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Traveling With Diabetes

Traveling is gloriously disrupting. New time zones. Unfamiliar foods. Activities that you would never think to try at home. Just don’t let travel disrupt your diabetes management.

“With travel, it’s important to plan ahead. Just like you’d book your hotel in advance, be sure to discuss with your doctor the best practices for dosing/timing adjustments for medications like insulin, and what you might need to get through TSA without a hitch. Your doctor can also provide medication prescriptions in case you run out or your medication gets lost while on the trip,” said endocrinologist David Ahn, M.D., chief of Diabetes Services at Hoag. “Talking with your doctor beforehand can help make your trip more worry-free.”

To book an appointment with your doctor today, visit

For more travel tips, Dr. Ahn recommends:

Take It With You: Pack twice as many diabetes supplies as you think you’ll need in a carry-on, and pack your medications in their original pharmacy bottles. Remember that insulin can get too cold in checked luggage and that diabetes medication and equipment can get damaged in direct sunlight, or in a hot car. So be careful how (and where) you pack your medication and equipment. Packing glucose tablets or gels, as well as dried soup mixes and powdered energy drinks, can also help if you get sick while traveling.

Adjust Accordingly: If you’re traveling across time zones, set an alarm on your phone to remind yourself when to take medication. If you’re traveling to a hotter climate than you’re used to, or if you’re going to be more physically active than normal, your blood sugar may be affected. Check your blood sugar more regularly and adjust food, water, activity and insulin as needed.

Get Pumped Up: Takeoff and landing may affect your insulin pump. Contact your pump manufacturer for specific directions for your pump, if you are traveling by plane. Your manufacturer will likely have a website or 800 number to also help you learn how to adjust the time on your insulin pump and your glucose meter before you leave on your trip to match your meal and sleep times. Some pump manufacturers even offer a travel loaner backup pump program for overseas travel.