Travel

Planning a trip? Whether you are camping or studying abroad, we are here to help you plan ahead to manage diabetes along the way. There are a variety of factors to consider when making your plans.

Get ready for your vacation or road trip with our guide to traveling with T1D.

 

Frequently asked questions

What are some general tips as I prepare to travel?


The most important part of traveling with type 1 diabetes is planning ahead to avoid complications. For more information on air travel, you can read through the American Diabetes Association's Air Travel & Diabetes Fact Sheet on the Forms & Handouts page which will answer many questions you may have. Learn more about traveling with diabetes by clicking here.




What supplies do I need to bring with me on vacation?


A good rule of thumb for T1D patients is to pack at least twice as much medication and blood-testing supplies as you think you will need. If you are traveling by plane, pack these supplies in your carry-on bag so that your medication is always with you (checked luggage can get lost). Keep in mind if you are traveling by plane that you will need to bring a letter from your doctor to explain special accommodations and a prescription in case of emergency. However you're traveling, keep this "carry-on" bag with you at all times. Pack this bag with:

  • All the insulin and syringes you will need for the trip (if you are on a pump, bring insulin in case the pump breaks)
  • Blood and urine testing supplies (include extra batteries for your glucose meter)
  • Any oral medications (an extra supply is a good idea)
  • Glucagon
  • Your ID and diabetes identity card
  • A well-wrapped, air-tight snack pack of crackers or cheese, peanut butter, fruit, a juice box, and some form of sugar (hard candy or glucose tablets) to treat low blood glucose
Talk about your trip with the diabetes care team so they can help you prepare accordingly. Learn more about traveling with diabetes by clicking here.




How do I get supplies in another country?


Prescription laws can be very different in other countries. If you're planning on leaving the country, conduct some research about the laws of the country you'll be going to. You may want to get a list of English-speaking foreign doctors from the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers (IAMAT). IAMAT can be reached at 716-754 4883. If an emergency occurs while you're traveling and you don't have such a list, contact the American Consulate, American Express, or local medical schools for a list of doctors. No matter where you go, you should wear a medical ID bracelet or necklace that shows you have diabetes. If you're leaving the country, it is helpful to learn how to say "I have diabetes" and "sugar or orange juice, please" in the languages of the countries you'll visit. Learn more about traveling with diabetes by clicking here.




How do I get supplies through the airport?


TSA specifically states that diabetes-related supplies, equipment, and medication are allowed through security once they have been properly screened and inspected. You should declare these items and separate them from other belongings before screening begins. You should have obtained a letter from your doctor to aid in this process. When utilizing air travel, TSA Cares offers free passenger support assistance for people with disabilities to navigate airport screening. Contact TSA 72 hours in advance to arrange for assistance. Details are available here. If you are on an insulin pump, you can be screened without disconnecting from it. It is important that you inform the TSA agent of the pump before the screening process begins. Learn more about traveling with diabetes by clicking here.




Does my dosing information change during travel?


Extended travel time in a car or plane can alter your dosing slightly because of inactivity. Elevation in a plane can also interfere with an insulin pump's ability to deliver insulin. Keep your supplies accessible so you can monitor your blood glucose if you are unsure. Remember to store your insulin correctly - Cars and other outdoor modes of transport can get quite hot and cause your insulin to spoil or lose its effectiveness. If you are traveling through time zones, talk to your doctor or diabetes educator before your trip. Bring your flight schedule and information on time zone changes and they can help you plan the timing of your injections while you travel. Learn more about traveling with diabetes by clicking here.





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