rising ketones that come after vomiting/diarrhea. Sorry about the indelicate topic, but large ketones are one of the things I fear the most.

  4. kassie
    kassie December 12, 2008 at 9:36 am |

    Some say that traveling with D is no big deal, and you don’t'have to have your prescription, or set your insulin on top of your carry-on for inspection, because most people never have their diabetes supplies questioned.

    Sure, most of the time insulin, syringes, and pumps go through unnoticed. Heck, there’s a screener at MHT that wears a pump, it’s always a breeze when we have him :)

    But I still say it’s better to be prepared for the time when the TSA screener handling your bags just gut chewed out for letting something through, or you get the guy who just started and is fresh off training and not yet lax… I have had my insulin prescription checked twice while flying, I’ve been wanded while wearing a pump, I’ve had bags pulled off the security conveyor belt because insulin was buried at the bottom…

    Just like anything with diabetes – why not go prepared? You don’t have to call attention to your diabetes supplies, but I think it’s a good idea to be prepared in case they do raise questions.

  5. Beth
    Beth December 12, 2008 at 9:50 am |

    When I fly, I always get nervous before going through airport security, although I’ve done it many times and it is always OK in the end. Here’s how I prepare:

    1. Put all the diabetes supplies you’ll need for your trip in your carry-on so you don’t lose them. TSA regulations say they have to let you carry as much liquid medicine as you need, not the 2 oz allowed for other liquids.

    2. If you’re a pumper, tell security that you are wearing an insulin pump – before you and your carry-on go through the x-ray machine. Be patient, as they most likely will ask you to repeat yourself and/or ignore you and say “take off your cell phone”!

    3. Tell security – before you and your carry-on go through the x-ray machine – that you are carrying diabetes supplies.

    4. If you’re traveling internationally, I’ve found that the word “insulin” is almost universal, or you could learn how to say “diabetic” in the local language.

    5. Remember, they cannot stop you from bringing everything you need and they cannot force you to take off your pump.

    6. Print out this information from the ADA and TSA and bring it with you, in case you do run into a problem:
    “Traveling with Diabetes Supplies”, http://www.diabetes.org/advocacy-and-legalresources/discrimination/public_accommodation/travel.jsp
    “Travelers with Disabilities and Medical Conditions”, http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/specialneeds/editorial_1059.shtm

    7. If you want a little added insurance, have your Doctor write a note saying that you need to travel with diabetes supplies (include every last thing that will be in your suitcase!), and that you are healthy and able to travel.

    After you get through security, you’re home free and you can enjoy your trip!

  6. Erin
    Erin December 12, 2008 at 10:48 am |

    First, I always have one set of backup everything on my at all times. (The pancreas![0] with an infusion set, IV prep, battery, vial of insulin, 1/2cc syringe, glucose meter, test strips, discarded test strips, lancets.) So that’s always in my “personal item” bag when I fly. Further extra supplies go in a ziploc in my carry-on. I’ve flown from San Diego to Ireland twice without having anyone (in San Diego, Boston, Shannon, Dublin–and Edinburgh!) ask for proof that my supplies are legit. So I don’t bother carrying such a record. When I walk through the security gate, I just carry my pump in my hand–with an air of confidence :) –and I’ve never been hassled. (I did have to detach my pump and send it through x-ray once, but that turned out to be because my pants had metal buckles on them that I didn’t notice until after I’d gone through that whole rigmarole.)
    [0] v1: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kirinqueen/414694239/
    v2: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kirinqueen/2556326316/

  7. Kate
    Kate December 12, 2008 at 2:49 pm |

    i carry my diabetes debris with me at all times in my “glamoflauge” kit (a pencil case from old navy). in it, i have an extra syringe along with my insulin, my pdm (for my omnipod), and alcohol swabs. i love this case because it’s sassy and easy to spot in my purse.

    airport security: i have been waved through airport security so many times since my diagnosis that i think they’re just used to us folks with the ‘betes. i don’t even sweat it like i did the first time i went through. i was stopped and questioned in charles de gaulle (paris), though, because of my omnipods. i think i had about 20 of them on me and they were curious more than anything.

