So Kim and her family are kind of my heroes when it comes to vacationing. Just so everyone knows, her family consists of two normal parents… and FOUR little kids 8 and under! Yet they’ve never met a vacation challenge they haven’t liked. Throughout the years they have become the consummate road trippers — crisscrossing the United States in their trusty van full of cargo and kids. They’ve kayaked in Hawaii, met moose in Wyoming and done many other adventurous things that they are too modest to own up to.
It has been fun and rewarding to see their courage extend to involving their little girl, who happens to have diabetes, in their energetic vacation plans! And isn’t that the way it really should be? Diabetes can be challenging to manage and certainly requires its own “stuff” and processes but there is no reason whatsoever to stop living the life that makes you happy!
Our family is… a little less adventurous. We aren’t gifted with quite as much vacation time for one thing, but mostly, truth be told, I’m a bit wimpy about what I can endure with the kids. I did ONE trip to Yosemite with James when he was 18 months old and haven’t done more than an overnight camping trip since. Let’s just say I was sick of playing zone defense for over a week! (Keep the 18-month-old out of the stream, the street, the mud, the neighbor’s campground, ad infinitum!)
So maybe we don’t camp much, but we DO fish, hike, bike, swim, go to the beach and stay at hotels! Our kind of vacation just might involve a shopping center, a restaurant, an art museum and a theme park! All of these things have their challenges too — they require a certain amount of preparation and packing.
I’ve discovered the things that are ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL to bring. For us, that is insulin and a meter! I’ve discovered what is incredibly annoying to forget (test strips set me back about $100 once!). And I’ve discovered that innovation and paying attention can get you past some possibly sticky scrapes.
I think the takeaway for this is that diabetes doesn’t have to change the way you vacation. It hasn’t changed for Kim’s family and it hasn’t changed for ours either!
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.