Welcome to our comprehensive guide on traveling with diabetes! Travels and adventures can be a thrilling experience, but when you have diabetes, they can also bring along a lot of concerns. Whether you're taking a short business trip or embarking on a long-awaited vacation, this article will provide you with essential tips and advice to manage your diabetes effectively while on the move.

We'll cover everything from the pre-departure diabetes checklist to specific advice on carrying medications like insulin during your travels, and TSA or border regulations for flying with diabetic supplies. We'll also discuss the importance of maintaining a diabetes-friendly routine and how to adapt your diabetes management to different environments and time zones.

Let's get started and ensure your travel plans are safe, fun, and memorable, even with diabetes!

Diabetic travel cases to keep insulin, ozempic, mounjaro, trulicity cool while traveling

Related article: Does Insulin Really Need to Be Refrigerated? Essential Storage Tips Here!

Pre-Travel Checklist for Travelers with Diabetes 

Traveling with diabetes, like with any chronic health condition, requires more meticulous planning to ensure your health and safety. Before you embark on your journey, it's important to ensure you're in good health and fit for travel, have the necessary documentation to carry your diabetes medications, pack your diabetes supplies correctly, and secure a travel health insurance that covers your diabetes as a pre-existing condition. Below, we delve deeper into these essential pre-travel steps, aiming to make your trip as smooth and worry-free as possible.

Consult your doctor before departure 

Even if you don't suffer from any chronic condition, a pre-travel medical check-up is always a good idea. But for people with diabetes, whether it's type 1, type 2, or gestational diabetes, it's vital to ensure that your condition is well-managed and stable before any travel.

A comprehensive medical check-up with your doctor before departure can prevent complications that could arise while away from home. Your healthcare provider can also provide a detailed list of diabetes supplies and medications you'll need on your trip, make sure you have enough quantities for the length of your stay, refill your diabetes prescriptions, prescribe emergency drugs if necessary, and give you personalized advice on managing your diabetes while traveling. It's also a good opportunity to ask them to fill out any travel documentation and make sure your vaccines are up to date, especially if you're traveling abroad.

Related article: How To Travel With Mounjaro Pens Safely!

Diabetes travel letter and prescriptions

When traveling with diabetes domestically, it's not mandatory to carry medical documentation for your diabetic medications and supplies. However, it is crucial to ensure that all diabetes supplies and medications are clearly labeled and visible to facilitate easy access and identification during airport security screenings.

Although not required, a diabetes travel letter from your doctor listing all your medications and supplies can greatly streamline the security screening process. This letter serves as a formal explanation for your need to carry these items, potentially easing your passage through security.

You may also consider downloading and filling out a TSA Notification Card for People with Medical Conditions. While this card is not obligatory, presenting it can assist TSA agents in understanding your condition and the necessity of your medical supplies, further smoothing your security experience.

Carrying a copy of your medical prescription may also come in handy in case you lose or run out of diabetic supplies during your travel.

Travel insurance for diabetes

Having diabetes makes securing the right travel insurance not just beneficial but essential, as it can safeguard you against the financial strain of unexpected medical emergencies while traveling.

The travel insurance market offers a variety of travel insurance policies, each differing in coverage scope and terms. You need to choose a policy that explicitly covers pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes. Not all policies include pre-existing conditions, so thorough research and comparison are imperative here!!

Travel insurance for those with diabetes should encompass expenses for any medical treatments required during your trip. This includes emergency services, medication costs, and any diabetes-related care.

Always review the fine prints of the insurance policy before purchasing. Ensure that it provides adequate coverage for diabetes care and check for any exclusions or limitations that might affect you.

Related article: Travel Insurance for Type 1 Diabetes: What to Know Before Traveling!

If you're traveling with gestational diabetes

If traveling when you have gestational diabetes, make sure both your health and that of your baby are in control before departure and prepare extra documentation.