    i do NOT keep everything on my person because i would go Insane (that’s with a capital I). i might carry an extra pod with me, but that’s it. i have to say that one of my favorite things about the omnipod is that in order to change it i just need the pod in its original packaging, my insulin (already on me), and alcohol swabs (already on me).

    as for long road trips, i stop when i want to and walk around and i snack on some serious low carb treats (raw almonds, cheese sticks, fizzy water, diet dr.pepper).

    i don’t wear special shoes for my d-feet, but i wear good shoes anyway.

    time zone changes were the reason i went on the omnipod. i was heading to bulgaria / the netherlands / belgium / germany for 2 weeks and i SO did not want to mess with figuring out the lantus issue. it was the best, most freeing decision i’ve ever made.

    for weekend travel, i take several back up pods and plenty of insulin. i don’t overload on the debris, though.

  8. Lee Ann Thill
    Lee Ann Thill December 12, 2008 at 4:12 pm |

    I bring extra of everything – infusion sets, strips, cartridges, extra sensors. I happen to have an extra pump because I kept my old one when I upgraded, so I bring that. I also bring a few syringes, just in case. I bring an extra bottle of insulin. Last year, we were in Jamaica, and I dropped my bottle on the ceramic floor in our room. I’ve only broken a few bottles in my life, including that one, and I was extraordinarily grateful that I was what seemed overly cautious when packing and brought that extra bottle. I use hard candies to treat lows most of the time, so I bring way more than I think I could possibly need. I also throw a couple of granola bars or packs of PB crackers in my bag. I’ve heard too many horror stories of people getting stuck in planes on runways to not have food on me. I wear a medic-alert bracelet, and I have all my doctor’s numbers in my phone.

    Traveling inevitably messes up my BG’s. I’m likely sitting in a car for hours on end, or dragging luggage through an airport. Then there are altered schedules, different foods, different activity levels. If I let out-of-range BG’s upset me, I’d end up ruining my vacation. All any of us can do is try to keep an eye on our BG’s, and take corrective action when necessary. You don’t want to go to extremes – being either obsessive and self-flagellating, or negligent, as if youre also on vacation from diabetes. Finding a balance is really important. Being responsible and conscientious need not interfere with a vacation, but it’s good to recognize that vacations are inherently disruptive to schedules so being forgiving of out-of-range BG’s will keep your stress level down and your vacation fun on track.

  9. badshoe
    badshoe December 12, 2008 at 5:12 pm |

    We travel with diabetic kids. Two. One was diagnosed on the first day of a trip to Disney World. Disney is fun. A diabetes diagnosis isn’t…

    So here is my advice for traveling to Disney World with diabetic kids:

    Double Packing

    Redundant is the magic word for diabetics packing for Disney.

    * Redundant Meter.
    * Double the needles.
    * Zillions of sharps
    * Twice the strips.
    * Two times the needed bottles of insulin.
    * Call your pump manufacturer and get a loaner pump for vacation.
    * Take double the sets, double the IV prep and twice the needed number of pump reservoirs.
    Two carry-on bags each with half the stuff in each bag.

    We have lost a meter, set down and walked away from carry-on bags and diagnosed a second kid as diabetic all on trips to Disney. I can say from experience it is nice to have extra stuff. Pack doubles.

    If You Don’t Doubles Pack a.k.a. Phone a Pharmacy

    If you need supplies the front desk at your resort can get you the number for a pharmacy that delivers. However just like you can’t always buy a Coke, you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just may find, you get what you need (whoa, I think I am having a flashback…)

    There is value here in using the big chain pharmacies. We were going to meet on Cape Cod (our first face to face with Delswife*) and left our insulin behind at a friend’s house (didn’t double pack – idiots). CVS hooked us up with our Rx from our CVS at home. Nice feature of a chain.

