*Disclaimer: All content and information in this blog is for informational and educational purposes only.
You can go to weddings in Guatemala. You can go scuba diving in Thailand– You can do hard things! These are the words that Savannah Johnson, founder of Type 1 Way Ticket lives by. Having traveled to over 42 different countries (and counting!) and living with T1D for 26 years, Savannah is quite the expert when it comes to traveling abroad with T1D. Here are some tips that she shared with us to help you conquer common obstacles you may encounter while traveling with T1D:
Preparing for Travel with Type 1 Diabetes
From canceled flights, inclement weather, or once in a lifetime excursions, you never know exactly what you could be faced with during your time abroad. Type 1 Way Ticket suggests that preparing for the logistical and emotional components can prepare you for what you may encounter throughout your travels. Typical logistical preparations include coordinating travel, lodging, and transportation, but with T1D you need to make sure you have enough diabetes supplies and be prepared for excursions, like hiking or scuba diving. On top of that, traveling abroad can naturally lead to some uneasiness knowing you are far away from your family and care team in case of an emergency. Type 1 Way Ticket is a travel company with a variety of tools and resources available that are designed to support T1Ds build independence and confidence while exploring the world.
Pack a Surplus of Diabetes Supplies, Medications and Low Snacks
You may have pump sites pulled out early when surfing in Hawaii or need 10 juice boxes while on a hike to bring your blood sugar back into range– as a general rule of thumb, it is a good idea to pack at least three times the amount of diabetes supplies and medications that you would normally use. Having a surplus of diabetes supplies and medications will account for any faulty sites or sites that come off early that way you don’t have to worry about running out of supplies while abroad. Additionally, you may want to consider packing a surplus of low snacks in your suitcase and carry-on since common portable go-to’s like juicebox and glucose tablets may be hard to come by while abroad.
Schedule Diabetes Management into Your Itinerary
When planning your travel itinerary, Savannah suggests scheduling diabetes management activities into your daily agenda. This can help you stay on a schedule of checking blood sugars and ample time to prepare carb counts prior to meals.
Consider Access to Internet and Communication
Many T1Ds rely on Wifi and Bluetooth in order to share important information with friends and family regarding diabetes management. While traveling abroad, access to the internet may be limited so you may not be able to communicate with your friends and family like you typically do. This can also be extremely worrisome for friends and family at home because they aren’t able to easily check in on your safety. Being aware of what access to the internet looks like prior to travel can allow you to set expectations of communication as well as consider additional safety measures your family would like to put in place.
While there are a lot of factors to consider when traveling abroad with T1D, it is definitely possible to explore the world fearlessly!. For more information about traveling abroad with T1D, check out Keeping it 100 Radio: Uncensored Diabetes Conversations: Episode 61: Going Boldly Abroad with T1D with Savannah Johnson. Available now on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.