10 Tips for Traveling With Diabetes

Some extra planning and research is all that's needed for a person with diabetes to enjoy an incredible family vacation.

Photos

Think Small

Think Small

Start with small trips close to home. As alluring as far-off places can be, sometimes all you need is short trip to quench your thirst for wanderlust. Think state parks instead of national parks for this one. An added bonus is they are significantly less crowded and have cheaper entrance fees. 960 1280

Jeremy Pawlowski  

Day Trips

Day Trips

It's easy to lose ourselves in the dreams of multi-day backpacking trips or plane rides halfway around the world, but when it comes to working a nine-to-five, chances are this isn't going to happen often, so try a day trip instead. You'll get out in nature, hopefully explore something new and still be home in time for dinner. 960 1280

Jeremy Pawlowski  

Travel With Friends

Travel With Friends

Solo trips are fun and rejuvenating, but bringing friends along can ease the burden of travel. Other people can bring new ideas for trips and different outlooks on how to travel to the table. Having an extra person or two to drive and split the cost of gas is always a big help too. 960 1280

Jeremy Pawlowski  

Travel for Work (If You're Lucky)

Travel for Work (If You're Lucky)

Unfortunately this is not something that my job allows but many people do have jobs where they travel. Friends of mine who have been bitten by the travel bug do their best to tack on an extra day to business trips so they can use that time to explore a new location. 960 1280

Jeremy Pawlowski  

Take Advantage of Long Weekends

Take Advantage of Long Weekends

Veterans Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Memorial Day — these holidays offer most of us an extra day off from our desk jobs. Take this time to drive to that location that you've always wanted to go to that just seems a bit too far for a standard weekend. Don't worry, the couch will still be waiting for you on Tuesday. 960 1280

Jeremy Pawlowski  

Combine Locations

Combine Locations

Just because you can spend weeks at some national parks and still not see everything they have to offer doesn't mean you have to. Combining locations that are close to each other is a good way to make the most out of a limited amount of time. Not only will you still be able to see the most noteworthy sights, but the variation in landscape will leave you feeling more fulfilled in a short period of time. 960 1280

Jeremy Pawlowski  

Do Your Research

Do Your Research

Don't be afraid to ask for recommendations from the people who spend their time in the place you're visiting. Whether it's a local resident at a gas station or a park ranger, get the inside scoop on where to go and what to see from those who know the area best. This allows you to maximize your time during a short stay. 960 1280

Jeremy Pawlowski  

Be Cheap

Be Cheap

Yes you heard me. Buy plane tickets well in advance. Consider hotels, motels and cabins a luxury while traveling, relying on campgrounds or finding a friends couch to crash on instead. As they say, a penny saved is a penny earned, and if it means the difference between another trip or not, then it is well worth it. 960 1280

Jeremy Pawlowski  

Easy Razor Cover

Easy Razor Cover

Ever reached into your toiletries case and met the wrong end of a razor? Ouch. Place a ten-cent binder clip over the razor head to prevent any nicks.  960 1280

Akemi Hiatt  

Cool It

Cool It

Running late with a hot curling iron or hair straightener? Cool it down quickly with a cold, wet washcloth. Just be careful not to touch the hot part. If the tool is still warm, use an oven mitt as a sheath to insulate heat in your bag.  960 1280

Akemi Hiatt  

Store Small Amounts of Liquids

Store Small Amounts of Liquids

Going on a short trip and don’t want to pack large bottles? A contact lens case is great for storing concealer, foundation, lotions, lip color and more.   960 1280

Akemi Hiatt  

No Loss Floss

No Loss Floss

No one likes to floss, so it stands to reason that no one will steal dental floss. The innards pop out easily and make a great place to stow valuables in your suitcase.  960 1280

Akemi Hiatt  

Keep Track of Bobby Pins

Keep Track of Bobby Pins

You can use a mint box to hold hair clips and bobby pins but a card takes up much less space in a toiletries bag. 960 1280

Akemi Hiatt  

Dollar Store Wine Sleeve

Dollar Store Wine Sleeve

Save money by packing your own wine. Keep it safe with a water floatie. We recommend this for road trips and cruises, not checked luggage.   960 1280

Akemi Hiatt  

Tangle-Free Necklaces

Tangle-Free Necklaces

Arriving at your final destination to find your necklaces tangled or broken can ruin the best of vacations. Before embarking, unlatch, string half the necklace through a drinking straw and re-clasp on the outside. Small ones work for thin gold chains while smoothie straws are great for thicker strands.  960 1280

Akemi Hiatt  

Makeshift Top

Makeshift Top

Smoothie straws also make a great sheath for both eye and lip liners, which frequently lose tops in handbags. Just use the bendy part of the straw to cover. If the pencil is narrower than the straw, clog the end with a little tissue.  960 1280

