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.