Insulin and hotel mini bars (fridge)

I learned a really important thing on my last business trip. Recently while making a hotel reservation at a large national chain, I asked the reservationist if the room had a mini bar /fridge as I needed to store insulin. She gave me some really important information. She informed me that in large hotels the mini bars are often hard wired to turn off at night to conserve energy - and as such not such a good place to store medication that needs to remain at a constant temp. Realistically it’s only 8 hours hanging out with chilled beer and would probably be OK- but for med’s that MUST be kept at a constant temp this is really good to know! I never new that! As I travel a lot- that info is invaluable to me and wanted to pass it allong to you all.
BTW- she also told me that if it’s for medical reasons the hotel (Omni) will provide a regualr mini fridge at no cost- it was there and waiting in my room when I arrived. Thank you Omni!

Whenever I will be staying at a hotel, I ask for a separate mini fridge - and if they tell me there will be a fee, I just let them know it’s a medical necessity and they waive said fee. The only place that ever put up a fight was the Royal Palm in Orlando FL…once I mentioned the Americans with Disabilities Act and the American Diabetes Association, they changed their tune, but I hated that I had to even bring that up (I don’t consider my diabetes a disability).

Interesting…would seem like a bigger waste of energy to shut off at night since it can take several hours to bring a fridge back up to temperature.

I’ve had some really bad hotel fridges over the years. That’s why I put my insulin into the cruise ship’s master fridge.

Ooops, you can’t win.

I have never encountered a fridge that is hard wired to shut off but have had problems with mini fridges. Mostly that they are too cold. I learned this by accident when I placed a softdrink in the fridge and it froze overnight. I’m on insulin now but at the time I was taking Byetta which like insulin is ruined when it is frozen. Luckly it was an almost empty pen and the loss was small. I have learned to check the thermostat on mini fridges, it seems that a lot of people will turn them way down because they like their drinks really cold. Maybe this habit is the reason some hotels hard wire them to turn off. I usually leave my insulin in a travel cooler until I’m sure it won’t come out of the fridge frozen. I usually only refrigerate my future supplies and the pens I am currently using are left at room temperature.

I had never heard of fridges being turned off at night - but I guess that is a good idea to save energy, but then if you are diabetic and need to keep insulin cool, then you are stuffed!

I had insulin in my hotel bar/fridge and cold water etc because where I was was absolutely boiling. I obviously had to remove the alcoholic drinks from the fridge, but when replacing them at the end of the stay I was unaware that there was going to be a problem. We had been trying to pay our bill and were walking out of the hotel when someone ran up behind us and called us back and tried to charge me some extortionate sum because of all the drinks that I had had! Well, I do not drink, so … turns out that I had put the drinks back into the fridge at the end of the stay in the wrong order!

Your best bet would be to invest in a couple of frio-wallets, but it is good that the hotel provided an ordinary mini fridge.

I agree that the mini fridges can be too cold. Insulin is also ruined by freezing.

I use to work in hotels for a couple of years awhile back, now I have never heard of automatic shut off but maybe thats a new thing…Anytime you say you need anything for medical reasons they will accomodate or send you to the next place that can…

As a rule you should ALWAYS confirm with the front desk of any special needs, reservations does just that and sometimes messages are not passed along…

I always keep my insulin in a thermal pack (to minimize temperature fluctuations in general) and place the entire pack into the fridge when I’m traveling, not just the pen or vial.

This should, I hope, protect against power outages or too-low thermostats, at least for a while.

My current plan for traveling with insulin on hot days (e.g. for my one-hour commute) is to sandwich the insulated pack between two pre-refrigerated blue-gel packs (the squishy kind designed for wrapping around a knee or elbow post work-out) and slip the entire sandwich into a plastic bag. I then take the plastic bag and slip it into the bottom of my insulated day-pack. The insulin pen is always cool to the touch at the other end, but never frozen because the gel packs are refrigerated, not frozen.

So far this is working OK, but I might need to punt if I was, for example, traveling somewhere into the heat wave back east.

Wow, thanks for sharing. I had no idea. I generally avoid putting my insulin in hotel refrigerators, unless the room is really hot. I use the Frio packs and they work fairly well at keeping insulin cool outside of a refrigerator.

How about putting it in a bucket of ice? Change the ice each day you are there. With pop or water in the bucket, it will stay cold for over 24 hrs. Keep the bucket in the bathroom sink for easy water removal.

Just make sure that the maid doesn’t throw out your insulin because it looks like trash…

/been there