Long Term Travel with Type 1

Hi everyone,

I am planning to buy a one way ticket and travel for at least 6 months, maybe much longer. I plan to travel to lost of different countries and stay in hostels mostly, so will not have a solid home base. (I am currently in the US) I have not chosen my desintations yet, but thinking about Europe and Thailand.

I have not found any helpful information about how to deal with insurance, getting prescriptions while in another country, and how much these things may cost. Currently, I have private insurance, not through work.

Has anyone had any experience with long term travel and dealing with these topics or can provide any answers to these topics?

I really appreciate your help and advice!


Hi @marooned222, that sounds exciting and challenging - challenging in that you must assure, at the very least, constant insulin supply.
To answer your first question, about insurance etc., you should begin by contacting your insurance carrier; companies and policies differ so there can not be a “general and accurate” response posted by anyone here. When traveling in Europe [or any alien territory] you could have full and complete coverage just like you have in the U.S. or you could have absolutely no coverage whatsoever.
As for relative cost for insulin and supplies, I’ve heard both “extremely expensive” and “much cheaper” - all depends on perspective. For instance, a former neighbor offered to pick up a new pump for me at about 1/2 of the U.S. cost while he was spending his six months in his home country but I’ve heard [on discussion sites] people in that same country complaining of the high cost of diabetes.

Good luck and best wishes in your travels - want the company of an old man? Yes, I envy you and your ambition.

I have lived abroad 3 times for 4+ months at a time. What I have found easiest is having my doctor here in the US write a perception for insulin and all supplies you may need and having them on hand when you travel. Then I found local doctors to write me prescriptions when I was running low on supplies. I would check and see what the resource are in the countries though because they are different all over the world. For example, in South Africa I had to get prescriptions written but one bottle was only about 40 dollars and I got reimbursed through insurance but in Peru I just walked right into the pharmacy and asked if they had Humalog and it was 30 bucks a bottle no prescription needed. During my time in SA my glucometer broke and I just called the local office and they sent me a new one right away.

I also have had negative experiences though- I went to teach English in China and had a hard time getting pump supplies and insulin bottles that were compatible with the pump. They had homolog insulin there but it was for injections only.

Hope this helps a bit and if you have any questions feel free to reach out!