    Anyway back to Disney World, we couldn’t find anyone in Orlando who stocked IV prep when we discovered we didn’’t take enough (didn’t double pack – idiots). In this case, the only way we could find to get what we needed was to have a friend send a Fed Ex from our stocks at home. A bit of a pain: Think like Santa, make a list and check it twice and pack twice.

    More on Disney With Diabetes at, wait for it… http://DisneyWithDiabetes.com

    LOL

    LYMI* Amy

    * my friend internet freak friend Delswife says LYMI a lot, it means Love Ya / Mean It

  10. Lyrehca
    Lyrehca December 12, 2008 at 8:32 pm |

    I don’t travel often, but I happen to be on a family vacation in Florida right now. My tips:

    1. I have a doctor’s note, plus labels from my syringes, test strips, and insulin all clipped together with a binder clip that I always carry. Have never been asked to produce it (it’s now ten years old).

    2. I carry all my pump supplies in my carry on, and I pack double the amount I might need on a typical trip. This includes batteries, prep wipes and alcohol. I also carry snacks like almonds, juice boxes or Life Savers, and granola bars or peanut butter crackers.

    3. I *always* (day to day) carry a syringe and a bottle of insulin in my One Touch meter bag. For flying, I stashed the needle in my luggage, but it comes in handy if my pump reservoir is low, or my infusion set stops working and I need to get insulin in me fast.

    4. I do *not* volunteer I am wearing an insulin pump unless I beep when going through the security check. On this recent trip, I was wrangling my toddler at the same time and we didn’t set off the metal detector. I was surprised but just went on my way.

    5. If pulled aside, I am good natured about being wanded, felt under my bra when I wear an underwire, and generally do whatever I need to do to get past security and on my way.

    6. On my Hawaiian honeymoon a few years back, I thought I hadn’t packed half my pump supplies. I simply called Minimed/Medtronic, explained the situation, and got the supplies sent to my hotel the next day. As soon as I did this, realized I packed the supplies at the bottom of a dark-colored bag. The supplies arrived, and I eventually used them after I got home.

    7. I also once dropped (my only) bottle of insulin on a tile floor while traveling. I called my doctor’s office and had her paged on a Friday evening. She called in a new prescription to my local pharmacy. I learned to always carry an extra bottle of insulin with me, store it in a local fridge when I arrive, and to always know my doctor’s phone number and the phone number of a local pharmacy. And to remain calm. I have always been able to secure the supplies I need within 12 hours or so.

    8. And similar to what someone else said, high blood sugars while traveling are certainly a possibility. I test my sugar every two hours or so, correct highs, and check again in an hour or two. I certainly don’t stress about a high after I’ve sat on a plane for hours. Ups and downs are a part of being type 1–simply test, correct and move on.

  11. Vanessa
    Vanessa December 12, 2008 at 9:36 pm |

    Once on vacation we thought that the vial of insulin my son uses might be bad, as his numbers had been high both from the insulin in the pump AND the insulin from a shot. I called CVS to see if I could just get another bottle of insulin to see if this was the problem. We have a standing order at CVS with plenty of refills. Well I shouldn’t have said my sons numbers were high, because I think that scared them and they would not refill the insulin without my doctor’s approval. They told me to take him to the ER. (Like I was really going to do that!) In hindsight, I should have just said we lost the bottle.
    So the lesson is…don’t give the pharmacy too much information!

  12. julie t.
    julie t. December 13, 2008 at 4:36 am |

    Okay, traveling… well, that could be traveling to the grocery store.

    I am type 2 and use an insulin pen mix twice daily, just to set the background. So, things aren’t as complex for me as you guys who wear insulin mo-sheens. Still, it’s insulin and so there are some considerations.

    Now, re travel:

    1. I always have cheese or peanut butter crackers with me and a small Juicy Juice apple juice (15 grams of carb in each box; 3 crackers = 15 Gs), as I tend to get low… sort of ride on the edge, if you will.

    2. I don’t carry a doc note when I fly. If someone wants to question my insulin or test equipment, well I’ll be ready to do battle. Now, if I were traveling in the Middle East, I might just have a note with me.

