Kim: Vacationing With Type 1

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We’re getting ready to take the kids to Hawaii next month, and I think it will take me that long to get ready to go. It’s the first time since Kaitlyn’s diagnosis that we’re taking the kids on a plane. We’re super excited, but I can tell that it’s going to be a lot of work getting ready to take my family through the logistical nightmare called the airport!

Here are some of the challenges we’re starting to prepare for:

Luggage Have you ever packed for a family of seven, including a baby and one child who has diabetes? I have, and let me tell you, it’s no small amount of stuff. The baby supplies alone will take up a full suitcase, and when you add in the car seats, strollers, clothes, toiletries, diabetes supplies, snorkel equipment and everything else for the rest of the family, we’ll have enough stuff to fill ten suitcases. Checked-bag fees can really add up. So our plan is to buy or rent some basic supplies when we get to Hawaii. It’s actually easier and more cost-effective to get such supplies as diapers, wipes, snorkels, and even booster seats when we get there. Just about the only thing that is irreplaceable are all of our diabetes supplies. We’re going to buy several matching carry-on suitcases that we can fit in the overhead bins, and whatever fits in there, we’ll take. For everything else, well…we’ll just have to do without or get it there.

Security This is the part that I am definitely not looking forward to. The last time we took the kids on a plane, we had one less child, and Kaitlyn had not been diagnosed yet. Even then, it was enough to make me swear off flying forever. Just getting the shoes on and off of all my kids’ little feet and all of our stuff through the scanners took forever. Now we have to do it again with one more child, one additional airport stop and of course Kaitlyn’s pump. Her pump manufacturer recommends that we do not expose her pump to x-ray equipment, so we will probably request a “walk through” or hand wand inspection. I think time will be our best friend. If we allow a lot of extra time to get our circus parade through the airport, we’ll feel a lot less stressed about the ordeal.

Supplies Since we’re not checking any bags, we’ll just depend on candy and the drinks they provide on the flight until we reach our destination. We’re also planning to bring double the amount of supplies we’ll need and pack them in separate bags just in case one gets lost or damaged.

With enough planning ahead, I think our airport experience will be just fine. I’ll let you know how it goes!

 

Editor’s note: For the most up-to-date travel policies, you can visit the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) website.

 

About the author: My name is Kim. My daughter Kaitlyn (the third of our five children) was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes just a few years after my nephew James was diagnosed with the same disease. I'm excited to pair up with my sister-in-law, Jen, to share our story with you!

Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the "typical" experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.