Travelling with Diabetes

We share some travel tips from Diabetes Victoria.

Careful planning before travelling is essential when you have diabetes. There are several things to consider before you go, including your diabetes management and general health, what to pack, travel insurance, available food choices and any special requirements for flying.

Whether you are travelling by plane, train, boat or car, within Australia or overseas, plan early to make sure you have everything ready before you go.

Preparing for your trip

Talk to your doctor or credentialled diabetes educator about your travel plans well ahead of your trip.

  • Your medical conditions
  • Your diabetes medications (including dosage and how often you take them)
  • Devices you use for diabetes (such as a blood glucose meter, lancet, insulin pen/ syringes, continuous glucose monitor or insulin pump)
  • The importance of carrying your medications with you at all times
  • That if you are at risk of low blood glucose levels (hypoglycaemia or a hypo), you need to carry hypo treatment with you at all times
  • That your insulin pump or continuous glucose monitor (if you use one) must not be removed (even when going through airport security)
  • Any other medications you take.

If you are travelling overseas, think about whether the letter needs to be translated into the primary language of your destination country. Take several copies of this letter or have it available on an electronic device (such as a smartphone or tablet). Present it at security checkpoints or medical services, if necessary.

Discuss your sick-day management plan with your doctor and credentialled diabetes educator. Put together a sick-day management kit before travelling, and make sure you pack it in your carry-on luggage.

If you are going away for an extended period of time, talk to your credentialled diabetes educator about your National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) allowance for supplies. Check that your medications and supplies (such as blood glucose monitoring strips) won’t go out of date while you are away. Make sure you have enough supplies to last the entire trip, because purchasing these overseas can be costly.

What to pack

  • Letter from your doctor
  • Prescriptions for all current medications
  • Sick day action plan & management kit
  • Your NDSS card (to prove you have diabetes)
  • Insulin, in a cool pack (do not freeze). It is recommended to take double the amount of insulin you would normally need for the length of your trip.
  • Insulin pens or syringes & needles to last for the whole trip (plus extras)
  • Insulin pump (if you use one) plus spare batteries & consumables (inserters, lines & alcohol wipes)
  • Spare blood glucose meter & spare batteries
  • Extra lancets & spare lancing device (finger- pricker)
  • In-date urine or blood ketone strips, if you use them (including extras)
  • Basic first aid kit, including bandaids, antiseptic and thermometer
  • Travel-size sharps container with lid
  • Carbohydrate snacks, such as plain biscuits, crackers or dried fruit
  • Easily absorbed hypo treatment, such as glucose tablets or jellybeans (if needed). Check with airlines about taking liquids on the plane if you plan to use a liquid hypo treatment
  • Continuous glucose monitor (if you use one) & consumables.
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