Traveling with Diabetes

Preparing for your trip

  • Schedule an appointment with your medical team at least 2 weeks in advance of travel
  • Obtain a travel letter stating that you have diabetes and must carry all supplies
  • Keep a record of all medications and doses (including pump settings)
  • Fill prescriptions for back up medications (pens, pen needles) and know your Lantus dose (in case of pump failure)
  • Reach out to the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) if flying
  • International travel
    • Check what types of insulin are available in the country you will be traveling in
    • Look up local pharmacies, local hospitals
    • Obtain travel medical insurance (call current insurance company)
  • Cruise ships: Obtain information about available medical support on the ship and when docking

Packing for your trip

  • Bring all medications including extra in case of travel delays. Medications should be in original labeled packaging
  • Blood glucose meter, extra test strips, ketone strips
    • Treatment for hypoglycemia including glucagon. If traveling to places with extreme temperatures, bring low treatments that will not freeze or melt (honey, glucose tabs)
  • Cool packs (Frio, PackIt)
  • Extra food

All medications and supplies should go in a carry on item, never checked!

During the trip

  • If flying, avoid x-ray scanning or body scanning of insulin pumps or continuous glucose monitors
  • On flights, consider disconnecting insulin pumps during take-off and landing
    • Always check for bubbles in tubing if there are abrupt changes in cabin pressure
  • Be aware of time zone changes and adjust doses accordingly
  • Notify a friend or family member in your travel group of your diabetes
    • Wear a medical alert ID
    • Carry emergency contact information
  • Check blood glucose more frequently, especially with change in activity levels
  • Avoid extreme temperatures for supplies (pumps, insulin, glucose meters)
  • Do not walk barefoot
  • Pump wearers: Utilize temporary basal rates as needed

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