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Diabetes shouldn’t put a wrench in your travel plans. It just means that a little pre‑planning may be in order.

Having diabetes, or caring for someone who does, doesn't mean putting the brakes on traveling! From family vacations to business trips, a little planning is all that is needed to make a diabetes care routine completely portable. Here are some tips for traveling with diabetes.

Before you go

  • Visit your diabetes care teamDiabetes care teamYour diabetes care team may include a primary care doctor, a diabetes and hormone doctor (endocrinologist), a registered nurse, a diabetes educator, a dietitian, a heart doctor (cardiologist), a foot doctor (podiatrist), an eye doctor (ophthalmologist/optometrist), a kidney doctor (nephrologist), a dentist, a pharmacist, and a mental health professional. and ask for extra prescriptions, refills, etc. 
  • Pack extra syringes, insulin pens, needles, meter test strips, and other supplies, as well as a good supply of non‑perishable snacks 
  • Think about where your insulin will be stored. Is it extremely hot or cold? Not good. Check the product’s Patient Information for storage instructions. 
  • Bring your “I have diabetes” ID 
  • Traveling more than a couple of days? See your doctor to make sure your diabetes is under control 
  • Ask your diabetes care team for help with adjusting the diabetes treatment plan to different time zones and other travel‑related changes 
  • If you use a vial and syringe and travel often, you may want to ask the diabetes care team whether a prefilled disposable insulin pen could help
train over bridge

When traveling with insulin by plane or train

  • When flying, always carry diabetes medicines, insulin, and testing supplies with you in the original packaging with the original prescription labels whenever possible
  • DO NOT store supplies with luggage where they could get lost or exposed to temperatures that are too hot or too cold
  • Arrive at the airport 2 to 3 hours before your flight
  • Let airport security know that you or your travel companion has diabetes and tell them if you are carrying supplies or wearing an insulin pump before you are screened. According to the TSA, you can be screened without disconnecting from the pump. But do allow for extra time to get through security 
highway through mountains

On your way and when you get there

  • Keep well-wrapped, air-tight snack packs with both rapid-acting and slow‑acting carbs. Smart choices are packets of nuts, cheese and crackers, fruit (including raisins), and glucose tablets or hard candies that you can chew quickly
  • Check blood glucose often. A change in schedule may mean changes in the usual blood glucose patterns
  • If you're traveling abroad, prepare a list of English-speaking foreign doctors. You can contact the American Consulate, American Express, or local medical schools for doctors
  • Wear comfortable shoes and never go barefoot. Check your feet every day. Look for blisters, cuts, redness, swelling, and scratches. Get medical care at the first sign of infection or inflammation

Test your knowledge

It’s fine to fly with your diabetes supplies. Just be sure to check them in your luggage.

Correct!

Sorry, that's incorrect.

Yes, you can fly with your medication and supplies, but always take them in your carry‑on to make sure they don’t get lost or too hot or cold. The TSA has specific advice for travelers with diabetes. Before you head to the airport, check www.tsa.gov for guidance and any travel updates.

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