Have a comprehensive discussion with your obstetrician to assess the safety of your travel plans, particularly if you are in the later stages of pregnancy. Obtain a detailed travel letter from your healthcare provider outlining your gestational diabetes condition, dietary needs, and any medications or treatments. This is important for any required medical assistance during your travels. Bring a copy of your prenatal record and any specific instructions from your doctor regarding your gestational diabetes and pregnancy management.

Related article: Can you Fly with Gestational Diabetes? Air Travels & High-risk Pregnancies. 

Traveling with Diabetic Supplies: What to Pack! 

The reality is that traveling with diabetes involves more than just packing your bags. We all are anxious over possibly leaving something important behind or running out of diabetic supplies while away from home. To help alleviate these worries and ensure you manage your diabetes effectively while away from home, we've developed a thorough checklist for traveling with diabetes and detailed packing guidelines.

Your checklist for traveling with diabetes

Our motto is: "When in doubt, pack it!" Below is a checklist of essential diabetes supplies to bring with you when traveling with diabetes: 

  • Diabetes Medications: whether metformin pills, insulin, Ozempic, Mounjaro, Trulicity, Byetta, Victoza, or any other medications that you've been prescribed.
  • Injection Supplies: If you use insulin or other diabetes injections, make sure to bring the supplies necessary for injections, like needles, syringes, alcohol swabs, etc.
  • A medical-grade cooler bag if you use temperature-sensitive diabetes injections, like insulin, Ozempic, Mounjaro, Trulicity, Byetta, Victoza, or others.
  • Blood Glucose Monitoring Kit, including your blood glucose meter or continuous glucose monitoring system (CGMs), your lancet device, lancets, and glucose test strips.
  • Insulin Pump and Accessories: If you use an insulin pump, pack extra supplies such as batteries, infusion sets, and reservoirs. Always bring a back-up insulin pump during your travels in case your primary pump fails.
  • Emergency Glucagon Kit: If you've been prescribed one, include an emergency glucagon kit in case of severe hypoglycemia while traveling.
  • Hypo Snacks in case you have hypoglycemia during your journey.
  • Medical ID: It's also a good idea to carry a medical ID bracelet or necklace to help identify your condition in an emergency.
  • Documentation: Have prescriptions and medical documentation readily accessible, especially when traveling abroad (see above).
  • Travel Health Insurance: Ensure your health insurance card and any travel insurance documents are with you (see above).

This list may not be exhaustive, but it should give you a good idea of what diabetic supplies to pack for your travels. If you're unsure about what additional items you might need, ask your doctor for guidance. They can offer personalized advice tailored to your specific needs.

Always bring extra supplies!

Traveling with diabetes means always being prepared. Make sure to bring along extra diabetic supplies such as insulin, medications, test strips, syringes, and pump accessories. It's like packing an extra layer of security in case your flight is delayed or your journey is extended!

Don't forget to throw in some snacks and drinks too. They're great for keeping your energy up and managing your blood glucose on the go. And for those low blood sugars, stash some quick sugar fixes like glucose tablets or your favorite fruit juice. It's all about keeping your travels smooth and your health in check. So, pack a little more and travel with peace of mind!

Related article: 10 Best Diabetic Snacks for Travels and Road Trips!

How To Pack Your Diabetes Supplies for Travel

When packing your diabetes supplies for travel, always use secure, durable containers to protect fragile items like insulin vials, pens, test strips, and glucose meters from damage. If you're using insulin vials, we recommend using an insulin vial protective sleeve to prevent them from breaking in case of an accidental drop! 

Remember that insulin and other temperature-sensitive diabetes medications should be carried in insulated coolers to ensure they remain effective, especially if you're traveling to warmer climates.

Always keep your medications in their original containers with clearly visible labels, which not only facilitates TSA airport security checks but also ensures you can quickly find and use your supplies when needed. Consider investing in a diabetes-specific supply bag to keep all your diabetic supplies organized and easily accessible, especially if you're a frequent traveler. 

Related article: How to Travel with Ozempic: Travel Cases and Flying Tips!

Pack your supplies in your carry-on 

If you're flying with diabetes, always carry your diabetes supplies in your carry-on luggage rather than checked luggage to avoid exposure to extreme temperature conditions and security risks in the hold that could compromise your medication. 

