Sharps Disposal/Storage when Travelling

I am not new to diabetes but I am to insulin.
My wife and I are going to be travelling quite a bit in the next little while and I was wondering what do you do with your sharps. I usually just stored up my lancets in the past and kept them in my shaving kit.
But, now I’m on insulin (Novo-Pen 4) and I use a new disposable needle for each injection.

Is there such a thing as a travelling sharps container?
How do you deal with customs, air crew, etc.?

I usually keep a hard plastic empty prescription bottle and put sharps in there. When I get home, I dispose of the sharps. On my last cruise, the cabin stewart actually gave me a sharps’ container for my room.

In terms of airport security, I just keep everything in my carry-on. I don’t say anything unless I’m asked. Some security agents have opened my bag and looked, and I just said I was diabetic. It really hasn’t been an issue yet. I do carry a note from my dr. on a prescription pad that says I’m diabetic and travel with insulin, needles, etc etc etc. I also have copies of my presciptions in case there is a question.

Hope this helps…Peter


Yes, there is a traveling sharps container, but I don’t know if your needle tips will fit in their hole. You may want to call a diabetes educator to find out something that can help. Also, I would call the airline(s) you may be using and ask them what their policies are regarding traveling with insulin and needles, etc.

Good luck and have fun!

Lois La Rose
Milwaukee, WI

Hi Greg,

I travel a lot for my work, and I’ve used a pelican case for a while for storage of sharps. They are a little expensive, but they are awesome, because you can put all your medicine in one and it won’t get crushed or lost in your bag. If you get two, the second one works great for the used needles. Here’s a link to where they are for sale on amazon, they come in other sizes as well.

Drrps is right as well, on the cruise they will usually give you a container if you ask. As for the airport, don’t worry about it being a problem. If you have all your stuff in a case, just let them look at it if they ask, otherwise don’t say anything. It’s legal to take all your medicine aboard, so all they can really do is make it a hassle for you. Usually you won’t have any problems at all.

You can purchase needle clippers which store the sharps inside it. They’re very small and one clipper will last a long, long time with the tiny penfill needles. Just insert the sharp end into the little hole and squeeze, then throw out the plastic part with the trash. For lancets… see discussions on reusing… most diabetics use at most one lancet a week… I try to change mine at least once a meter. The needle clipper won’t handle lancets.

Here’s a link to one:

  • Jeff

Hi Gregory,

I pump and use a symlin pen. I keep all my sharps in an empty, 20 oz. powerade bottle. It’s taking me months to fill the thing up. I would guess there are smaller, plastic bottles you could use. Anything with a screw-top lid should be fine.

Cheers, Mike

I have used a small pencil box for traveling and put my pen tips in there. Worked pretty good. Now that I pump, I still use it to put my stuff in. When I get home, I dump it in my sharps container.

I use an empty plastic 1lb coffee container, ie. folgers, etc. to put my sharps in while traveling.

On a cruise, I have been provided with a sharps container by my steward - they are made in the UK, and I haven’t been able to find that small size here in the US - wish I could. I usually use a 20 OZ empty soda bottle and travel home with it, and expty it into my home sharps container when I get home. I also use pens, and this works well for me and it is free, and kind of recycling the bottle.

Those gatorade bottles are great. They are strong, the lid stays on really well, and they have a lot of space.
If you are in the US, all of the airports I have been to have sharps containers, at least in the lady’s room. That might be an option to dispose of them before you get on the plane.

I didn’t want a sharps case at work, so I had been keeping my used syringes (re-capped) in an old glasses case (the hard, flip-top kind). Now I have the needle clippers & love them!!! So much extra space in my purse, and don’t have to pack a sharps case for weekend trips.
I use the accu-check multi-clix lancets (6 lancets per cartridge)–a little more expensive but much more convenient, and insurance covers the re-fills so I only pay a little more. Way easier to re-fill too.

What do you keep your pens in?

Lots of good ideas here! I use vitamin and pill bottles. When I used syringes, I would clip the ends off and throw the rest out.

I finally found some legit sharps containers that are small for travel. Check out the links below…


or do a google search on “Transportable sharps conatiner” to compare prices.

I was always typing in travel sharps container and was getting nowhere.

I also found


Thanks. I have been looking for a sharps container for my lancets. I do not use the “Sticker” blood-letting devices. Never have., they hurt and take too much time. I use the "Naked"lancets just once or twice, then toss the used one, with the lttile cap turned plucked back on sidewise; into the glucometer case .I dispose of them in my sharps container at home, but they can sometimes drop and litter up my purse and car…So Thanks for this suggestion…
God Bless,