Packing diabetes supplies for travel


When traveling, how much diabetes supplies you take with you?

  • just what I need
  • I pack extra supplies

0 voters


I bring double the supplies I think I’ll need. I’ve had trips where I’ve run out of or forgotten or lost everything from insulin to test strips to pump supplies, and it doesn’t make for a fun time.

I also always pack them in my carry-on luggage, and I put the non-liquid medications in a brightly-coloured (blue, in my case) kit. I once left an entire bag of pump cartridges at the security checkpoint when they took them out to inspect and they were just in a clear ZipLoc bag, so I didn’t see them.


I also pack about double the diabetes supplies I calculate I need. I don’t see much penalty in doing this as the supplies are light and relatively small. Since I use a do it yourself automated insulin dosing system that uses a pump without a warranty, I bring an extra pump and RileyLink.

I also bring my Apple laptop in case I need to rebuild my Loop app software. I actually had my Loop app get corrupted on the outbound trip and the laptop enabled me to continue to loop for that week.

All diabetes supplies and all other meds are packed in my carry-on bag.

My diabetes supplies strategy for travel is fully informed by the idea that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Murphy is no joke.


I check nothing in my luggage and carry everything with me on the plane. I’m a fan of the Frio pouches to keep things cool and they really do work! I pack more supplies than I think I need in case something gets lost, stops working, or I get stranded someplace.


I have been known to bring three times what I need! One set in my pockets, another set in the carry-on, and a third set in checked luggage.

For a while there was some TSA verbiage about having everything be in ORIGINAL PHARMACEUTICAL PACKAGING but this was never an issue for me in the US. In more remote parts of SE Asia they sometimes looked at me a little funny, I think this was more likely a cULTURAL not a legal thing?


I pack double my pump supplies, with 1 extra bottle of insulin. I’ve bought insulin on 4 different continents and while it can be a hassle, its doable everywhere. However, pump supplies are impossible to get if you don’t have them. I am prepared to go back on lantus if everything fails, but so far that hasn’t happened. There are tubes of test strips everywhere, but when I went rafting, my test kit fell in the river so it didn’t matter how many test strips I had. Luckily, you can get glucometers even more easily than insulin, although they might not be the preferred brand, they’ll get you through a tough spot. I normally spread out my supplies over mine and my husband’s suitcases and carry ons.


One thing I carry two of is insulin bottles. they are more easy to break than you might imagine (been there; done that). I may not carry double of the other diabetes supplies but I do carry more than the minimum I need for my length of stay.


When I was starting to take over my own diabetes care as a preteen there were several instances where I basically didn’t pack nearly enough supplies. So I ended up being in another state with half of what I actually needed and I learned my lesson. Always pack extra!


I also take a letter from a doctor with me stating that I must have this medicine with me and carry it with me at all times :slight_smile:


Why? I’ve never needed an Rx on my person, for any reason.


I also pack extra of everything. You just never know what might happen. A friend of mine got grounded in France when the volcano erupted and no one was flying. You just never know! And as we all know, better safe than sorry. Also don’t travel a lot but when going overseas having documentation from my doctor on prescriptions and equipment might come in handy if I run into a volcano one day. And yes everything stays with my in a carry on.


When you travel out of country. In the airports they look at things like syringes as ‘dangerous’ Don’t forget you can buy all these things syringes insulin over the counter, and if you were to inject someone who is not diabetic with insulin it could be very very fatal for that person. It could be considered dangerous. It’s easier if you have a ‘travel letter’ not an rx from a doctor to explain why you are carrying your supplies.


When travelling internationally, it’s just good sense to have a letter when travelling with supplies that most travellers don’t have. I have never needed mine, but if customs ever asked for proof that I needed to travel with the things I had, I’d rather have one than not.


I’ve been travelling internationally for nearly five decades, and I always carried that letter but never needed it. I began to wonder if it was necessary after all. Then a few years ago, going through security in a small Italian airport, something in my carry-on worried the X-ray guy, and suddenly two police officers were pointing submachine guns at me. I was sure glad I had that letter with me, and vowed to never travel without it.


I don’t travel anywhere where there are trigger-happy machine-gun toting cops :slight_smile: And how do you know if the people you must show a letter to, can read English, anyway?? I would think if you can’t make yourself understood verbally, then a letter would be similarly useless, no?


I always bring a minimum of 1 full container / pack of insulin, strips, and lancets (along with the open ones). For pump & CGM supplies, I used to bring 2 (I very rarely go on trips that are longer than about 3 days over the weekend), but now I usually bring 4. The reason I started bringing more is because it seems like the infusion sets & CGM sensors have more problems than they used to, especially the infusion sets. What I mean when I say this is that if the tape on the infusion set (the tape that is part of the infusion set, not tape that I put on) is even a little bit off-center and I don’t notice it, the tape will get stuck in the inserter, and I will be forced to use a whole new reservoir, infusion set, and more insulin. I have gotten better at recognizing when this is the case, but even if I do notice it it still means I can’t use it.


I did sort things out verbally (in Italian) – but the letter backed up what I told them and they just waved me through. Without it, though, I would probably have had to unpack everything and explain the contents one by one … and knowing the glacial pace of official proceedings in Italy, chances are I’d still be at it today! :smile:


One of the downsides of pumping is how much more space your D stuff occupies in your luggage when you carry double extras. But ya gotta do it, especially going overseas.

One side bonus of having extra everything: a few years ago our choir went on tour in England, about 40 of us all told. There is one other T1 in the group, and a few days into the trip she discovered her BG meter had gone missing–lost or left somewhere. Since I’d brought my back-up one along, I had one she could use until she was able to get a replacement one at a chemists.


I learned the hard way, I had TSA challenge me on my syringes and novalog… Fortunately I had a Diabetic Med Card in my wallet. I also have to carry a letter that I can’t walk with out shoes, because of bad feet. But they’ll take the shoes and run them anyway. I also carry my pill case thru security. If you don’t want something to come up missing don’t put it in your checked baggage


Absolutely not Dave44. That is extremely naive about the world around you. A letter is a must when traveling internationally. You will have to explain why you are carrying what you’re carrying; the letter backs up what you say and is irrefutable.