Flying with Insulin

One of the quickest challenges we encountered after diagnosis was flying abroad with insulin and keeping it at the correct temperature. Within 4 months we were lucky to travel to both a hot climate and a cold climate.

The advice from our clinic about using a Frio for travelling was invaluable to us, and it is one of our everyday hero products for life with diabetes.

From our experience we developed our family’s 4 golden rules for plane travel:

  1. Always take a letter from your doctor or clinic outlining your condition and why you are travelling with the medicines and equipment, as this will often be asked for at baggage check and seems to answer most questions here and abroad.
  2. We never put insulin in the hold as it can get very cold and freeze even with the best effort to keep it safe. Also we are concerned with lost luggage and prefer to be responsible for it ourselves as carry on. So we always travel with spare insulin in our hand luggage.
  3. TAKE A FRIO. It is easy to use, rechargeable in any hotel room in the world quickly, and will not be confiscated at baggage claim as a liquid. Be careful of cool packs/gel packs, as a zealous baggage officer may confiscate under the liquids policy and leave you high and dry.
  4. If you don’t ask you don’t get. Most regular European airlines allow a free extra carry on bag for medical requirements. We take a rucksack full of Dexcom, hypo treatments, insulin, meters etc and have always been able to for free. But you have to ask first, check the airlines website for details

Our most important advice for flying is go do it. We have met a lot of families who were put off from travelling when they first tackled diabetes which means you may miss out on the journey of a lifetime. Its different but not difficult, and our advice is hit it head on and have a great trip.


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