Additionally, to mitigate the risk of losing your supplies, divide them between two bags. If you're traveling with a companion, split the diabetic supplies between your carry-on and theirs. This strategy ensures that if one bag is lost or stolen, you still have access to necessary supplies. It is also crucial to always have a backup of critical supplies like insulin and medications, in case of travel delays or unexpected extensions of your trip. 

If You're Traveling with Insulin or Other Diabetes Injectable Medications

When traveling with diabetes injections, such as insulin, Ozempic, Mounjaro, Trulicity, Byetta, Victoza, and others, it's very important to maintain the right storage temperature to preserve their efficacy. These medications must be transported carefully and kept cold or refrigerated during your travels.

Related article: How to Travel With Insulin That Needs Refrigeration or Cooling!

Choose a reliable diabetes travel cooler 

All diabetes injections are temperature-sensitive. They require refrigeration before use and must be kept cool below 77°F (25°C) once opened. So, if you're traveling in warmer climates, you must carry them in a cooling case that can maintain them refrigerated if unopened and cool if opened. 

Medical travel coolers from 4AllFamily are designed specifically for this purpose. They can keep insulin and other diabetes medications like Ozempic, Mounjaro, Victoza, and Trulicity cool or even refrigerated for several days of travel!

These coolers either work with freeze packs (no electricity required) or USB power if you have a portable power bank, car cigarette lighter, or any other access to electricity. Our new Chiller Cooling Bags even work without electricity or freezer. All our diabetes cooling cases are TSA-approved for air travel!


4AllFamily insulin coolers for traveling with diabetes


More Tips for Keeping your Insulin and Meds Cool While Traveling

Besides using a medical-grade cooler, here are a few more tips to keep your diabetes medications cool while traveling:

  • Always keep your medications in the shade and out of direct sunlight.
  • Avoid leaving your medications in a car. Temperatures can soar inside parked vehicles, which can quickly degrade your insulin and other injectables.
  • Carry only the essential medications with you daily, like your in-use injector pens, and leave the rest securely stored in your accommodation.
  • Refrigerate your medications when possible, like in a mini-fridge from your hotel room for example.
4AllFamily Travel cases for diabetes injections, insulin, Ozempic, Mounjaro, Trulicity, Victoza, Byetta, etc


Related article: How to Travel with Mounjaro: Safety Tips & Travel Cases.

If You're Flying With Diabetes

Understanding airport security rules when you're flying with diabetes is quite important. Although there's nothing complicated about it and most diabetic supplies are allowed on the plane, here's a focus on what to expect and how to prepare when flying with diabetes.

Related article: How to Take Insulin on a Plane: TSA Regulations & Insulin Coolers.

TSA and diabetes supplies

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has specific guidelines for passengers traveling with diabetes or medical supplies.

  • Needles and Syringes: Passengers are allowed to carry needles and syringes in their carry-on luggage as long as they are accompanied by the medication that requires injection. Used needles and syringes should be carried in sharps containers. 
  • Liquid Medications: The TSA allows larger amounts of medically necessary liquids, gels, and aerosols in reasonable quantities for your trip, but you must declare these to the security officers at the checkpoint for inspection. This includes insulin and other injections, like Ozempic, Mounjaro, Trulicity, Victoza, or Byetta.
  • Screening Process: Diabetes supplies and equipment are typically screened by X-ray. However, you have the right to request a visual inspection instead, to avoid potential damage from X-ray screening, especially in the case of insulin pumps or CGMs (see below).

Flying with insulin pumps 

Taking the plane with insulin pumps and Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGMs) requires additional considerations: 

  • Insulin Pumps at Airport. The sensitivity of insulin pumps to X-ray screening and full-body scanners can differ based on the manufacturer's guidance. Several insulin pump manufacturers recommend against exposing their devices to the high-energy X-rays found in some airport full-body scanners due to potential damage or malfunction. When at the airport security checkpoint, inform the TSA officer that you are wearing an insulin pump and request a manual inspection as an alternative to passing through the body scanner or sending the pump through the X-ray machine.
  • CGMs at Airport. Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGMs) can typically go through airport scanners. However, it is crucial to check the guidelines provided by your CGM manufacturer concerning exposure X-rays. If your CGM manufacturer recommends avoiding a specific scanner, you can request a manual inspection of your device at the airport.

