Flying with Diabetes: A Travel Checklist


By Diane Hwang

Whether your job has you jet setting around the world, you only travel for vacations, or somewhere in-between, if you have diabetes, you have to prepare a bit more thoroughly than others. From your meter to your testing strips, there’s a lot to think about. After all, you don’t want to be caught somewhere new without your supplies!

That’s why we crafted this checklist to make traveling with diabetes safe, easy, and fun. (Hint: bookmark this page so you can save it for your next trip!)

Things to Take when Flying with Diabetes

You know the TSA regulations about no liquids more than 3.4 ounces, but what about regulations surrounding diabetes supplies? Are there any? Do they count as medical items? What else do you need to prepare? Let’s dig in.

1)See your doctor before you go

Item number 1 on the checklist? An appointment with your doctor to ensure you’re fit for the trip. Ask questions like how your planned activities may affect your diabetes, how to adjust your insulin if you’re changing time zones, if you need extra prescriptions in case you run out, and to write you a letter stating that you have diabetes and that you need your medical supplies. (The letter will make flying with diabetes a much more smooth process.)

2)Locate pharmacies near where you’re staying

Hopefully, your doctor wrote you an extra prescription and hopefully you won’t need to use it! However, just in case, our traveling with diabetes checklist includes locating pharmacies near where you’ll be staying. This is especially important if you’re going to foreign countries where processes may differ.

3)Get a medical ID bracelet

No matter how old you are, a medical ID bracelet stating that you have diabetes (and any other health issues) can be a literal life-saver. If your blood sugar levels get out of your control for any reason, the medical professionals tending to you need to know you have diabetes.

4)Get travel insurance

Flying with diabetes is slightly riskier than flying without it. That said, travel insurance is a good idea whether or not you have this disease. Just in case you miss your flight or need medical attention, insurance will cover you.

5)Check meals ahead of time and/or pack your own

Now we’re getting to the part of the traveling with diabetes checklist that deals with food. If possible (and your flight is long enough), call your airline to see what meal options they have available. Make sure the food will work with your nutritional needs, and if not, as if you can order a meal that will. Or, make sure it’s okay for you to pack your own. (This is another place where having that doctor’s note comes in handy.)

6)Pack smart

cropped shot of man carrying two suitcases out front door

To help your flying with diabetes experience go smoothly, there are a few essential packing tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep your supplies in your carry-on bag. Consider keeping a smaller, underseat bag for your insulin, glucose tablets, and snacks.
  • Pack healthy snacks like fresh fruit, veggies, and nuts.
  • Pack twice as much medicine as you think you’ll need. Keep your supplies in the pharmaceutical bottles or get extra labels you can attach to your supplies.
  • Consider downloading a blood sugar app to connect to your monitor for effortless checks.

7)Prep for airport security

The TSA offers notification cards you can download to give the officers screening you notice about your medical supplies. This can help the security portion of flying with diabetes go much more quickly and smoothly.

Remember the 3.4 ounce rule? Good news! Diabetics are exempt for medicines, fast-acting carbs like juice, and gel packs to keep insulin cool.The last thing to mention on our traveling with diabetes checklist is that continuous glucose monitors or insulin pumps may get damaged in the X-ray machine. Simply ask for a hand inspection to be safe.

Make Health Simple with OKRA Care

Whether you’re always in an airport or don’t plan to travel anytime soon, make your health simple with OKRA Care. We have over 25 years of experience creating hospital-grade testing supplies that we’re proud to offer to you with a 100% money-back guarantee of quality.

Make flying with diabetes simple when you sign up for our subscription box! Get everything you need to manage your diabetes delivered right to your door. Enjoy free shipping and you can cancel anytime.

Questions? Get in touch with us!

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