    Once some security goober took my Juicy Juice from me (it’s 4.3 ounces or something, so over the 4 ounce limit). PU-LEEZE. So, then you just go buy you a small bottle of apple juice and you’re good to go.

    3. Timing is the interesting thing when you go to new time zones. I have to sit with pen and paper to sort that out. :) Gives me something to do on the airplane. I just back things up a bit and move them forward, depending on going east or west. I mean your whole body is messed up by fast-changing time zones. Neither man nor beast were meant to fly around in airplanes… so, if you just stick to several small meals versus 3 giant ones, it’s much easier to deal with the time zone thing.

    4. I’ve ALWAYS worn comfortable shoes. Now, not grandma shoes… cute shoes that just happen to be comfortable. It’s important to have a couple or 3 pairs of comfy shoes when you travel. AND GOOD SOCKS.. and plenty of them.

    It’s easy to wash out your underwear or your top, if you need clean undies and shirt. It’s much harder to get your socks dry. Of course, there’s always shopping. hahahaha.

    5. Now for road trips: Pay attention to your body and test. And drink your Juicy Juice (do you think I work for these people yet?), as necessary. Take breaks from the road. Eat your little snacks that you pack — not crap at the fast food joint. Play music and ENJOY.

    Okay, that is all for now.

    Oh, make sure you have your doctor’s contact information with you when you travel. You never know when you may need to make a phone call.

    Julie

  13. Florian
    Florian December 13, 2008 at 7:43 am |

    My best words of wisdom for managing diabetes while traveling are short and simple; ALWAYS BE PREPARED !
    Always have with you, your insulin with delivery system, a pump and supplies, pens, syringes, your meter, strips, and lancets, also a fast acting carb for low blood sugar, glucose tablets or gel and for good measure a granola, cereal bar, or small box of fruit juice.
    Last but not least, some form of identification that you have diabetes and emergency information.

  14. M
    M December 13, 2008 at 10:32 am |

    Just an FYI, when I get to airport security I unclip my pump and put it in the gallon Ziploc with the rest of the supplies along with my Dex receiver. Once through I reattach my pump and put the Dex wherever is convenient. To date I have NEVER been stopped for the transmitter (has not made the metal detector beep) and I happily CGM away during the flight. A friend of the family is an airline pilot and he said *off the record* that the low transmission power of the Dex could never affect the plane or electronics, so far he has been correct!

  15. adam
    adam December 13, 2008 at 12:32 pm |

    “Always be prepared” is the advice by which I live my life with type 1 dabetes. If I am going farther from home than I can walk back in half an hour, then I take all my insulin vials, glucometer, backup glucometer, and of course, Gatorades, with me, or as many as I can reasonably accommodate. Since I travel mainly by automobile, winter’s a time to constantly ask myself, “Did I bring the Gatorade in from the freezing car?” Last night, for example, it was freezing during the day, and I had my insulin vials in a cooler that I set outside my friend’s house while visiting. After a couple of hours, I noticed the beers in the cooler next to it getting ready to freeze. So I set my cooler inside my friend’s house. In a couple of hours of darkness, the cooler had stopped being a way of keeping my insulin chilled and had become a way to keep my insulin from freezing.

    I haven’t been back to the airports since the new gigantic federal bureaucracy has taken over security, so I will happily go bck and read what other insulin-toting posters have suggested for means dealing with it.

    I plan to get the reusable Frio cooler packs for toting my insulin on long bike-rides (100 miles and more). I would definitely be interested in hearing from people who have toted their insulin in these cooler packs, as I have no firsthand experience. It is a sobering thought to think you might be away from home for a week and your insulin supply is all stashed in a Frio cooler pack when you haven’t been in such a situation before.

  16. Kim Black
    Kim Black December 13, 2008 at 7:52 pm |

    I have an implanted cardiac device with a special card for airport travel. When I wave it at TSA they take me aside and do a hand search. Lately, I wait until I get there and tell them that I also have the pump. I usually get a funny look. I always carry my supplies with me in the purse-of-life bag. Juicy-Juice, candies, an extra infusion set, an extra reservoir, an extra meter, syringes. I pop in a bottle of insulin and my inserter and I’m ready. If I’m travelling, I just put in extras of each.

