*Disclaimer: All content and information in this blog is for informational and educational purposes only.
Traveling can be overwhelming, especially if you are living with type 1 diabetes. When leaving your at-home routine, you might find that the changes in food, activity, environment, weather, elevation and everything in between are impacting your blood sugar levels. It can be quite hard to enjoy your time on vacation while your blood sugar levels are fluctuating all over. In this blog post, we are breaking down three specific areas you can focus on when traveling with diabetes so you can enjoy your vacation without sacrificing your blood sugars.
Assess Your Patterns
There are over 42 factors that can impact blood sugar levels. When traveling, you may be exposed to one or many of these factors on your trip. Getting familiar with how different factors impact your blood sugar can help you be prepared and proactive in your management whether you are planning to go cross country skiing, a resort beach vacation, or exploring new cities. When you take time to understand the factors behind how your blood sugar is behaving, you will be able to implement strategies into your self-management ahead of time. Some factors that you may want to consider when traveling include:
- Climate: how do your blood sugars respond to high, low, or moderate temperatures?
- Altitude:how do your blood sugars respond when in higher altitudes?
- Exercise/Activity: how do your blood sugars respond during varying levels of activity?
- Food: how do your blood sugars respond with different meal types?
- Dehydration: how does dehydration impact your blood sugar levels?
- Alcohol: how do your blood sugar levels respond to alcohol?
Find Your Own Balance
Many of the factors that impact blood sugar levels are out of your control- you can’t change how your body chooses to respond to different climates, altitude changes, or other factors. But, you can change what you focus on. Focusing on what you can control and limit the time spent getting caught up in what you can’t. Some things that you have control over include: the foods you eat, the movement you do, and the timing of your insulin. Now, this isn’t to say you have to restrict your carb intake, force yourself to exercise, or be perfect with your pre-bolusing strategies, but you can work on being intentional about the foods you choose to eat, the movement you do, and the timing of when your insulin. When you work at being intentional with these factors, you may find balance during your vacation instead of allowing it to be a free for all. It is up to you to determine what that looks like for you!
Depending on the type of vacation you are going on and the length of time you will be away, you want to make sure that you are well stocked and well prepared with diabetes supplies. A general rule of thumb is to bring two to three times the amount of diabetes supplies that you will typically use, back-up supplies for pumping and monitoring blood sugars, patches for keeping your devices stuck, low treatments, glucagon, and snacks. You never know what type of situations you may be faced with- like hours of delays at an airport, three sensors that malfunction in a row, or eating dinner at 9pm at night so always be prepared for what might come up.
It can be intimidating to try new things with diabetes, but you deserve to go out, explore, and live fearlessly with diabetes. If you’re curious about what it’d be like to take a 21-day cross-country road trip check out Episode 33: How I Maintained an 80% Time In Range While Traveling for 21 Days where host Lissie Poyner walks you through the biggest takeaways she had on this once in a lifetime trip. Available now on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.