Tips for Traveling with Diabetes

Posted by Shannon on Nov 17th 2022

NOV 17, 2022

Tips for Traveling with Diabetes

Traveling is something that most people can’t avoid, and many don’t want to. Whether you are planning for a summer vacation, going to visit the family for Thanksgiving, or traveling for business traveling with diabetes can easily make your plans more difficult. But, with some careful planning, you can still have an enjoyable or successful travel experience. The following tips provide advice for how to travel with diabetes.

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Visit your doctor before you go. Depending on where you are going and the amount or kind of travel it will take to get there, your doctor may want to adjust your insulin to better regulate your diabetes. You’ll want to talk to the doctor about all your planned activities, etc., so he or she can offer advice on how to manage your diabetes and still enjoy your trip. He or she can also provide you a letter stating that you have diabetes that can be kept with your medical supplies. It may help if there is ever any question about traveling with diabetic supplies. It may also be a good idea to have a prescription on hand in case you need to pick up some additional medications while away.

Controlling Glucose

It’s important to maintain your glucose levels while you travel, which means you’ll have to travel with diabetic supplies. Make a pack of snacks that will help you control your glucose level. Make sure you can access it easily or that someone else could easily get to it. Bring your glucose monitors and pack them close to your snacks. If you’re flying, you can order a special meal that fits within your eating plan.

It can be easy to forget to take your meds when you are having fun and totally outside of your normal environment or even time zone. But, it’s important not to forget to take them. Use the alarm feature on your smart phone to remind you not to miss your scheduled dosages. This is especially useful when traveling across time zones.

If you’re going to be in more than one time zone, plan your snacks and monitoring accordingly. Also, ensure that you’ve accounted for time zone changes when taking medications or monitoring glucose levels.

If you are doing things outside your norm, you’ll want to check your blood sugar more often. Several factors can change how your body uses insulin, such as more physical activity than normal and higher or lower temperatures than you’re used to.

During many trips there is a tendency to drink. But, drinking too much can not only inhibit your awareness and abilities, but it can also affect your blood sugar.

Insurance and Medical Documentation

No one wants to have a visit to a doctor or emergency room while out of town, but it’s best to be prepared in case it does happen. With the proper cards and documentation, you can better focus on getting the treatment you need, instead of insurance red tape.

You many also want to travel with a medical alert bracelet can help to notify medical professionals in the event of an emergency. It should detail that you are diabetic and whether or not you’re insulin dependent. You can also include a doctor’s or loved one’s phone number.

Inform TSA agents, flight attendants or any other officials of your health conditions. They’ll be more likely to be helpful and also to watch for changes in your condition.


How do diabetics travel with insulin? Pack your insulin or other temperature-controlled medications so that it’s kept cool until reaching your destination. You can use a wide-mouthed, insulated, non-breakable bottle or thermos to help keep your medications cool. Fill the bottle ice or cold water before hand to cool it. Then empty the bottle, dry it, and place your medications inside.

Many diabetics may be concerned with how to travel with diabetic needles. TSA does allow you to carry your diabetic supplies on an airplane, but it might be helpful to make sure they are clearly marked as diabetic supplies and includes prescription labels.

Carry all medications and any other necessities in your carry-on bag. Just in case your luggage is misplaced, you won’t want to be without your necessities.

Insulin Pumps and Flying

If going through airport security, let them know you’re wearing a glucose monitor or insulin pump. You can ask for a hand inspection, too, to prevent potential damage from the X-ray machines to the instruments. You may want to disconnect your pump during landing and take off to prevent it from delivering too much insulin due to the change in air pressure. Altitude can cause air bubbles, as well, so be sure to check for those.

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What to Wear

Comfortable clothing will make you comfortable all around, especially if it will be awhile before you can change. Wearing SmartKnit Seamless Socks will help keep your feet from getting irritated, especially if doing a lot of walking through airports.

It’s important to get up to walk every now and then while travelling, which can make a difference when it comes to blood clots and deep vein thrombosis. Walk up and down the aisles every once in a while when you’re flying, or stop and get out every so often while driving. If your doctor okays it, you can also wear some compression travel socks to help with this.

Travel with diabetes can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to prevent you from going. Plan ahead and carefully, and you should be able to enjoy your trip without too much hiccup.

This article should not be used in place of advice from a medical doctor or occupational therapist.

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