Traveling with Diabetes


The following special precautions should be made by the person with diabetes while traveling.

  • Extra insulin or oral agents. These should be packed as the particular medicine may not be available in other countries.
  • Insulin protection: keep all insulin in hand-carried bags to avoid temperature changes; divide insulin and other diabetes supplies between at least two different bags in case one is lost; get an insulin carrying case, or pack between layers of clothing; refrigerate upon arrival; insulin can be stored in a cold thermos.
  • Insulin prescriptions: bring prescriptions for insulin, syringes, and a glucagon emergency kit, plus a letter describing the medical condition. Include prescriptions for any other medicines that might be needed.
  • Discuss travel plans with the health care team. This may require changing the timing and amount of insulin doses. Meal times and blood testing may also change.
  • Test blood sugar levels often to judge how the new routine is affecting diabetes control.
  • Find out where and how to obtain medical care. Traveling companions need to know how to help in an emergency.
  • Carry an “I Have Diabetes” card in local language(s) of countries visited. Know appropriate phrases to use in emergencies.
  • Drink plenty of water, particularly in hot climates. Check ahead on availability of bottled water where needed.
  • Carry glucose tablets and other appropriate snack food.
  • Check with airlines for any special requirements before traveling.