Akemi Hiatt  

Upcycled Jewel Box

Upcycled Jewel Box

A pillbox is great for medications, but it’s also a fine place to store and pack jewelry while traveling. The separate containers keep your bling organized, easy to see and not in one pile.  960 1280

Akemi Hiatt  

Extra Padding

Extra Padding

A simple padded mailer envelope gives your tablet or phone extra cushion and protection in a suitcase. Some are even waterproof.  960 1280

Akemi Hiatt  

Hat Trick

Hat Trick

Here’s another option if you don’t have a case. Keep your device cozy in a winter hat to prevent scratching.  960 1280

Akemi Hiatt  

For the Shopaholics

For the Shopaholics

If you’re traveling with the intent of shopping, consider packing a suitcase within a suitcase. If you don’t, you’ll end of buying another (probably overpriced) suitcase for the return flight. And chances are you won’t use it again. We packed a week’s worth of clothes that fit into one carry-on bag within a 22-inch rolling suitcase. 960 1280

Akemi Hiatt  

Hidden in Plain Sight

Hidden in Plain Sight

Reuse sunglass cases for packing jewelry and other valuables. The hard shell absorbs shock and the ordinary item thwarts would-be thieves.  960 1280

Akemi Hiatt  

Tin Tip

Tin Tip

Reuse mint tins and soap tins to hold necessities like ear swabs and bandages.  960 1280

Akemi Hiatt  

Snack Hack

Snack Hack

Trying to stay healthy on your road trip? Protect fruits that are easily bruised or punctured with a Koozie. Plus, you’ll have an extra koozie for drinks when you get to your destination.   960 1280

Akemi Hiatt  

Passport Hideaway

Passport Hideaway

No safe? A DVD shell is a great spot to hide your passport as the inner clip holds it in place nicely.   960 1280

Akemi Hiatt  

Save Those Wine Gift Bags

Save Those Wine Gift Bags

Reuse a cloth wine bag for delicates, like lingerie and bathing suits. And if you need a hostess gift at your destination, consider it the gift bag that just keeps on giving.  960 1280

Akemi Hiatt  

Phone Boombox

Phone Boombox

Save real estate in your bag by leaving the Bluetooth speaker at home and using your phone. All you need is a glass from the mini bar. Place the phone inside and the sound amplifies.  960 1280

Akemi Hiatt  

Bonus Outlets

Bonus Outlets

Going abroad? Pack a power strip along with a three-prong adapter. Now you can charge multiple devices at the same time. 960 1280

Akemi Hiatt  

Pillow Talk

Pillow Talk

The next time you buy new sheets or pillow cases, save the zippered plastic cases. They're great for travel makeup cases.  960 1280

Akemi Hiatt  

Catch All

Catch All

Cord catchers are great for your tech gear but they're also great for organizing all the random things at the bottom of a purse or carry-on.  960 1280

Holly Aguirre  

Know Before You Go: Lodging

Know Before You Go: Lodging

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) site is a good place to start for those with vision or hearing issues. While U.S. hotels, transportation, and cruise ships sailing in U.S. waters are required to be ADA-compliant, don’t assume that the foreign equivalent will be. For example, for those who are vision impaired, ADA-compliant lodging is required to allow service animals; provide large-print, Braille, or audio options for relevant hotel information; and comply with requests for adjoining rooms. Other services such as conducting a room orientation tour should also be provided.

For hard-of-hearing guests, ADA-compliant lodging is required to provide, upon request, a compliancy kit that includes visual alarms and visual notification devices. Teletypewriters (TTY or TDD) or amplified phones should also be available. If transportation, a cruise, hotel, or other lodging (such as Airbnb) isn’t ADA-compliant, call ahead to discuss what accommodations can be made. However, bring whatever aide is necessary in your carry-on, in case loaner equipment isn’t working or available. Multiple kits aren’t always available, so it’s a good idea to travel with devices such as SafeAwake, a travel-size alarm that shakes the bed and flashes a light if the smoke detector is triggered.

Joel Barish, founder of DeafNation.com, a comprehensive source for the deaf and hard of hearing, also advises performing a Google search to find similar communities at your destination. For example, Signs Restaurant & Bar in Toronto employs a deaf waitstaff that only communicates in sign language. Dans le Noir is a restaurant chain where you eat in complete darkness, with locations in London, Paris, Barcelona, and more.
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BenDC  

Know Your Rights

Know Your Rights

If you’re traveling within the U.S. or staying at a U.S. chain abroad, familiarize yourself with ADA laws, since you can’t assume that every staff member, regardless of whether it’s a hotel, cruise ship, theme park, etc. will know your rights and options. Review the Air Carrier Access Act for rights on U.S. airlines.

