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Traveling With Diabetes: Packing insulin and diabetes supplies

Are you living with diabetes and have upcoming travel plans?

Whether you are heading on a short weekend trip or extended vacation, managing diabetes while traveling requires careful planning and packing of insulin and diabetes supplies. In this blog post, we will provide you with what you need to know about how to pack your insulin and diabetes supplies so you can have a stress-free getaway.

Packing insulin and diabetes supplies

How much insulin and diabetes supplies should I pack when traveling?

One of the most important components of traveling with diabetes is ensuring you have adequate insulin and diabetes supplies for the duration of your trip. It is generally recommended to pack at least double the amount of insulin and supplies that you will need for the duration of your trip. This will cover any unexpected delays or unforeseen circumstances that may extend your trip.

How to properly store insulin while traveling

Keeping insulin cool while traveling is essential to make sure it doesn’t lose its effectiveness. Here are steps to ensure your backup insulin stays at a safe temperature when traveling:

  1. Utilize Insulated Containers: Utilizing insulated containers such as cooling cases, cool packs or thermal insulated containers can act as shields against extreme temperatures to protect your insulin.
  2. Avoid Extreme Temperatures: Keep insulin away from direct sunlight and direct contact with ice. Consider placing insulin in a shaded area or wrapped in a hand towel near ice to avoid overheating or freezing insulin.
  3. Plan for Replenishment: Especially if you are traveling to warmer destinations, anticipate your insulin cooling containers may melt quickly. Consider having more than one insulated device to have a back on hand when needed.

Practical packing tips when traveling with diabetes

Pack Diabetes Supplies in Carry-on Luggage

Always pack your insulin in carry-on, especially when flying. This prevents exposure to extreme temperatures in the cargo hold and minimizes the risk of potential loss or theft during travel.

Medical Documentation and Prescription Packaging

While not mandatory, consider providing TSA a notification card, medical documentation, or verbal warning prior to screening to alert them of your condition. It may also help streamline the process of keeping your diabetes supplies packed separately from your personal belongings and keep your supplies in their original packaging with your name on them.

Keep low snacks under 3.4 ounces

TSA allows people with diabetes to travel with liquids over 3.4 ounces when medically necessary, but they may undergo additional screening. Consider carrying alternative options for low blood sugar treatments such as glucose tablets or Transcend Glucose Gel Packs.

Security Scanners and Screening

Security scanners and screening methods may include advanced imaging technology, metal detectors, or pat-downs. If uncomfortable with technology-based screening, inform the TSA officer for a pat-down or a hand inspection of your diabetes supplies. Additional screening may include a self-patdown of diabetes supplies or devices followed by an explosive trace detection sampling of the hands.

Travelers who are using an insulin pump and/or continuous glucose monitor are encouraged by TSA to refer to the manufacturer user guide for their device before choosing between being screened by a scanner or opting for a pat down as every device has different safety guidelines.

Contact TSA Cares for Assistance

Take advantage of TSA Cares, a helpline specifically designed to aid travelers with disabilities or medical conditions. Contact them toll-free at 1-855-787-2227 72 hours before your trip with any questions or concerns regarding screening policies, procedures, and what to expect at security checkpoints.

What diabetes supplies should I pack when traveling?

When preparing for a trip, you must have all the necessary diabetes supplies you’ll need packed. The quantity and specific supplies required can vary based on the trip's duration, destination, and your management requirements. To help you get started, check out the general diabetes travel checklist below:

Insulin Supplies

  • Fast-acting insulin
  • Long-acting insulin
  • Insulated container for extra insulin vials or pens
  • Syringes and/or pen tips
  • Glucagon
  • Glucose tablets or gels
  • Additional non-perishable snacks

Insulin Pump Supplies

  • Infusion sets, cartridges, or pods
  • Charger or spare batteries
  • Portable battery pack

Glucose Monitoring Supplies

  • CGM sensors
  • CGM transmitter (optional)
  • CGM receiver (optional)
  • Blood glucose meter
  • Battery replacement for meter
  • Test strips
  • Lancing device
  • Lancets
  • Ketone sticks or ketone meter


  • Alcohol wipes
  • Adhesive remover
  • Adhesive overpatches
  • Portable sharps container
  • Medical ID
  • Doctor’s note
  • Copies of prescriptions
  • Other general first-aid supplies

Always consult with your diabetes care team to ensure you've packed the necessary diabetes supplies tailored to your individual needs and make it a point to familiarize yourself with the list of approved medical items on TSA’s website to ensure a hassle-free travel experience!



About Amanda Ciprich, MS, RD

Amanda Ciprich, a registered dietitian with a specialization in type 1 diabetes, was diagnosed with T1D herself at the age of 18. With her expertise and personal experience, she has authored two books, including "The Caregiver's Guide to Diabetes: Practical Advice for Caring for Your Loved One." As the founder of T1D Nutritionist, a virtual insurance-based private practice, Amanda provides counseling and guidance to individuals with T1D and their families, supporting them in effectively managing diabetes.

*Disclaimer: All content and information in this blog is for informational and educational purposes only.


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