I am not going to lie to you, taking our resident gremlin, Type 1 Diabetes on holiday can be a real pain. It requires serious prep, numerous letters to be able to travel, lots of kit, more kit, spare kit, emergency kit, and food.
When you rely on technology to keep your child alive, you really focus on getting the packing right.
In saying that, I have got it wrong. There was a terrible time when we holidayed in Fuerteventura and I forgot a crucial bit of kit. It was only the fact that I had remembered the emergency kit that we were able to carry on with the holiday and not progress to the first hospital.
Since then, I have learnt my lesson, and (touch wood), never got it wrong again.
Traveling with Type 1 – Before you go
Before you even think of stepping on a plane, you have a lot of prep to do.
First, sort insurance, get cover that is relevant to having a pre-existing condition. you can buy travel insurance for diabetics.
Speak to your medical team and ask for letters saying your child is fit to travel, and explaining that they will be carrying medical supplies, inclusive of needles and insulin.
If your child wears an insulin pump or CGM you will need to have a letter saying which machines the pump/cgm can and cannot be put through.
(NB: Make sure you know this information yourself, you can always check with the pump manufactuer.)
Again, if you are on a pump, contact the hospital to ask for a spare to take away with you, in case yours fails.
Pack all your supplies.
General rule of thumb in this house is we pack three times as much as we will need, and it all stays in hand luggage.
If you are going on holiday, pack a Frio Pack , which will keep your insulin cool in the heat. Remember you may need to change your insulin more frequently in the heat as it doesn’t last as long.
Also pack your prescription.
Check where the local hospitals and GP surgeries are in relation to your holiday destination.
Take food for the journey and plenty of hypo treatment.
On the Plane.
Ensure you know how to manage your pump during take off and landing. Some require priming and need to be disconnected.
If you feel high and need water, let the flight attendants know and explain you are Type 1.
Again if you are traveling solo and feel low, let someone know, better to be safe than sorry.
Be prepared to make changes to your normal insulin regime, sun and activity can make a real impact, so use tempoary basals if on a pump and considing reducing your long lasting insulin if on MDI.
Finally – have fun! Diabetes has to come away with you, but it does not have to dominate the trip. Plan and prep well and know that sugars may go a little wacky, but don’t let that stop you having an amazing vacation!
If you think your child has type 1 diabetes or think someone you know might check the signs:
The 4 T’s; Toilet, Thirsty, Tired & Thinner
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