In this section
Having diabetes shouldn’t stop you travelling, but it does need careful
It could be a road trip, a cruise or flying overseas – whatever your
plans, your daily routine changes. Think about how this will affect your
diabetes care, accessing supplies and protecting them from damage
(including exposure to extremes of temperature).
Below are some considerations you might find helpful
As well as all your standard travel gear, you need your diabetes
supplies. Keep all medications in the original packaging.
We recommend taking twice as much
as you think you may need including:
Insulin companies recommend that unopened insulin is stored at 2-7 °C. If kept outside the fridge, and
below 37 °C, it is
usually stable for 1 month.
Insulin frozen or exposed to temperature above 37 °C should be discarded
Before trusting a fridge when travelling, leave a small quantity of cold
water on a saucer in it overnight. If it freezes, don’t use the fridge!
To protect from heat use an insulated bag with an ice block, separating the
two with a pocket or cloth. Water cooled holders are another option (e.g., FRIO bags)
Blood glucose meters should also be protected from extremes of temperature
as this may affect their accuracy
When flying you will need a flight letter, as this may be required at
the security checkin.
Your treating diabetes team or GP are able to write one. A flight letter from RCH is prepared for our patients on request (email email@example.com). Please
allow at least 3 weeks for this to be provided.
The letter should include:
“if you can’t afford insurance, you can’t afford to travel”. Make sure your chosen insurance policy covers
type 1 diabetes and your diabetes supplies (including insulin pumps if used)
Luggage stored in the cargo hold may be delayed, lost or exposed to
extremes of temperature, so have your supplies (including flight letter) in your carry-on luggage. If possible,
divide supplies between 2 adults, in case a bag is lost or stolen. Make sure
you have easy access to your meter, hypo food and insulin while seated.
More information on travelling with medications
can be found on the Department of Health website
For further information on specific company advice, click the company
Travelling with your Freestyle Libre®
Traveling with your Dexcom G6 - this is an American Video. The Australian support line is AMSL Australia
Medtronic traveling with an insulin pump
changes and insulin delivery
Cabin air pressure
changes during take-off and landing, and insulin, like other fluids, is
affected by this. The pressure change can cause either bubbles in the line and
reservoir causing less insulin delivery or increased pressure in the
cartridge causing increased insulin delivery.
Some people disconnect and suspend their pump during take-off and
landing and if bubbles are present, also check the reservoir before
If using a Medtronic 640/670G with CGM, use ‘flight mode’ during the
Date/Time in pump
Wait until you arrive at your destination before changing the time (and
possibly date) in your pump. Make sure the am /pm is also correct!
Pump settings and reports
In case of line or pump failure, you will need to know your Pump Total
Daily Dose (PTDD). Save a copy of your current pump settings and
PTDD from your pump upload report.
Pump or line failure and you are unable to resite the cannula:
If this occurs, you will need to revert to
injected insulin. See Pump Mangement for line failure
If your pump has failed, contact your pump company regarding a replacement pump. Some companies
have a travel loan program for overseas travel
failure with high BGLs +/- blood ketone:
See Pump Management for hyperglycaemia
The Medtronic Travel Loan Program provides you with a spare pump to carry with you while you are away on holiday overseas or in remote locations where you are unable to receive a replacement pump should your pump fail.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. Medtronic cannot guarantee the availability of a specific model of the loan pump provided.
Medtronic ask to submit your application two weeks prior to the travel date but with the holidays approaching earlier than this to avoid delays.
Common Questions about the Medtronic Travel Loan Program:
Q: Can I open the pump package up and input the device settings even if I don’t end up needing to use it?
A: Yes you may – safety first!
Q: How long do I have to return the pump after I return form my time away?
A: 14 days
Q: How long may I travel with the loan travel pump?
A: Up to 90 Days
Be prepared for "what if" situations including flight delays,
missed connections and lost luggage. Always have your diabetes supplies with
Speak to your GP about vaccinations for overseas travel. Some need 2 doses a few weeks apart, so start planning early!
Prepare your sick day plan including mini dose glucagon plan and a list
of emergency contacts (GP, diabetes nurse educator and technical support
numbers for insulin pumps or CGM / FGM companies). Sick day support for RCH
patients is available via the RCH switchboard +613 9345 5522 - ask for the
diabetes sick day service.
Avoid ordering the ‘diabetic friendly’ meal option in flight as these
often are very low in carbohydrates. Wait until your meal arrives and when you can assess the carbohydrate content before injecting your insulin.
Do some homework before leaving home to learn about the local foods and
carbohydrate content. There are many apps to help with this
Be mindful of the risk of gastroenteritis and find out if you should
avoid the local tap water.
With different time zone, you will need to adjust
your insulin schedule. As well as carrying your flight letter, develop a flight
plan for managing your insulin timing and doses during your flight.
Don’t change your time on your clock until you arrive at your
destination. Give your insulin according to the time at your place of departure
while in flight, See information below on working out a flight plan. Always remember
you need insulin in your body all the time. Any plan for changing the timing of your
long acting insulin should be planned well before your fly.
See this guide to support you making
a plan if using multiple daily injections. If you want
a DNE to check your completed plan, email email@example.com (RCH
You do not need a flight plan, but see flying with
an insulin pump above
A flight plan can be requested by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org,
attaching your itinerary and current insulin doses.
Please note, given workload demands for the
Diabetes Allied Health Team, allow at least 4 weeks for a reply for any
requests for assistance with flight plans or flight letters. We are unable to
accommodate last minute requests for help except in exceptional circumstances.
Diabetes Victoria - travelling with diabetes
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Services Australia for information on reciprocal health care agreements