If you have diabetes or celiac disease, you know that travel can be a daunting experience. Packing for your disease takes a lot of planning and a lot of room in your suitcase. I find road trips or driving to a location MUCH more desirable than flying, due to the number of items I need to pack. However, I recently flew to see my family for a long weekend, so I’m going to show you, in pictures, how I packed for a 3-day trip.
Firstly, I suggest you start writing your list of things to pack beginning a week before the flight. Keep it out on the counter, so you are able to add or remove items as you think of them. Waiting until the last minute to pack will almost ensure you forget something you are going to need.
I started off the day by putting on a new insulin pump pod and CGM on prior to the flight. I don’t want to have to change either device during the flight. Also, I wore easy, comfortable clothes for the flight.
I packed a diabetes “grab bag” of supplies, using my 50/50 Medical Supply bag. Although I would have only needed 1-2 pods (pump supplies) for the weekend, I packed several plus an extra Omnipod PDM (the handheld device).
I packed lots of Multi-Clix lancet refills, an extra 50 Accu-chek Nano test strips (in addition to a bottle of 50 in my purse), 1 extra lancing device, 2 needles, a Justin’s Maple Almond Butter individual pack, and several forms of fast-
I couldn’t forget my stickers for decorating my pod.
This little pack zips up quite nicely and it went right into my purse for easy access.
For personal care supplies, I packed my prescriptions, baby powder for my hair, makeup, toothpaste/brush, hair clips, deodorant, allergy creams, Benadryl, face/eye cream. This zipped up nicely and went in my suitcase. This is a very old Victoria’s Secret travel case that I have had for many years. I have never been able to find one exactly like it. It’s been a staple in my traveling.
Not pictured: 3 oz containers of my own shampoo, conditioner and soap, since I am allergic to every kind out there, and the ones I use are not found at most stores. Also a little mini honey bear. These all went into a Ziploc bag that would have to follow the security check’s “3 oz containers in 1 ziploc bag” liquid rule. I had so much shoved in that Ziploc bag that it wouldn’t close all the way. They were sideways/upside down, whatever way they had to be to fit in that bag. Here was the little honey. I thought it was so cute!
I only used one small suitcase (I didn’t check any bags!), so I had to be very selective with what I chose to bring. I brought a couple outfits, 1 pair of shoes stored in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag in addition to the Nikes I wore on the plane, a mini cutting board from Macy’s Martha Stewart line (I need something to cut food on upon arrival at my dad’s house, as his cutting boards are all cross-contaminated with gluten), phone charger, chapsticks, a birthday card, and printed recipes for my sister. In the side pockets I packed two Go Picnic lunches, so I’d have food to eat when my plane landed at 10pm. I knew my dad wouldn’t have any “safe” gluten free food options for me and I was going to be starving! This would buy me time to get to the grocery store to buy a few food items for the weekend.
“Can I fit in your suitcase?”
Next, is my purse. I carried a large purse, my Louis Vuitton, which I never use because it is too heavy. But my other purses were too small for traveling. I packed all THIS crap in my purse: Glucagon kit, glucose tabs, juice box, wallet, “FLY” letter from Endocrinologist that states I am diabetic and celiac and need to carry supplies and food with me, pump supply bag, raw almonds, albuterol inhaler, word search, Prevention magazine, kleenexes, sunglasses, Mike & Ikes and CGM.
You cannot even imagine HOW MANY things had to go on the security belt. Multiple devices: iPad, iPhone, CGM, Pump, needles, bag of liquids, insulin, food, shoes, fly letter for security to read in case of any confusion. They must have thought “Who is this crazy girl??”
Upon arrival, I stopped at a grocery store to pick up some eggs, fruit and a couple GF frozen food items that I could heat and eat for the weekend. Since I did not have access to cookware that was not cross contaminated, I did not buy food I would have to cook. If it were a longer trip, I would have driven the 9 hours instead of flown, so that I was able to load my car with my pans, toaster oven, cooking utensils, and bags of groceries to eat. I bought a larger vehicle 2 years ago when I realized that my small sporty car was too small to transport everything I needed for a road trip and fit the dog, too. Yep, celiac disease actually influenced what vehicle I purchased. Basically every time I travel by car, it looks like I’m moving.
I had a great time while I was there. I was invited to a birthday party. Due to celiac disease, I was unable to eat any of the food there, so I stopped at Chipotle on the way there. While everyone else ate this
I ate this
But I choose to focus on the people and the special time I had with them, and not focus on the food I cannot eat. No time to feel sorry for yourself when you are having so much fun!
I did not have any issues at the airports coming or going, so that was a huge blessing. My blood sugars were high on the flight there, because I suspended my pump AND carb loaded prior to the flight. Lesson learned: one or the other will do.
So there you have it. This is how I fly.