It’s also key to understand the laws for where you’re going. “They may differ significantly from the U.S. for protecting individuals who are disabled and for service animals that might need additional vaccinations,” says Dr. Margaret Wilson, chief medical officer for UnitedHealthcare Global. 
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kokouu  

Use a Specialized Travel Agent or Company

Use a Specialized Travel Agent or Company

Travel agencies that specialize in trips for the blind or deaf can help facilitate a stress-free trip. Mind’s Eye Travel provides group trips that range from cruises to an African safari. Traveleyes is a UK-based company (although it attracts an international crowd) with a unique concept: trips are a blend of blind and sighted travelers. Upcoming trips encompass a broad range from Burma to Peru.

Deaf Globetrotters
also offers group trips, (and provides a sign language interpreter) such as an upcoming one to Cuba, along with the opportunity to connect with the local deaf community. Group tours with translators can be especially helpful for those who are deaf, since sign language is not a universal language. Deaf Globetrotters can also arrange customized family trips. An organization like the Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality is another resource for finding agents and companies.
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michaeljung  

Visit a Museum

Visit a Museum

Many museums offer special programs for the deaf and blind. For example, MoMA in NYC offers touch and visually descriptive tours, as well as Braille maps. It also allows service animals. Sign language interpretation, captioning, and FM assistive-listening devices are available to the deaf and hard of hearing. The Louvre, the Smithsonian Museums, and the Vatican Museums also offer accessibility options. 960 1280

AndreyKrav  

Get Reduced Fares on Transportation

Get Reduced Fares on Transportation

For example, Amtrak offers discounts (from 15%-50%) to both the deaf and blind, plus a travel companion. You must show proof of your disability, such as a doctor’s note or ID card; visit the site for a full list of approved documents.

Reduced fares are also available on buses (such as Greyhound) and other trains both here and abroad, including Japan, London, and Singapore.
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alamourus  

Ask for Assistance

Ask for Assistance

Whether at airports, hotels, train, or bus stations, alert the staff in advance so they can help with your needs. For example, airline staff can assist with getting through security faster. At the very least, familiarize yourself with TSA guidelines to learn about security procedures, such as traveling with a service animal. Amtrak also provides services upon request, including Red Cap agents who will carry luggage onto the train. Amtrak also allows service animals, but review its guidelines beforehand.  

Even when assistance isn’t needed, it’s important to make staff aware of any issues, since a family member might not be present all the time. Nancy Nadler, deputy executive director at the Center for Hearing and Communication, recommends alerting staff of a disability in the event of an emergency or important announcement.
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andresr  

Apply for a Free Access Pass from the National Park Service

Apply for a Free Access Pass from the National Park Service

Any U.S. citizen with a permanent disability, including hearing and vision loss, is eligible to receive a free, lifetime access pass to any of the national parks, monuments, historic sites, and more. 960 1280

Csondy  

Consider a Cruise

Consider a Cruise

By law, all cruise lines sailing in U.S. waters are supposed to be ADA-compliant, making them an ideal option. However, ADA guidelines for cruise ships aren’t standardized, so the level of service and resources vary—be sure to research each line. However, for those who are blind or have low vision, Royal Caribbean provides orientation tours, large-print menus and daily activity lists, and qualified readers. Braille signs are available in elevators and public areas, and service animals are also allowed. For those who are deaf or hard of hearing, Royal Caribbean will provide a TTY phone in the room, along with a visual alert system for the phone, door, smoke detector, and alarm clock. With advance notice (at least 60 days ahead) the ship will even provide sign language interpreters on cruises between the U.S. and Canada. 960 1280

joyt  

Head to a Disney Theme Park

Head to a Disney Theme Park

A Disney vacation is another great option for families, since the parks are sensitive to a wide range of needs. Those with vision issues can take advantage of handheld audio description devices, which provide visual details for various attractions and shows. Braille guidebooks and digital audio tours are available, and Braille maps are located throughout the parks. Service animals are allowed too.

Hard-of-hearing services include handheld, reflective, and video captioning, assistive-listening devices, and sign language interpretation at some of the live shows. However, sign language interpretation is available at other performances, such as Disney’s Spirit of Aloha, if it’s requested 14 days in advance. In-room options include TTY phones, strobe-light smoke detectors, and a bed shaker notification device.
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JIM WATSON / Staff  

Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)

Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)

The U.S. Department of State offers a free service that allows you to share trip information with the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate at your destination, facilitating notification in the event of an emergency. More importantly, there’s a section under Traveler Information that allows you to enter any relevant special needs information. 960 1280

Murray River Walk  

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