As some of you might know, my boyfriend was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes fairly recently, and whilst he has been getting used to it and learning, so have I. One of the most crucial things I have learned is the importance of being organised.
Needless to say, when you are travelling or going on holiday, planning is key. This is no different to travelling with diabetes. It is so important to be prepared for the worst (not that it’s guaranteed that it is guaranteed to happen!). But, you have to expect it to, incase it does. A couple of weeks ago, we went camping, and to prepare for that and our holiday to Devon, I had been doing some research and reading for people’s tips and tricks for travelling and being organised. Here are some of the important things that I have picked up on. This post is not sponsored, this is mine and Ed’s genuine opinions on what has been useful and products we have found handy in practise!
You need to have enough supplies for the amount of time you are away, and longer. This includes anything that you would use daily, and anything that could help if something goes wrong. For example, a list I made for Ed included:
Needles, insulin, test strips, lancets, spare CGM (Continuous glucose monitoring) sensors.
Other things I found useful to have are any things that you could need if something went wrong. So not only does this include extra supplies (we took double the expected amount) but also ‘non-every-day’ things, such as keytone test strips.
It may seem like overkill, but it is not fun getting to your holiday destination and realising you’ve left something behind – something that would make your holiday more comfortable. For example, Ed left his spare FreeStyle Libre sensor at home and for the weekend he had to step back in time to when he was diagnosed and get the ‘ol finger pricker out again. It wasn’t fun for anyone, least of all him. Planning for these things just makes it more comfortable more than anything.
The dreaded hypoglycaemia. ‘Tis a bitch. Unfortunately, just like 98% of the other problems in day-to-day life, ignoring it doesn’t make it go away. The more you ignore the signs the worse it gets. We took way too much stuff incase of a hypo, especially considering we were only away one night, but I didn’t want to have a situation where a lack of sugar got out of hand. Here’s what was included in our emergency kit:
Glucose juices, glucose tablets and glucose gels. These are good as they are discrete amounts of sugar and can be used to know precisely how much sugar you might need to take and how much you are actually taking. Other things included; Percy Pigs sweets (incase Ed didn’t want glucose tablets, because they are gross and horrible and mean and rank and not enjoyable at all and… you get the picture), full sugar Lucozade (again, see my previous reasoning), Caprisuns and biscuits. The biscuits acted as carbs for when we were camping, as taking a whole loaf of bread with us seemed a bit too Parisian.
Hypo supplies are so important, especially if you are going somewhere such as a festival where there might be alcohol, which can have such an impact on your blood sugar levels, causing them to drop rapidly. The earlier you spot a hypo, the quicker you can get the sugar in and the better the outcome. If you didn’t have anything pleasant, for instance you only had a glucose gel, you really don’t want to get to stage of needing to use it. I don’t know first hand because I don’t have T1D but I’ve heard from others that Glucose gel is not pleasant, and to be honest, you don’t want to be in a situation where that is your only option. But if you were, you’d be fine and have to make do! As well as hypo supplies, low carb snacks are also a really good thing to stock up on and take because it can be hard to find something that you can eat without sugar or carbs! Especially if you’re camping or abroad! Ed’s favourites include beef jerky and apple chunks with peanut butter!
Other helpful bits and bobs:
Frio Cooler Pouch
When we went camping it was very, very, very warm and insulin does not like heat. He likes it cold (Shoutout to my boy Will Byers) is true in the case of insulin and we took a Frio cooler, which I will link at the bottom for you. It is a pouch which contains tiny beads that react to water and don’t require refrigeration to keep things cold. This is perfect for something like camping, where you might not have access to a fridge!
Frio Sharps Bin Mini
Another product from Frio, is their mini sharps bins. They are super handy for on the go needle disposal, and it they can be emptied into bigger sharps bins once you get home. Trust me, I don’t mind needles floating around in my handbag, until my hand comes out looking like a pin cushion when I go rummaging for god knows what. Still, all jokes aside, these are brilliant and very cheap, well worth investing in one for those moment when you don’t want to carry around a huge yellow bin all the time. When we take the car on holiday, or visit friends and family, we tend to take a normal 1L sharps bin – it’s easier than collecting all the needles up and taking them back loose in the suitcases!
MedAngel Temp. Sensor
A really useful product, especially for hot or extremely cold holidays, such as beaches or skiing, is the MedAngel temperature sensor. Ed was bought his as a gift and it has been really useful for the above reasons! This can slip into the Frio pouch, or next to your insulin wherever it is stored, and reads the surrounding temperature, giving you a rough idea of what temperature your insulin is at. It also recognises all the different insulin brands and types as well as knowing their safe ranges, notifying you if they are dangerously hot or cold. With an app available for IOS and Android, it’s a handy gadget to have if you need it. We take a spare battery for this, even though the battery lasts years – better to be safe than sorry. Also, as I discovered only today, it has a GPS tracker, so if you lose your insulin, you can see where it was last and track it down!
As you can see from my picture, we keep it in a makeshift protective plastic bag, so when the Frio is wet, it doesn’t get damaged. If you’re interested on how I’ve done this, just google heat shrinking plastic bag videos, like the ones for keeping carrot sticks in etc. See here! They did a better job than I did! Seriously.
This comes under a term I like to call ‘Pseudo-hypo supplies’, but the Hypo Wallet is so useful for keeping the juice, tabs and gel all in one case whether you’re putting it in your bag, leaving it in the hotel room, etc., knowing it has everything ready. We keep one in the car, as well as one in my handbag so we always have something with us. The one linked from Amazon is slightly more expensive than what you can find elsewhere, but it gives you an idea of what it contains. We stock up each time we use one of the items in it so we know it is always full. We buy in bulk from Amazon, but there are other places such as online pharmacies that do the same stuff.
Finally, to keep everything together, I put supplies and bulky things in a Frio travel bag, and any food and hypo snacks in a mini cooler lunch bag. The linked Frio is a ready made travel kit, which we have bought before and the bag is really handy. The lunch bag pictured pictured is mine, and is rather girly. But hey, I’m they one carrying it!
Thank you for reading and if any of you are interested in these products and want to know more, let me know as I am considering doing a separate post for a couple of the things I listed today. I will be incorporating more posts into my blog about diabetes and how Ed and I are learning new things every day.
Also, massive shoutout to Ed who puts up with this everyday and I’m so proud of you!
Here are the linked products from today:
Frio Sharps Bin: https://friouk.com/product/mini-pocket-sharps-bin/
Frio Duo Wallet: https://friouk.com/product/frio-duo/
Hypo Wallet: https://www.diabetes.co.uk/shop/hypowallet
Frio Travel Essentials Kit: https://friouk.com/product/travel-essentials-pack/
MedAngel Sensor: https://shop.medangel.co