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Diabetes and travel

You can still enjoy travel with diabetes. Planning your trip can help avoid any problems.

Before you travel

Before you travel overseas you need to:

  • make sure your travel insurance covers health problems related to your diabetes
  • get your free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if you are travelling in the EU or Switzerland
  • find out where you can get insulin and supplies for your pump in the place you're travelling to
  • bring a copy of your prescription
  • contact your care team for advice about adjusting to different time zones
  • get a letter from your GP or diabetes team if you're flying - this is to say you have diabetes and need to take your treatment and equipment on the plane
  • check with your airline before you travel about taking a pump or glucose monitor on board - some airlines need you to have paperwork for medical equipment

Packing for your trip

When you're packing:

  • pack 3 times as much insulin, test strips, lancets, needles and glucose tablets as you'd expect to need
  • if you use a pump, pack insulin pens in case it stops working
  • put insulin in your hand luggage - the hold of the plane will be too cold and could damage the insulin
  • take a cool bag to stop your insulin getting too hot
  • take plenty of snacks in case there are any delays
  • do not put your pump or glucose monitor through the hand luggage scanner or x-ray machine - let airport security know so they can check it another way

While you are away

To reduce your risk of a hypo or hyper when you are away, check:

  • your blood glucose levels more often - hot and cold weather can affect your blood glucose levels
  • how to calculate your insulin dose based on the temperature or activities you do - contact your diabetes team before you go
  • your blood glucose levels when you are sunbathing

Page last reviewed: 17 October 2023
Next review due: 17 October 2026

This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 9.