25 Tips For Smooth Sailing Holidays with Prediabetes or Diabetes

Mixed race, multi generation family gathered in kitchen before Christmas dinner, grandmother and grandson preparing roast turkey in foreground

Ready for the holidays that seem to come earlier every year?

When you have high blood sugar, it helps to do a little planning for upcoming travel and spending time with those who are meaningful in your life.

I invite you to pick at least 1 of the following 25 tips to help your holidays be smooth sailing, no matter why you live with high blood sugar. With a little extra attention to these details, you can keep your prediabetes or diabetes in a safe place.

Make a Plan & Prevent Problems

  1. Pack enough snacks or meals to get you where you’re going. Have you ever had the airline run out of food on you?
  2. Bring plenty of water and healthy foods if you’re doing a road trip. Yep. Time to bust out that mini-cooler collecting dust in your garage. Close up of woman packing for travel
  3. If you wear diabetes devices, like a continuous glucose monitor, no doubt you’ve already had to explain your way through the TSA checkpoint. But did you know you can call them 72 hours in advance at 1-855-787-2227 (weekdays) to request the assistance of a Passenger Support Specialist? Or if you run into hassles during the security process, you can always ask for a Supervisory TSA Officer.
  4. Consider bringing hand sanitizers for when you don’t have access to wash your hands. Some even bring those disposable wipes to wipe down the notoriously filthy airline tray tables and seat arms. Others swear by immune-boosting products, like DoTerra’s On Guard (also available in lozenges) or Airborne Immune Support.
  5. Speaking of not getting sick, get enough sleep before you go! Avoid the last-minute rush to get everything organized, from lining up pet sitters to getting gifts to packing. If you burn the midnight oil and short change your sleep going into your journey, your more susceptible to getting sick – no fun!

For Medication

  1. Budget your time to request your refills in advance.
  2. Pack your supplies and medications in your carry-on.
  3. Bring your medication in their original containers. That way, it’s easier to get through security and also get help from a local pharmacy if needed.
  4. Bring twice as much medication than you think you’ll need in case your return is delayed (just look at the crazy weather now – all that freezing weather recently cancelled a ton of flights).
  5. If you take pills that make your pancreas put out more insulin, or you take insulin, carry glucose tablets with you.
  6. Consider how your plan needs to be adjusted based on your activities. Like if you’re flying into different time zones, how does your medication need to change? Message your doctor to find out ahead of time.
  7. Do you know how to adjust your medication (typically insulin) when you’re extra (or less) active during your travels? Get a plan in place by asking your healthcare provider.
  8. Consider getting travel insurance if you’re traveling abroad, was recommended by Diabetes Forecast.

On Your Way and Once You’re There

  1. Get in your stretch breaks during long car, train or plane rides, or even during those lengthy dinners. Can you get up and move around every couple of hours?
  2. Exercise your power to choose healthier options whether you’re eating at your aunt’s or out at restaurants. Just because she insists you have a large slice of berry pie (“come on – it’s our old family recipe!), doesn’t mean you have to. And just ‘cuz someone else ordered wine, doesn’t mean you need towhen you weren’t really planning to do so in the first place. Resist the peer pressure!
  3. “Eat the best and forget the rest,” says our dietitian Stephanie Bouquet. In other words, go for what you want. Don’t feel obligated to accept every tempting offer that arrives in front of you or to have to try everything that’s on the buffet table.Friends walking in the snow
  4. Say, “No thank you” if you don’t want to eat something. You really don’t need to explain why.
  5. Bring a snack and some water if you are going out for a long jaunt in the city or in nature.
  6. Protect your feet! With temperature extremes and long journeys, your feet can swell. And if you’re doing more walking on different kinds of terrain, be sure to opt for comfort over style to prevent blisters.
  7. Plan daily outings to get in a decent walk.
  8. Keep your glucose meter and test strips from temperature extremes.
  9. If you enjoy a little bubbly, eat something so you avoid drinking on an empty stomach. And if you take insulin and have an evening cocktail, be on the watch out for a possible low the next morning; have an evening snack and keep quick-acting sugar with you.
  10. Lean on someone you trust to be your support. Ask them for what you’d like help with.
  11. Take a deep breath and seek out the positive. Holidays spells stressed backwards. OK, we all know that’s desserts, and aren’t they everywhere?If you look for what’s going well, you can find something and that helps to mitigate holiday associated stress.
  12. Carve out time to nurture yourself. How can you hold back a little energy for yourself? If you give it all away by rushing around to finish all those tasks associated with travel, you can tax your immune system. No sense in risking getting sick or being so wiped out that you catch the first cold that passes you by.

May the one (or all 25) you chose, help your blood sugars and your sanity stay as stable as possible through the holidays.


Coach Theresa Garnero

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