Planning for Travel When You Have Diabetes

Closeup of arm showing medical alert bracelet.

Taking care of your diabetes means developing a routine for things like meals, exercising, and taking medicine. But sometimes this routine is disrupted when you travel. Your healthcare team can help you work out a plan to prepare for unexpected situations. The tips below can help.

When you travel

During your trip, stick to your meal and exercise plans as much as you can:

  • Wear an ID necklace or bracelet that says you have diabetes.

  • Keep your diabetes kit with you, not in your luggage.

  • Pack double the supplies you think you will need. Try not to put them all in the same bag.

  • On train, bus, or airplane trips, take a walk in the aisle at least every 2 hours.

  • Always carry a source of fast-acting sugar with you, such as glucose tablets or hard candies, but not sugar-free candy.

  • Carry extra snacks, such as crackers, cheese, or fruit, in case meals are delayed.

  • Drink plenty of water, especially when traveling by air.

  • If you’re traveling across more than two time zones, ask your healthcare provider how to adjust your medicine or insulin schedule.

  • If you are traveling by air, do not remove the prescription label from the insulin bottles and supplies. TSA security agents may want to see these to allow you to carry them through security check. Let the TSA screeners know if you are wearing an insulin pump before going through body scanners or personal screenings. 

Be prepared

Tips to being prepared while traveling:

  • Keep a diabetes kit. It should include your blood glucose meter, batteries, test strips, lancing device, fast-acting sugar, extra medicine, syringes if needed, and copies of prescriptions. Use a case designed to carry diabetes supplies. Or use a makeup case, a belt pouch, or briefcase.

  • Take your diabetes kit with you everywhere, just like you take your wallet and keys. Try to find a case for your insulin that is heat-resistant if you will be visiting a warm region. 

  • Wear a bracelet or necklace that says you have diabetes.

  • Store supplies at work as well as at home.

  • Carry your healthcare provider’s phone number with you.