    If you have a pump, I’d recommend not disconnecting. Use the card it came with, the cards area easier for people to deal with. No explanations required, it says everything they need to know on it. Drag yours out of the box, or get a new one from the manufacturer. The security folks are rushed, I prefer to be an exception and take the hand search, it takes less time. I’m usually waiting for everyone else.

  17. Leeanthro
    Leeanthro December 13, 2008 at 7:58 pm |

    We just got back from driving a total of 2500 miles with a four-year-old type 1.

    I carried our normal Tinkerbell lunchbox with supplies. The craft box (the kind that holds embroidery floss) that we keep on the countertop with supplies. And a plastic Rubbermaid shoebox with extra of everything. I was afraid that we were not going to be able to get to our chain pharmacy in the NE.

    Since we were driving, we made so many pit stops. The worst was having to stop at a gas station at 9pm with a disgusting freezing bathroom to change her into jammies and give her Lantus. We tried to stop every two hours to let the kids out and to give her snacks.

    It definitely added travel time because we couldn’t really go through a drive through and hand her back food. She’s not old enough to test or inject by herself.

    What I think is the toughest is eating at restaurants you aren’t familiar with and having to estimate carbs.

    BTW- a 1 pound lobster is one carb and my daughter ate the entire thing.

    I packed several reusable shopping bags with foods she eats and that I know carb counts on (Easy mac, instant oatmeal, lots of snacks, bottles of water and instant kool-aid, popcorn, etc.). We were able to eat some of this rather than eat out–sometimes.

    And as much as I think it’s not healthy to eat at McDonald’s all the time, at least you know what the carb counts are.

    We were also told right before the trip that we don’t have to refrigerate our Novolog pen, so that helped. But we still had a cooler with our extra insulin.

    It seemed like I packed for a two-month trip, but I felt like I needed to be prepared for everything.

    Except I forgot to pack passports, so we didn’t get the side trip to Niagra Falls. Darn.

  18. Leeanthro
    Leeanthro December 13, 2008 at 8:01 pm |

    Oh, and at first I didn’t know if we were going to fly or drive. We went for a funeral and it was Thanksgiving week. I went ahead and got a letter from our doc and packed it. You just never know.

    My sister warned that you should NEVER check your supplies through because they could freeze, break, or get lost.

  19. karin
    karin December 14, 2008 at 11:57 am |

    I over pack…I’m going to email you pictures of my weekend travel bag. I ALWAYS OVERPACK!!!

  20. dan 2
    dan 2 December 14, 2008 at 7:12 pm |

    My outlook is that diabetes is a teacher and it is very important to “be prepared”. One never knows what question or quiz this teacher will throw at me even as I walk out of the door where I reside. Home is a cocoon and a butterfly needs to open their wings. I have a Eagle Creek – Travel Gear that is packed for three full days. Have a blood glucose meter with strips for glucose and ketones, lancets, and extra battery. I change insets every second day and carry two insets and one pre-filled cartridge with insulin. For inset changes, I have included Alcohol swabs, I.V. PREP antiseptic wipes, IV3000 1-Hand, and batteries for my insulin pump. I carry the emergency phone number for a possible insulin pump exchange. I carry a copy of all of my basal rates should I need to change my insulin pump. My blood glucose meter has a 800 phone number and use it for minor meter issues and the company has sent a replacement overnight. I carry an extra insulin syringe. This covers the immediate diabetes supplies. Added to this list is peppermint hard candy, tape, band-aids, antiseptic towelette, aspirin and non-aspirin. Last is a day-timer pocket calendar. This has served me very well. For extended travel, I carry a second replacement insulin pump and a second blood glucose meter. I generally pack full complete boxes like 100 lancets. I wear a neck and bracelet from Medic Alert and have the emergency phone number of my doctor. This complement has served me well. I have been able to deal with minor issues and keep on going, going, and going.

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