Diabetes & Travel

Diabetes & Travel

Diabetes & Travel


If you are diabetic and planning a trip there are things you must do to ensure a safe a trouble free trip. The most important thing to do is to prepare for your trip properly

Before you leave

  • See your doctor at least 4-6 weeks before leaving. Make sure your diabetes is under control. If not you have time to get stabilized
  • -Make sure you get all your immunization shots early, just in case they make you sick.
  • Purchase a medical identification piece of jewelry if you don’t have one that states you have diabetes. Wear it at all times, especially when you travel.
  • Get a list of your current medications and carry it with you at all times.
  • Get a letter from your Doctor stating what type of diabetes you have? Also what medications you are on and how to use them properly. Also get an extra prescription for all your insulin medications if you are on it. Keep these with you, so they don’t get lost in your luggage.

What to do when you leave

  • Keep all your supplies in your carry on luggage. You can’t take the chance of it being lost in your luggage.
  • A good idea is to inform your method of transportation that you are diabetic. In most cases they will provide special meals for you, and will know what to do if you have a hypoglycemic attack.
  • Carry a sugar source to take in case you develop hypoglycemia.
  • Another good idea is to take twice as many supplies as you need. Put half in your carry on and half in your luggage.
  • If you are traveling with someone, they can carry some of your supplies.
  • Remember to allow for time zones. Take your medication or insulin according to your schedule and not the time. Check with your doctor for special instructions.
  • If you have to take insulin during your flight, take it as usual, but only use half the air in the syringe bottle as the air pressure is different. Keep your insulin at room temperature. You can get travel packs to keep it cool.
  • Make sure to test your blood often as all the changes can affect your blood glucose readings.
  • Carry snacks for in between meals to be sure you keep your blood sugar at a stable level.
  • If you take insulin make sure you also carry a glucagons kit for emergencies.

Things to know if you fly

  • It is most important to carry your supplies in your carry on luggage, so they can’t be lost
  • Make sure all your supplies are properly marked with the original pharmacy labels, and that these labels match the name on your ticket. The FAA requires this.
  • Tell all security that you are diabetic and are carrying diabetic supplies. They can be taken through security checkpoints as long as they are properly labeled.
  • If you wear an insulin pump you must notify security as it will set off metal detectors. Also you must ask that the pump not be removed. A good idea is to let the airline know in advance that you wear an insulin pump, so they can accommodate you better.
  • Special Requirements due to new travel regulations
  • Due to new travel regulations diabetics should be aware of a few things.
  • All supplies are allowed through security, but you must tell security in advance you are a diabetic. Also all supplies must be properly marked.
  • Any supplies that are used to treat hypoglycemia, and are more than 3 ounces need to be declared to security.


You can request the option of having a visual inspection of your supplies. This avoids the x-ray machine. All the previous points must be adhered to as far as labeling and informing security you desire a visual inspection. To find out more contact the “Transportation Security Administration” (T.S.A.) with your questions.

Special Precautions

If while you are traveling an emergency occurs contact your consulate, the Red Cross, or a local medical school for assistance. Or find out before you leave the names of foreign doctors who speak English.

  • Prescription laws differ in different countries. Insulin comes in different strengths and using the wrong syringe could result in taking the wrong dosage of insulin. Contact http://www.idf.org/ for more information.
  • Remember to take care of your feet when you travel. Never go barefoot in the shower or pool. Also bring extra shoes to prevent blisters and sore feet.
  • Follow your daily foot care regimen, and never wear open toed shoes for protection.
  • If you travel by car, be careful where you keep your insulin. Try to keep it cool. And bring extra food to eat between rest stops.


All in all, if you take proper precautions, you should have a safe worry free trip, even with diabetes.