Traveling with Diabetes

As you can tell, for the past few months, I’ve been on hiatus from posting, but now I’m BACK. And it’s been nothing less than crazy.

If you follow me on social media, then you know that…I’M ENGAGED! My fi-an-cé (love saying that) popped the question during our vacation to Riviera Maya, Mexico, and it went like this:

There we were, in a 5 star, all-you-can-eat steakhouse called Bovinos in downtown Playa Del Carmen, celebrating our last night in Mexico. Oddly, my fiancé wasn’t diving into his steak (I mean, he’s a pretty big guy and loves a good steak), so I knew something was up. From there, he really indulged in the wine, multiple times – and not so despacito, ha! We then ordered dessert, and there, in the chocolate covered ball that was elegantly plated (that I really wanted to eat), was my ring. What a sight to see – something so beautiful to mark such an enchanting moment, a catalyst to the rest of our lives together. And from there, it’s history!

 

 

So, as you can imagine, it’s been nonstop wedding planning, which means all my time has been consumed by Pinterest, dress shopping, venue open houses, food tastings, watching Say Yes to the Dress, thinking of creative bridesmaids proposals and coming up with clever hashtags. 😉  I will be getting married October 2018, and I’m already stressed, but I promise to stay consistent in sharing all of my new content.

To say that Mexico was awesome would be an understatement. It was by far the best vacation of my life. The resort staff was so welcoming and made every day that much more enjoyable. Something I gained from the trip was a newfound appreciation for nature, the realization of how beautiful the world around us can be. I woke up to oceanside views every morning and dozed off to the sound of calming waters at night. I snorkeled in the ocean, went horseback riding in the forest, touched the Mayan ruins, took pictures with Parakeets, and ate and drank all the authentic food and imported liqueurs you can imagine.

 

It was this amazing because I chose not to let my diabetes dictate otherwise. From packing my suitcases and going through security lines at the airport, to making sure I had meals throughout the day and enough supplies to last, it was safe to say that I was prepared to take on Mexico! Ariba! I want to show you how you can do the same, so you can take on any destination on your bucket list.

Living with diabetes is a 24/7 job, but when you’re on vacation it’s the last thing you should have to think about – let alone manage in an unfamiliar place. From my experience traveling abroad, here’s some tips I came up with for traveling diabetter:

1. Planning ahead is a plus!

Pack extra diabetic supplies with you in both your carry-on and checked bag. You want to bring extra needles, test strips, alcohol wipes, lancets, batteries, and a back up insulin pump or injection pens. Make sure to store your insulin in a cool place. For me, I brought a small lunch box with ice packs.

2. Travel letter

Ask your Endocrinologist to write you a travel letter that consists of everything you are allowed to carry on the plane. This will make the security check a smoother process. I got stopped three times going through security. They patted me down until they reached my Omnipod site on my stomach. After giving me the look of confusion, I had to explain what it was. That is when I showed my travel letter and they released me. Take the time to educate those who are unaware about T1D.

Here’s a fun fact… if you show your travel letter to the gate monitors, you get to pre-board! My fiancé and I skipped the lines and flied first class!!

3. Meal prep

Pack snacks that travel well. Avoid hypoglycemia by packing non-liquid foods like sandwiches, dried fruit, lentil chips, peanut butter cups, tuna packs or hard boiled eggs. Foods with great sources a protein will help maintain a steady blood glucose level. Even foods with higher carb counts (goldfish, chips, trail mix, protein bars etc.) are okay to pack, just make sure to check your BG often and bolus accordingly.

4. Under bolus and correct later

Get solid at carb counting. Knowing the basic foods can help when eating a dish you’re unfamiliar with. If you’re not sure, ask the wait staff or chef for the nutrition facts, “Is this dish more of a carbohydrate?” It is completely fine to guesstimate, but aim for a lower carb ratio to avoid hypos. Every meal I ate was carb heavy (whoops!) so I gave a less bolus and checked my BG more often. I also used the extended bolus option on my pod. Daily activities like snorkeling, touring the ruins, playing sand volleyball, horseback riding etc. offset my highs because I was doing some type of exercise and movement that caused my BG to level out.

 

 

5. Be responsible. Get lit. 

Alcohol can lower your blood sugar. Be careful with mixed drinks (I’m guilty!) and anything that has a juice or soda as a base. Stay hydrated throughout the day/night by drinking water, iced tea, coke zero; something with zero calories added. My drink of choice was a mojito (and shots of tequila) which is soda based, so I made sure I had water with me at all times. Staying at a resort made access to food and drinks much easier. Be responsible.

6. Enjoy your vacation!

Just because we have diabetes doesn’t mean we should limit ourselves in life. Traveling with this disease definitely makes it more complicated, but as long as you keep tips like these in mind, there’s no reason to let it stop you. God gave us a big battle because we are strong enough to persevere and handle such ups and downs… so why not splurge a little?

I embraced every second of my vacation because I didn’t care what people thought. Yes, I received those awkward stares at the beach when they saw my Omnipod. Yes, people did a double-take when I bolused for my meals, but those are opportunities to educate others and grow in one’s self confidence.

So here are my last tips:

1. Book your dream vacation.

2. Don’t avoid taking risks because of this disease.

 

Diabetes doesn’t define you. Too many times as diabetics we allow our lives to be dictated by the disease that we have. We feel that we cannot enjoy a quality of life that only “normal” people have access to. Before taking this trip I was worried how my routine would be affected. Would I go low and have to stop whatever activity I was doing and take a glucose tab or drink a juice box? Would I be able to partake in all of the delicious authentic food that was available to us? If anyone knows me they know that I am someone who likes to be in control of my circumstances. Doing something that you have no control of and accepting that you cannot control the outcome is one of the most empowering experiences.  Life is the greatest gift we have, so it’s up to you to decide how to live it and always remember, Vive la buena vida!

#LivingDiabetter

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