4 top tips to travel safely with diabetes

4 top tips to travel safely with diabetes

It’s vacation time in many parts of the world, with July and August marking peak holiday season in Europe and North America.

That’s great news when it comes to fun and relaxation, but if you have diabetes, there are a few things you need to remember in order to make the most of your time away.

Factor diabetes management into your vacation planning can help you to stay in good health throughout your trip.

Travel tips can help people living with diabetes feel more confident when travelling during summer holidays. The Patient Centricity Unit at sanofi co-creates with patients solutions and services which correspond to their unmet needs. Travel tips and peer to peer connections are part of it.


Here are some top tips – and a timeline – to help you plan your holidays and better manage your condition.


30 days before your holiday


- Make sure you have insurance to cover your holidays, including insurance to cover help getting home early if necessary.

- If you’re travelling in Europe and you live in an EU country, ask about a European Health Insurance Card.

- Request a diabetes card from your local diabetes association – and make sure it’s translated into the local language for the country you are visiting.

- Check the International Diabetes Federation for contact details for diabetes organizations in the areas you’re travelling. These can be a good source of information about diabetes management locally.

- If you plan on flying, request a diabetic meal when you book your tickets.

- If you’re going to a foreign country, research what types of foods are available (e.g carbohydrate equivalents) and learn how to say these words in the local language. If you’re concerned about not speaking the language, the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travellers has a database of English-speaking doctors around the world.


20 days before your holiday


Make an appointment with your doctor to ensure your diabetes is being well managed.

- Explain where you’re going and for how long.

- Have a full checkup.

- Make sure you have enough prescriptions to cover your whole holiday.

- Ask for a letter explaining your condition. You can show this to medical staff if you need help while you’re away, as well as to airline staff to explain why you need to travel with medication (if you’re going to a country where a different language is spoken, have the letter translated).

- Ask for practical advice on managing diabetes while you’re away. For instance, if you’re going to a country where there’s a time, do you need to change the times that you take your medication? See here for more guidance.

- Do you need any vaccinations or other medicine for the trip?


10 days before your holiday


- Do you have enough insulin? Make sure you take more than you need and pack it in two separate bags in case you lose one (always carry one bag with you).

- What other equipment do you need? For example, consider taking two blood glucose monitoring devices (packed in separate bags) with extra batteries; insulin lancets, test strips, and syringes; and, for insulin pump users, pump supplies, extra batteries, and inulin and syringes in case of pump failure.

- Follow the guidance on the Patient Information Leaflet to ensure you protect your insulin from high or low temperatures (for example, do you need to store it in a cool bag?)

- Confirm with your airline how your medicine and medication equipment should be packed and what rules you need to follow to take it onboard.




- When travelling, always have your insulin to hand, and pick up some snacks such as dried fruits, crackers or nuts to keep you going throughout the journey.

- If you’re flying, let the airline staff onboard know that you have diabetes in case you need assistance, or your meal brought to you early.


By following these simple pre-trip steps, you can help to take some of the worry out of the holiday season, stay in good health and save your energy for what’s most important: having a fun and relaxing holiday.


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