Travel kits for insulin

We’re going to China this summer and I need to figure out the best way of transporting my son’s insulin. I’ve used Frio packs before (when we went to Costa Rica and other plane trips) and I wasn’t pleased with them. This time the total travel time (from the moment we leave our house, travel to airport, layover, and get to the hotel) will be about 24 hours.

So, please share your experiences and best advice! Thanks!

If all you’re taking with you is current insulin then I think John is right, just no direct sun of high temps. I just got a frio pack but haven’t used it yet, what didn’t you like? If youre going to be gone long and need to take extra insulin you can try a tiny cooler with an ice pack?? Maybe try and find a soft sided one. I used to have a small styrofoam box with areas for two pens. It worked quite well and was very basic. You could possibly make something like that if you’re handy!

I was going to suggest the FRIO packs. I have traveled a lot with them and had good experiences (and like the fact that I don’t have to find a freezer/fridge on the trip). They don’t keep they as cool as a fridge, but they are cool enough for the insulin. Sorry to hear that you didn’t like them.

There are also freezer packs, but then you need to be careful that the insulin doesn’t freeze (that is as dangerous as extreme heat).

If your trip is less than one month, then the others are right that you can just keep the insulin away from direct sunlight and extreme heat, but I guess it will be hot in China.

Okay. Packs. (#1.) check out the pharmacy section of your local CVS, Long’s, RIteAid, etc. ASK THE PHARMACIST for something appropriate if what is on the shelf is not acceptable. (#2.) Once the insulin and syringes are packed in such a container, put it in a brown paper lunch bag with name on it and ask the Flight attendant(s) to put it in the refrigerator. That’s the best. At this time, I am disappointed to share that I still have not found a cooling kit to fit my Apidra bottles. I make due with Ziploc bags and a freezer bar.
In a book called “My Diabetic Soul,” the author shares some VERY interesting circumstances about traveling with insulin, nevermind a baby and luggage. Phew! GOOD LUCK!
P. S. Remember to pack a doctor’s letter with this medical equipment along with prescriptions.

I’ve also used the Frio packs and have had no problems with them. I did a 2-week driving tour in California in the summer…and my insulin was fine in the Frio in the car, despite the extremely hot temperatures. In fact, the only time I had a problem on that trip was when I stupidly decided to use the room refrigerator in our L.A. hotel, which froze my insulin in less than 2 hours! Luckily I had just changed my pump and we were flying home the next day.

I’m going on a 2 1/2 week trip which will involve flying, cruising to various European ports, then staying in Rome in a hotel and flying home from there. I bought a new Frio that holds up to three vials of insulin so I can have plenty of backup.


I’ve used FRIO on car trips where the car got extremely hot and the insulin started to go bad (we had to up his boluses and basals because the insulin clearly wasn’t working as well). After a dozen or so uses I notice my FRIO packs don’t reactivate. You also need to make sure your FRIO pack does get good air circulation (not packed away too tightly in a carry-on). They didn’t work too well for me in Costa Rica as it’s extremely humid and FRIO works better in dry climates. Parts of China are extremely humid but we’re staying in hotels, not like the bungalows in Costa Rica, whose air conditioning and climate control was not like a regular hotel, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

Appreciate the replies!

thanks! I’ll have to check out that book. That reminds me - an old friend is a diabetic and a pharmacist - I should look her up.

I have traveled quite frequently with my insulin and I do not use a special carrier. You just need to keep it cool. I have used a beaded eye cover (I dont know the correct name for it but you keep it in the freezer and then you put it on your eyes at night) this works well because it is beads and not gel and sometimes TSA gets carried away with “under 3 oz” rule and typically gels are not allowed so most freezer packs wont work. I also have brought a small cup with a lid (like a sippie cup) and then once I got on the plane I asked the flight attendant to please fill it half way with water. I put my insulin in a zip lock bag and then placed it in the cup. That seemed to keep it really cool and if I really got worried about it I would ask for one ice cube and put it in there. I have never had a problem with the insulin going bad. Have a safe trip!!

I just came back from a plane trip, true it wasn’t as long as your son’s will be. I do fly from the east coast to the west coast several times a year. I put all my insulin,both opened vials and unopened vials in a thermal lunch bag. It is square. about the size of a six-pack. I even put a sandwich or 2 in there also. The TSA usually opens it, but never bother the contents. I include a zip-loc bag ( empty) and when I get on the plane I ask the flight attendants for some Ice which they put into the zip-loc bag. The ice can be changed when it melts ( just pour the water down the drain in the lavatory.