How To Pack For Travel As A Diabetic

Necessities for a short trip.

Among the many responsibilities you carry as a diabetic, when you are traveling, you have to make sure you bring along all of the items that make it possible for you to survive. Some of these are dependent on what type you are and what you have access to. Nonetheless, this is what I carry with me when I travel.

The TSA allows a few exemptions that make traveling with diabetes supplies a little less frustrating. You are allowed a few liquids over the 3.4oz limit to treat hypoglycemia with. You can opt for the metal detector or a pat down if your device manufacturer recommends against the 360 scanner. While carrying written prescriptions is a good idea to help answer any questions, they are not required. You can also fill out a TSA Disability Notification Card if you want to be discreet with the officer about your disease.

I usually travel with a carry-on bag and a small day pack that I use as my personal item. With the addition of one book and one hat, I have to devote my entire day pack to my diabetes supplies. This is what I carry with me:

  • Insulin Pens
    • One in-use long-acting Tresiba pen.
    • One in-use rapid-acting Novolog pen.
    • Backup pens.
      • I mistakenly carried them in a Frio Duo Pen Cooler Wallet, thinking that would keep them fridge temperature; it just kept them from getting too warm. Once insulin is no longer fridge temperature, it has to be used within a certain amount of weeks before it starts to deteriorate.
      • You always want to carry backup insulin in case you run out, it expires, it gets lost, the temperature gets too warm, etc. Remember, you need this to survive.
  • Extra needles.
  • A CGM (continuous glucose monitor) replacement if your current one expires.
  • A blood-glucose meter.
  • Lancing device.
  • Lancets.
  • Test strips.
  • Alcohol wipes.
  • Glucagon nasal spray (in case of severe hypoglycemia.)
  • Glucose tablets and fruit snacks for low blood sugar.
  • Cheese crackers to maintain blood sugar between meals.

This isn’t an exhaustive list and will evolve with time and destination and of course be dependent on your individual needs, but I hope this gives you a general idea of the extra supplies you’ll carry around as an insulin-dependent diabetic.

What do you carry for supplies? Let me know in the comments below.

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