I'm going on a trip over seas(study tour with my school) in about 2 months for 17 days, being newly diagnosed i have never travelled a long distance with diabetes. I will be travelling to Europe and this is the first time over seas. Im just wanting suggestions on carrying supplies which would include both short and long acting insulin pens, 2 glucose meters, and a glycogen hypo kit. My DE told me to spread the supplies between my luggage as well as ensuring that my teacher should also have one of my pens just incase my luggage gets lost. How do you pack for holidays away from home, Any suggestions would be great, also any tips on packing food in case of hypos. Thanks Adele
Here is a packing list by Diabetes UK:
personally, i would say pack extra, best about for 1.5 times the length of the trip. make sure to keep your insulin cold, best way is a FRIO cooling pack.
i would pack all diabetes stuff in your carry on, especially insulin (as they do not regulate temperatures in the lower part of the plane and insulin can freeze there.)
make sure to carry a letter by your doctor that tells security and customs people that you need this stuff to control your diabetes. maybe VoyageMD has also some info you can use.
where in europe are you going? have a nice trip!
thankyou for the advice, i think that i will invest in a trio cooling pack they sound very useful. I will be travelling in Italy, Greece, Venice and Rome.
Hi Adele! Your trip sounds great! Having diabetes sometimes makes traveling a hassle, but it won't be a big deal if you're prepared.
I agree that you should probably pack much more than you think you'll need, maybe enough of each of your supplies for a whole month. I've lost a meter in the airport, had my luggage containing all of my supplies delayed, dropped a vial of insulin and had lots of other small tragedies while traveling, so I've learned to be prepared for the worst.
I always carry ALL of my insulin and glucagon in my carry-on on the plane (the luggage compartment is not pressurized and could cause your pens to explode), as well as most of my supplies. I leave some test strips and stuff my checked bag. Once I get to my destination, I shuffle things around a bit. If I'm traveling in a place where there are a lot of pickpockets (like Rome and Greece) I'll split up my supplies once I get there so that I'll have some somewhere if my purse gets stolen or someone breaks into my bag at my hotel - I carry some with me, leave some at the hotel, and give some to someone else to carry, too.
I'd bring a lock for your bag if you're staying in a hostel or someplace like that where you may not have a private room to prevent someone from stealing your stuff (this has happened to me), and I'd also bring along copies of your prescriptions just in case you need to get more. I actually bring two copies of my prescriptions and a letter from my doctor and split them between two bags as well; maybe you could give one copy of them to your teacher.
Long-distance flights (like from Australia to the US) mess up my blood sugars quite a bit, so I have to test more often, take more insulin to correct for highs, and bring some snacks for lows. I either bring glucose tabs or candy - and you can get great candy in Italy! I also usually bring something that can stand in for a meal if I can't eat on schedule, like some protein bars. For international travel, something pre-packaged is probably better due to restrictions on bringing in fresh produce, cheese, meat and things like that.
Italy and Greece are wonderful places!
I just remembered, that if you like to carry juice as a low bloodsugar treatment, you should be allowed to take them through security, even though they are fluids. just tell them you need them for your diabetes.
like everything with diabetes, traveling just makes you think a bit more than the other people have to, but i am sure you will have a blast!
wow, thats so helpful thank you sarah, i will definitely be carrying all of my insulin in carry on, and i think ill put 1 meter in my luggage. Thanks for all the advice especially on the hotels, and putting locks on your bags i never thought of that, however i have being told about the many pickpockets.
Hi Adele -
That’s so exciting!! You’re going to LOVE it.
Definitely get a FRIO. I find it indispensable. The first few times I flew with my insulin, I found when I got back that the insulin didn’t seem to be as effective as before. So now I don’t put it through the x-Ray. It causes delays and a pretty invasive pat-down, but it’s my choice. I just ask for a hand check at security and hand over the insulin in - I find it easiest to put it all in a Frio and just hand it all over. I also take food that works for me. I take low carb tortillas and low carb foods I like, just in case I want them. If you take meats and fresh veggies/fruit, you need to eat them before you land in Europe. I always take food on the plane. We are allowed to take pretty much anything we want on the plane, including ice as long as it’s fully frozen, so I take a food I like and know for the plane ride in a soft-sided cooler. You are allowed an extra carry-on for your T1D stuff. Google TSA/diabetes and you should find the info you need. Get a note from your endo that says you need all your T1D stuff. It’s a form letter that they all have.
Prescriptions filled overseas need to be written by a doctor allowed to prescribe medicine in the country your are in. I carry prescriptions, but know you have to visit a local dr or clinic if you need to replace your insulin. Make sure your trip includes medical insurance! Yes, treatment is cheaper in Europe, but it’s not free by any means. Anyone can be hit by a bus anywhere. Check with school.
I take double everything. Stuff happens, but keep the backup pens in the Frio so they stay cool. Carry on everything!! Too much can happen. I use Smarties for lows and just pack them everywhere. Use a bag or backpack that you are comfortable with that can carry all your stuff. Make sure it closes securely so no one can just reach into it without opening it somehow. Even before this new life with T1D, my biggest issue was always comfortable, cute shoes. No flip flops, no running shoes. Make sure whatever you take is comfortable - lots of walking and lots of uneven walkways. Always have something to wear over your shoulders in case you visit churches, and avoid super short shorts. To pack less, pick a base color (brown or black) and make sure everything you take can be mixed/matched with everything. I hand wash undies, socks and shirts in the hotel sink - I bring tiny Tide packets or use the hotel soap. Just make sure you can hang it long enough to dry.
Mostly, have fun. You’re going to love it. Your parents are going to want/need to hear from you. Using your USA cellphone is very expensive. Look into alternatives - buying an inexpensive unlocked cell there might be your best option. You can share it with other students, too, and just change out the SIM card.
cool, thank you so much for the advice csb49