Air Travel w/ Diabetes (from U.S. to other countries)

Hey everyone,

So, over spring break I will be going on the vacation of my life, which I am so excited about :) But, I have some D-related questions about air travel in general and traveling out of the country. The last time I traveled by air was in November 2008, from Maryland to North Carolina. I have never traveled by air out of the country before, which I will be doing 5 weeks from now.

Has anything changed about flying in general with diabetes in the last one and a half years? I know the basics of packing-- I'm a seasoned long-trip traveler by car-- like, I always pack 2x as much of everything and always bring Lantus and syringes for backup in case my pump fails. The last time I flew was the first time I flew with diabetes, and everything ran smoothly. I brought a letter from my CDE stating I was diabetic, etc. in case I was questioned. But I only had carry-on bags for that trip (it was a short trip) so I could keep all my supplies with me. Any suggestions for packing diabetes supplies when you're going to have to check luggage? Should I put supplies in carry-ons or suitcases, and should they be in just a gallon zip-lock bag inside the carry-on bag/suitcase?

I don't know if flying out of the country will matter... any thoughts on that? Should I just follow what I would do for air travel inside the U.S.?



I travel to India almost every single year, and it does get complicated with switching over times and all of that, because of eating at different times etc. but my doctor helps me figure all of that out. As for carrying your supplies, i would say not to check it in, in case your bag were to get lost! My mom always just carries it in a big carryon bag! Along with the letter you could also bring like when you get your medications, the sticker on the box with all of your info, thats a good one to bring...

Do you have an animas pump?? i know that you can call and they can give you a backup pump to carry along with you on your trip, and you just mail it back when you are done!

Hi Amanda -

As far as I know, not much has changed, if anything.  I flew to Australia a couple years back, and here's what I can offer:  I would recommend not putting any of your supplies in checked luggage - put everything in a gallon-size ziploc bag in your carry-on.  This way 1. you won't ever be without it, in case your checked luggage is lost, and 2.  you'll know everything is kept at the proper temperature.  If possible, bring the prescription labels for your supplies. 

Good luck and have fun on your trip!


Traveling in the country should be the same as traveling out of country. Backup supplies are key to have. I would make sure you keep with you while flying two infusion sets and their random accessories. Heaven forbid something gets lost you will be fine for six days. The rest of the infusion sets I would say you could leave in your checked bag. Keep your insulin with you though, no matter what. Having a letter helps, but I have never needed it. I traveled both with my Medtronic Pump and Animas pump. The Medtronic pump did not give me any hassles going through security. However, my Animas pump did. Apparently the security at Newark Airport had tweaked their scanners. Also, if your pump has a metal belt clip remember to take the clip off your pump. The metal pump clip set off security on me once too.

If you get stopped or set off the alarm, explain to the agent that you are a diabetic and have an insulin pump. They will most likely wand you. That is not to bad though, when it happened to me, my pump and pump site set off the wand along with the CGM as well. The officer patted each spot, I told him it was part of the pump and that was all. It was relatively simple. Never has my bad been stopped for supplies, insulin and back in the day syringes.

Overseas, I would try to look online at the airport you are flying out of back to the states and see if they have any security concerns or suggestions for traveling with diabetes. No matter what happens though, just stay calm and explain everything. If someone starts to harass you ask to speak to someone else. Otherwise enjoy yourself and just have back up plans for any lost supplies.

I've been to the UK for work twice since being diagnosed and I have never had a problem. I travel for 2 weeks at a time and just stuff a bookbag with my insulin/test strips/pump supplies and have that as one of my carry on items...the other being my laptop.

I recently found out that I don't have to take my pump off for going through security either so that's nice. I just hold the pump up and say "i have one of these" and the guy waves me through.

Never brought my Rx with me though. Haven't had an issue with it. Tough to question the validity of someone's diabetes when they have an insulin pump and a glucometer strapped to their belt.

I've traveled quite a bit both domestically and abroad and the only things I would suggest is to have a letter from your doctor listing out all the supplies you are carrying (and have it translated into the languages of whatever airports you will be traveling to) and CARRY ON ALL SUPPLIES!  Could you imagine if you bag got lost?  You'd waste half your vacation at a foreign pharmacy!

Have a great trip!!!!

Thanks guys! I guess it's mostly just common sense but I wanted to get some advice from some more seasoned travelers to ease my thoughts. I really appreciate it!

And Aneka, I unfortunately have a Minimed pump and they don't do loans for trips :( Too bad.