New Travel Guides Designed By and For Persons with Diabetes
A travel enthusiast discusses the business she created to make international travel more practical for those with T1D.
My name is Laura. I’m a French 29-year-old travel addict. I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when I came back from a big travel in South East Asia in 2015. By that time in my life, I had already visited 20+ countries and planned to keep on doing so my whole life. What a shock when the diagnosis came.
One of the first questions I asked the doctors on my hospital bed in Paris was if I would still be able to travel as much as I’d like. Picture my face when they told me that it was not so advisable to travel—at least not alone and not in “unstable” countries. Did I have to rethink my whole life and find something else to do and be excited about? I certainly refused to accept that idea.
Two months after the diagnosis, I went to Georgia with my friend and my backpack. I wanted to see what it would be like to travel to an unknown country with my new condition. Before departure, I looked for a lot of information on the web about how to manage my diabetes in Georgia. I remember writing an email to the national Georgian Diabetes Organization to ask them about where to find insulin, what to eat over there, and a few more questions. But no one had been able to provide me with valuable, concrete information about that specific country.
And then I realized that It was the same for any country. The web is full of general tips and information for travelling with diabetes. But no one is really telling you what to eat in Indonesia, how to see a doctor in Mexico, or where to find your insulin in Italy. The month I spent in Georgia gave me time to think about that and to learn how to travel with diabetes. And by the time I got back to France, I came to three clear conclusions:
1. Diabetes poses no barrier to travel.
2. The condition only requires a bit of preplanning and organization.
3. I would seize that opportunity and create what I could to help others: travel guides specially designed for people with diabetes.
And that’s how the Sweet Trip project was born!
I quit my job as a Human Rights Lawyer and jumped into this exciting new adventure with my boyfriend, our laptops, and our backpacks. One year later, Sweet Trip is here and our first travel guides are now published and available for anyone who needs them!
So, what exactly is inside the travel guides we’ve created? We try to provide the most valuable and precise country-specific information to anyone who’s traveling with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Our guides are organized into three different chapters:
LOCAL TRADITIONAL FOOD, CARBS AND NUTRITION:
We encourage any traveller to discover traditional food and explore local gastronomy by ranking the most typical dishes, desserts, and drinks, using a special “carbometer.” It gives you an idea about the most diabetes-friendly dishes you can find at your destination and how to balance your local meals in the best and tastiest manner. We provide tips, nutritional info, and local vocabulary to order and eat what you like. We also include healthy restaurants and, of course, plenty of curious cultural facts and tantalizing pictures.
MEDICAL AND HEALTHCARE SYSTEM INFORMATION:
In this chapter, we focus on providing you with all the necessary information at hand to quickly deal with the slightest diabetes-related medical mishap during your stay. You’ll find everything about local medical services, diabetology, pharmacies, and laboratories. And it comes with plenty of useful addresses, a medical dictionary to help you communicate with medical staff, and local support and tips to travel in that specific destination with diabetes.
ACTIVE TOURISM TO KEEP LOWERING YOUR BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS WHILE ON HOLIDAY:
Here, we’re taking you on walking and cycling discovery tours of your destination. Staying fit and exercising, even on holidays, is probably the best way to manage your diabetes. And what better opportunity to exercise than discovering a new city? Plenty of walking and cycling itineraries (from 30 min to a full day) will take you to the most interesting sites. The pages are illustrated with detailed maps, data sheets, and large-scale pictures. This chapter is also full of compelling cultural facts that you won’t find in regular travel guides!
All of our guides are downloadable on our website: www.sweettrip.org in both PDF and EPUB format (compatible with any of your devices). Paper versions will be available soon. If your next holiday destination is not yet available, don’t hesitate to send us an email and ask for your destination of choice: we’ll cover it if demand is high!
As a reader of Insulin Nation, you’re entitled to a 25% discount on any of our guides. You simply need to use the discount code INSULINNATION when checking out (the offer is valid until August 31st 2018)
Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SweetTripTravelsDiabetes/