Diabetes is no reason not to travel

Kirill devoted the last few months to studying abroad. Today he will share with us his tips on how to travel with diabetes, an insulin pump and an LMWH system.

Diabetes is not a reason not to travel. Although preparing a person with diabetes for a trip requires a lot of logistical issues, with proper preparation you will be prepared for all sorts of situations. I love to travel and have already been to about 20 countries and more than half of the US states. For example, I am writing this publication from Berlin, where I am currently studying and from where I am traveling around Europe. Since I was diagnosed with diabetes, I have already traveled a lot (especially now during my studies), so in this post I will look at several aspects of traveling with diabetes that I think are the most difficult.


Pump consumables and reservoirs. I take one set with me for every three days of travel, as well as a few extra spares.

Insulin. It must be transported, preferably in the cold, but at least at room temperature. So I take either the FRIO case (the gel that forms when the case is submerged in water keeps the insulin cold) or regular ice packs with me. Also, for greater safety, I always take more insulin with me than I need.

Other consumables. Be sure to bring extra lancets, plenty of test strips, pump, pump batteries, extra meter , meter batteries, and extra pens (in case your pump breaks).

Glucagon. And of course, always take glucagon with you (including a spare) in case something goes wrong. Extra vigilance never hurt anyone.

My advice is to ALWAYS carry your diabetic kit with you (in your hand luggage). Thus, you will never have to worry that if your luggage is lost, you will be left without all the funds you need. This will also ensure that insulin and supplies are not damaged by physical force or extreme temperatures.


If you are a pump user, be sure to find out if there are offices of representatives of this company in this city (Country), so that in the event of a pump breakdown, you know where to turn.

Long acting insulin. If, for some reason, your pump stops working and you don’t have a spare pump, long-acting insulin injections will help you get back on a multiple injection regimen while you don’t have a pump. (Editor’s note: Medtronic insulin pumps are only compatible with U100 short-acting or ultra -rapid-acting insulin.)


Insulin and other consumables. For all the time of my travels, I have never been asked questions about consumables when crossing the border. Only questions about the insulin pump. However, always carry a prescription with you that contains information about the insulin and glucagon you are carrying.

Means for stopping episodes of hypoglycemia. I always take glucose tablets, gummies, or any other non-liquid (and non-melting) form of sugar with me so I don’t carry liquid on board the plane. I used to take juice with me – if you warn security officers during security that you need juice to prevent hypoglycemia, they will usually quickly check the safety of the package and allow you to bring the juice on board the aircraft.


Temporary basal rate. On long car rides or flights, I tend to be pretty quiet all day, so I use the Temporary Basal Rate feature to help prevent high blood sugar levels. My body is used to me exercising every day, so on days I’m inactive my blood sugar rises. The temp basal rate feature helps you deal with this effectively. Personally, I set the temporary speed to 110-130% of normal speed, but you may need to experiment before you find what works for you.

Time Zones. If you are traveling to a different time zone, be sure to change the time on your insulin pump!


Contact information in case of an emergency. When you travel abroad (and especially if you go to study abroad), make sure you have the contact details of people to contact in case of an emergency at home and in the city you are visiting.

Find a pharmacy. Although this advice is more suitable for those who study abroad, a pharmacy near where you live will undoubtedly help you out in case of losing your glucometer , for example .

use of glucagon. As always, be sure to teach someone who lives with you (friend, teacher, family members, etc.) how to use glucagon and where you store it. This will help in case of an emergency.

I hope my advice will help you to endure travel easier and get more pleasant impressions from exploring new places. As I said at the beginning of this post, don’t let diabetes limit you from doing what you love – especially when it comes to travel.

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