Diabetes and summer holidays

First of all, Hi everyone!

I am new here, I was told about this site by a wonderful mentor that called me today. My daughter was diagnosed september, 2008 at the age of 13. We have had many complications since our diagnoses but seem to be getting a handle on things.

Because it is summer, we are in the process of planning our summer getaway except now we have one more speedbump on our way. I have never had to pack for a road trip as a diabetes mom. I am wondering how you all do it? My daughter is a fairly active child and her blood sugars are all over the map. If she gets on the higher side we usually get her more active. That will be a challenge in the car! And what about sharps containers?

I almost don't want to go away because it feels overwhelming. I am sure I will get the idea eventually but just don't have it yet. Any words of wisdom?

Leanne :)

The first time traveling can definitely be tricky trying to figure out what to bring. First try and make a estimation of how much of each thing (insulin, test strips, needles, lancets, etc) she would use in the number of days you are gone. Then I would take almost double that just to be on the safe side. As far as sharps containers, I'm not gonna lie I just recap everything and throw it in a bag while I travel (never had a problem in 9 years). However, I have seen small sharps pouches abotu the size of a makeup bag that are made out of super thick rubber at the drug store you can get. Just remember it is always better to bring more stuff than you need. Good luck!

For sharps containers, I use empty coffee cans. they're about perfect sized for syringes, and they are metal, and I go through a lot of them...

Keep in mind that your daughter might need more insulin since she will be less active, and also remember to bring lots of protein-rich foods that she can snack on without having to worry about bolusing while you're in the car.

And have a great vacation!

I was also 13 when dxd! :-)

You may want to look at this past forum as it also deals with travel: http://juvenation.org/forums/p/1802/12583.aspx#12583

In terms of how to pack,

I have been on a few trips and I have a list of everything I should bring in my diabetes binder. Might be a good idea for you to do the same and add to it after this trip, so that when you go on another one, you know what to bring.

My rule of thumb is to bring DOUBLE the stuff you'll need. I guess it might be overdoing it but I'd rather have too many than not enough.

Syringes, insulin, alcohol swabs, Ketostix, test strips, control solution, meter, lancets, glucagon, plenty of glucose tabs/juice, any logs, books, or reference materials you may need...the list keeps going.

When you think you have finished packing your supplies look through the bin(s) you keep everything in at home. If there is nothing left in there, or you have packed several of whatever is in there, you should be good to go. Make sure you check all the different places around the house where things could be (like I have forgotten Ketostix because I keep them in my bathroom cabinet).

Sharps containers...hmm. I think I used empty fabric softener jugs or something like that. Actually when I was visiting my grandparents I believe I used A&H baking soda containers. Small but holds about a week's worth of syringes. I can't exactly remember because I've been on a pump for two years now. but come to think of it that's what I used for sharps.

The first time I went away I was really scared. I guess it helped though that I was going to visit family (my grandparents) and I was used to going there about six weeks out of every year, so it was a familiar place.

And remember if you forget something there's usually a pharmacy near where you're going. So if you bring prescription info the pharmacy there can usually fill it. Don't count on it but if you do forget something, try to find a pharmacy.

Don't stress out. You'll be fine. Start piling up supplies at the end of the kitchen table a couple days ahead of time and there's a pretty good chance you'll be good to go!

Hope this helps! Have a great trip!


For a sharps container you can use a little laundry detergent bottle, coffee container, pretty much any plastic container with a lid I guess.

For the packing my mom always takes a little cooler for my insulin, snacks, extra infusion sites, pretty much anything you need on a regular basis. Hope this helps!


Hi Leanne,

You mentioned that when your daughter's blood sugars are on the higher side you get her more active.  I'm curious if you also you correction boluses to bring her sugars down. The reason I ask is because I've always been taught and found in my personal experience that increased exercise (or activity) can cause a lot of muscle pain if the sugar is really high, like over 250 or in the 300's.  I had found that it was better not to exercise until I brought my blood sugar back into the 100's range.  Perhaps someone else would like to comment on this.  And of course, unlike increasing her activity level in the car which can be a problem, administering a correction bolus for a high sugar is not really a problem.

Paul - that is so interesting.  I cannot begin to exercise unless my blood sugar is at least 250 or higher.  If I am lower than that, I will have an extreme low by the time I'm done or during the middle of exercising.  I don't mean that I work out for extended periods of time, just like an exercise class for an hour or something.  I guess that everyone's body is so different.  I would be interested to see how other people react to exercise.  I don't think I've ever really have a lot of muscle pain unless I'm trying to lift heavy weights or something.  

Hi Paul,

Yes if Samantha's sugar goes really high then for sure we will correct it but if it is only minorly increase and is stardting a trend for the day, then I will try to get her more active.  I don't make her do a workout but maybe a short walk or we will play a game on the wii. Something fun just so she is not sitting around. The other thing her doctor said is when she has high sugar days is drink way more water.

Thanks for the tips evryone, I really appreciate it!

I will probably used most of those!


Hi Leanne,

Packing can be a bit overwhelming with the big D but, once you get the hang of it, it's really not so bad.  I keep a 'travel pack' full of extra supplies at the ready (alcohol swabs, infusion sets, reservoirs, extra meter, ketone tester, glucose tablets, pump batteries, regular syringes and my doctor's contact information).  If my husband and I decide to go on a weekend jaunt, I simply add my insulin and test strips and I'm good to go.  If it's a longer trip, I usually bring about four times the test strips I'd usually use and double everything else.

With regards to high blood sugar and the inactivity of sitting in a car, my parents always used to pack a soccer ball in the trunk on family vacations.  At rest stops, it was my job to kick it around.  Got me moving and helped reduced unwanted highs.  If your daughter's on a pump, you could also consider a temporary increase in basal insulin.

I hope you have a lovely vacation!