Related article: Can Insulin Pumps go Through X-ray machines and Metal Detectors at the Airport?

More Tips For Traveling With Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes

Now, besides all the travel and packing details above, here come a few more tips to help you manage your diabetes and blood sugars while traveling:

  • Regularly Check Your Blood Sugar

Keep a close eye on your blood sugar levels by checking them every few hours. It's a simple way to stay on top of your health and adjust your activities or meals as needed. 

  • Snack Smart

Pack a variety of quick and easy snacks to combat low blood sugar levels on the move. Things like glucose tablets, fruit, or small snack bars can be lifesavers when you're out and about. 

  • Stick to Your Routine

Wherever you are in the world, try to keep to your usual meal times and medication schedule. Familiar routines help keep your blood sugars in check.

  • Dress Comfortably

Comfort is key when traveling. Wear loose clothing and comfy shoes to help improve circulation and keep you relaxed, especially if you suffer from diabetic neuropathy.

  • Wear a Medical ID 

A medical ID is essential, especially for people with type 1 diabetes that are prone to severe hypoglycemia. It lets people know about your diabetes in case of an emergency, ensuring you get the right help quickly. 

  • Choose Your Accommodations Wisely

When on holiday, maybe opt for places to stay that have a kitchen. This way, you can whip up your own meals, which is not only healthier but also keeps your meal routine consistent. 

  • Be Mindful of Meal Planning

When eating out, look for restaurants that offer dietary options suitable for your needs. Planning your meals ahead can help you make better food choices and maintain stable blood sugar levels. 

  • Take Time to Relax 

Don't forget to schedule some downtime. Relaxing can help reduce stress levels, which in turn can help manage your blood glucose better. Whether it's reading a book, meditating, or just sitting quietly, find time to unwind. 

  • Stay Active

Traveling is a fantastic chance to engage in physical activities that may not be part of your daily routine. Whether it's walking through new cities, hiking scenic trails, or swimming at the beach, these activities are great for lowering your blood sugar levels.

  • Plan for Time Zone Changes

If you're crossing time zones, it's important to discuss adjusting your insulin injections schedule with your doctor before you depart.

  • Seek Destination-Specific Advice

Before traveling, consider reaching out to local diabetes organizations or resources in your destination for specific advice and support. They can offer valuable information on where to find medical facilities, how to access emergency diabetes supplies, and even tips on local foods that fit your dietary needs.

  • Ask for Help

Remember, you're not alone traveling with diabetes! People are generally eager to help, so if you find yourself needing recommendations on where to dine with dietary restrictions, locating medical services, or even assistance with translations at a pharmacy, don't hesitate to ask local staff or residents!

Related article: Camping with Diabetes supplies, Insulin Coolers & Healthy Camping Foods.

We'd Love to Hear From You!

Do you have any tips or stories about traveling with diabetes? Or maybe you have questions? Share your experiences and queries in the comments below. Let's build a supportive community where we can learn from each other and make traveling with diabetes easier for everyone! 

Article Last Updated on May 23, 2024

June 04, 2022


4AllFamily Customer Care Team said:

Hi Geoffrey,
Thank you for your insight. Stickers are a good idea indeed, we’ll let you know if we manage to put that into place.
All the best,
4AllFamily Customer Care Team

Geoffrey Osborn said:

Labelling insulin cooler. It would be helpful if you offered plastic coated labels to stick on the Insulin cooler. I plastic coated the instructions from my 4All FAMILY MEDICINE COOLER and stuck it on the flask so reduce the need to open the flask. Please come up with some big colourful stickers , I will buy a pack.
A customer in Bangkok.

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The information presented in this article and its comment section is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a replacement for professional medical advice. Always consult with a qualified healthcare provider for any medical concerns or questions you may have.