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Traveling with Diabetes: What’s Always in Your Carry-On Bag?

Medically reviewed by Peggy Pletcher, MS, RD, LD, CDE on January 20, 2017Written by Mary Baucom on January 20, 2017
traveling with diabetes

Whether you’re traveling for pleasure or going on a business trip, the last thing you want is to get stuck without your diabetes supplies. But preparing for the unknown isn’t easy. Some of the web’s top diabetes bloggers have learned how to handle practically any airplane travel situation. Read to see what they always pack, do, and even buy before they board a flight.


We do not check ANY of our diabetes stuff ... I know this may not be possible if you have more than one person with diabetes in your family. My suggestion would be to pack as much as you can in a carry-on bag, and then maybe put your extras in a checked bag for “just in case."

Hallie Addington, blogger of The Princess and the Pump and mother to a type 1 diabetes toddler

Tip: At airports, consider packing only small snacks and purchasing juice and larger snacks once you’re through security.


When flying with an insulin pump, you should always disconnect it during takeoff and landing. This isn’t a U.S. FAA recommendation. This isn’t about turning off your electronic devices. And this certainly isn’t because your diabetes management makes Miss Manners uncomfortable in flight. It’s physics.

Melissa Lee, blogger at A Sweet Life and living with type 1 diabetes

Research has shown that changes in altitude can cause insulin pumps to unintentionally deliver insulin.


I prepare for the unexpected. I am armed to the teeth with insulin, meters, and test strips. I can pull out extra diabetes supplies from my car, CamelBak hydration system pack, bike tire changing kit, office drawer, husband’s briefcase, winter jackets, grandma’s fridge, and more.

Markee McCallum, blogger at DiabetesSisters and living with type 1 diabetes


Traveling around the world for almost 9 months, I have been lucky that I have not really encountered any major problems with either my diabetic health or supplies. When preparing to leave, I decided that the best option for me was to take all the supplies I would need with me. So I packed up 700 pen needles, 30 vials of insulin, test strips, spare pens, and other bits and pieces, put everything in my backpack, and went on my way.

Carly Newman, blogger of The Wanderlust Days and living with type 1 diabetes

Tip: You may want to take extra written prescriptions from your doctor when you travel.


It’s way too easy to get dehydrated while traveling, which results in high glucose numbers, followed by further worsened dehydration. Take every opportunity to hydrate in the air and on the ground, even though bathroom visits may be inconvenient.

Shelby Kinnaird, blogger of Diabetic Foodie and living with type 2 diabetes

Tip: To make sure you stay hydrated, carry an empty water bottle and fill it once you’re through security.

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