Vacation strategies

In @Michel’s thread on his son’s scary low one night at camp, several members offered suggestions for avoiding something similar in future. I got to thinking that others might have tips for travel/vacation adjustments. This post particularly resonated with me:

That’s what I have decided to do as well (after experiencing a lot of frustration on some early trips). The mental adjustment–“cut yourself some slack”–was a real challenge. It’s not just that the food options are different but also meal times and settings, activity level, and even sleep patterns. As a pump user now, I have found that kicking my basal up-or-down or adding a small amount of bolus insulin can really help amend a tricky situation.

Any other good travel tips? I’d love to hear how to handle time zone changes (more than 3 hours)!


I have an Omnipod trick I can write up. For when you are alone. Kids or adults.

Here are some few things we do when traveling:

  • Move dinner early, as early as restaurants open, or 5:30 if cooking ourselves

  • Block fridge door slightly ajar, leave insulin in a middle shelf towards the front on the opposite side from freezer air intake if any

  • Leave one plastic bottle full of water in tight contact with insulin on either side of it in fridge, to add thermal mass and make it less likely it will freeze

  • Keep two separate bags of insulin gear in two different backpacks

  • Load emergency sugar in all backpacks, all car doors and all car pockets. We make our own emergency sugar baggies out of tiny ziplocs and raisins in 15 carb increments, as fallback if we run out of regular sugar.

  • Use tubes of Skittles for regular sugar use so you don’t have to touch the candy (you can just put tube in mouth to take some). This way your fingers remain sugar free. We reuse tubes of glucose tabs for that

  • Carry wet wipes with us to clean fingers for fingerpokes

For meals I know will be carb-y but am unsure how much or exactly what I’ll end up eating (often it’s easier to guess after I’ve eaten the food or at least once it’s in front of me), I will pre-bolus my best guess as lowest likely carb consumption, then as soon as I feel able to estimate the rest (if there is any more), I’ll take that amount in a second shot. Not perfect, but better than not pre-bolusing at all in terms of preventing carb spikes.

I try to have some low carb snacks on me (bags of nuts, low carb bars, etc) as options—like I said before, I don’t stick to low carb when traveling, but I also try not to eat carbs that aren’t super appealing. Like, if I’m at a conference offering breakfast, and the options are mediocre carb-y junk, it’s nice to have my own stuff with me.

Tresiba has definitely made dealing time changes so much easier for me, since the 8 hour flexibility in dosing schedule makes it easy to shift.

As someone whose travel doesn’t tend to involve things like camping, I’ve never really worried about keeping insulin cool when traveling—I guess I would if I was going for months at a time or in extreme climates, but if I’m in a hotel room, room temp is fine. I usually bring a back up of each of my pens, which I’ll use next either way relatively soon, so not exposing much insulin to non-refrigerated temps.

i recently returned from a vacation which was in a hotel. i brought all my pump supplies and all other med supplies i needed; i keep a “med bag” packed at all times when i am at home, so that (with the exception of my fridged insulin) i can leave my home in a moments time. i just through the insulin in my bag and i am good to go.

well, as i have done many times before when i am staying in a hotel, i request a mini fridge when i am checking into my room. i make it abundantly clear that i can NOT have a freezer. that i am storing insulin medication and i MUST have a fridge.

well, unfortunately, the hotel porter brought me up a fridge that was soon to become so cold (once it was pugged in) that my insulin froze solid. now, i pay so much co-payment for my vials of Novolog that it seemed in my best interest to make a complaint to the staff manager. if they refused to replace my insulin or take $$ off of my room bill, i would suck it up. not the worst thing that could happen, except that i was really low on my opened vial of insulin and might need to open a new one (now a frozen one). well, to my great surprise, management took my dilemma very seriously. they got their hotel on-call MD to write out a prescription and paid to replace my frozen insulin with a brand new vial. (and to my GREAT surprise, they paid for 3 vials !!! ) (don’t know why, but who would complain about that ). i think that once they saw the actual price of a vial of insulin, they realized how much of a loss i would be taking if they had not helped me out. also, this was at a resort where my family goes every year, and they probably wanted to keep their better clients.

so hooray for sticking up for myself, and boo for not just keeping the insulin at room-temp for the brief duration of my stay. lesson learned.


Nice Job !!!

pretty cool, huh :wink: no pun intended

I like to use the Frio bags to keep my insulin cool when traveling. They work by evaporative cooling and don’t require refrigeration or ice. Just water.

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Good to know, Sam. I’m not a big lover of hot and humid, so I haven’t had to push it to the limit.

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