I'm planning a trip to Europe this summer, and am curious to hear about others' experience traveling with multiple hours' time changes, and possible support in a foreign country. Last time I went to Europe I wasn't on Omnipod - I was on MDI and followed my doctor's advice and schedule suggestion for the trip without issue.
I'll be traveling to Ireland, which is five hours change from my home's US Central, My concerns are a) changing time zones and how to adjust the pump before, during or after travel, and b) the "what ifs" while in rural, European areas.
Yes, I'll ask my Endo for advice, but I'd be interested in some practical experience from other pod people.
Last summer we took our T1 son to the Dominican (no time change but definite change in environment) and to Australia (similar environment but 14 hour time change.) It seemed that most people said to change the time on the pump as soon as we arrived but that just didn't make sense to me - we changed it a couple of hours a day, and tried to line up the time he felt like going to bed with his usual bedtime on the pump. It worked really well and he adjusted well on the way there and back. For five hours that would only be 2 or three days depending on what you were comfortable with. As far as being in a rural area - we had LOTS of extra supplies we took with us, and just made sure we always knew where to find a fridge!
Ypsomed is a European Company. Patients in the UK & Ireland have had the new pods for almost a year. Novonordisk is another European company. The most remote areas of Ireland are far less remote than the most remote areas of the US as it’s only the size of Indiana.
Last summer we took a cruise to the Norwegian Fjords (pictures on my profile). I took extra pods (maybe 50% more than I would need for the week), 2 x the insulin, glucagon kit,
full MDI backup in case of PDM failure (Lantus Pens, Novolog penfill cartridges (could be used in pen or used to fill the pod), pen needles, alcohol swabs, glucose tabs, etc.
No problems with security. In terms of time, I followed the advice I had read and switched the pump to local time after arrival. I did watch things more closely than normal during travel due to the extra activity (running through airports, hauling luggage, etc).
During the cruise, I did have to make a new basal program because of the extra activity, different sleeping times, etc. after I found I was going low at night and being awakened by my CGM.
5 hours is enough to change the time on your PDM, so that the basal program will match what you do while you are there. One thing I've noticed with the pods over MDI, is that traveling is much easier than it has been. I can adjust to the time changes to much easier than on MDI, and my body accepts the changes easier too.
I visited my parents in England last August. I brought the same amount of backup supplies that I would if I were traveling anywhere (but I am a habitual over packer all of the time :) ). I changed the time on the pdm by 2 or 3 hours the day before and then completed the time change when we landed on the plane. No issues. Have a great trip!!
Ive used the pods on 4 extended golf tours in Ireland. Just change the time on the pda when u arrive. Carry plenty of extra pods in the event some go bad. Bring extra insulin. Ive never had any problem whatsoever. Ireland doesnt ever get hot so there is little chance your insulin will go bad, just avoid leaving it inside a closed car on a sunny day.
I agree with the previous responses, though I changed the time on the PDM to my destination's local time once boarding the plane (this was from US Pacific Time to Stuttgart, Germany time, 10-11 hours I think), which worked out fine as well.
I took about 50% more pods, insulin and test strips than I expected to need. I didn't want to depend on needing to find support or supplies locally for the "what ifs" that would likely add some unwanted stress to my holiday. Yes, it hampers my ability to travel as lightly as I like to, but the peace of mind is worth it. :)
This doesn't apply to Ireland really, but I was in Stuttgart, Germany in the heat of late summer so used the Frio packs to hold my insulin vials most of the time - just in case.
I travel between Los Angeles and Tokyo on occasion. I agree with other posters. I make the adjustment to my PDM on the flight over. Since the pod automatically accounts for the change in time, you'll get 72 + 8 hours regardless. I make sure to take plenty of extra supplies. I took two months worth of supplies on my longest trip whch was 3 weeks. All my supplieds went with me on the plane amd stayed in the hotel to minimize the chances of being lost or damaged during the trip. I also made sure to monitor my blood sugars pretty closely during the adjustment period to the time change and, otherwise, did everything a traveller would usually do to make suret he transition is as smooth as possible.
Good Luck and Good Travels!!!
I should add one travel trip for future thought. In 2011 I took a 12 day med cruise in the summer. I made sure the cruise ship had a mini fridge in my cabin. Once onboard I put my insulin inside the fridge & never had to worry about the warm summer days outside! Cruise ship travel is really great for podding as you can unpack once, leave all your supplies in your cabin & take day trips from the ship as it moves from port to port!
Just to follow up on this - thanks for all the tips and advice. After talking with people here and my doc and a rep from OmniPod (who cannot give medical advice) I changed the time on the PDM to the local time upon arrival (or about an hour before). I was very conscious of timing of changes scheduled for my basal rate too, and checked my blood sugar a bit more often than I otherwise would. Surprisingly, and happily, my blood sugar level remained very constant and in good range during the flights and into the next days. I hadn't really traveled yet with a pump, and this made travel so much easier and better than with MDI! I was used to having spikes and instability during vacation, but not this time.
On a side note: I had brought along syringes and vials of lantus as backup to my backups. In all my years of flying (at least a few times every year for the last twenty) I've never had a special search of my bags when going thru security. If they spotted something I'd say "Type 1 diabetes. I have syringes and supplies." and they'd say "Oh, ok." and I'd move on. In the second leg going there I had to have my carryon searched and rescanned, and the boxes of pods swabbed. And of course I was already late catching my connecting flight to Dublin. And THEN, on the return flights, we were going through security again and had to do the body scan thing. This time no one noticed the pods or the syringes, but stepping out of that booth I bumped my arm on the door frame and totally dislodged my pod. I had been so careful going through crowds on the street, in the airport, carrying bags, in the car, on the previous flight, and I get to my last short leg of travel and knock the dang thing off. Thanks, O'Hare! You were nothing but trouble. Grumble...grumble.....