Tips for Flying with Diabetes


For those living with diabetes, there is a lot to think about when it comes to travelling. Being out and about and going to new places means your normal routine is uprooted, and can make it hard to stay on track in terms of your health. With the right planning, you can keep yourself in check and have a great vacation to remember. Follow these tips before getting on your flight:

Keep the Essentials Close

When packing for your flight, it’s important to put your medical supplies within easy reach. Be sure to pack your insulin in your carry-on to keep it from getting too cold in your suitcase during the flight. It’s a good idea to bring a smaller bag as well to keep any glucose tablets or snacks near. Remember to never pack these items out of reach in your checked bag incase the need arises. When in need, you can use your insulin pens and pumps on the plane with no questions asked.

Be Prepared for TSA

It’s no secret that going through airport security can be a nuisance, but this can be especially true for those with diabetes. Before heading to the airport, you can print out a TSA notification card that will notify security agents of your condition. Diabetics are exempt from the 3.4 oz. liquid rule for medicines, juices, and gel packs designed to keep insulin cool during the flight. Keep in mind that insulin pumps and glucose monitors can become damaged when going through the X-ray machine, so ask for a hand inspection instead.

Wear the Right Clothing

Those with diabetes are at an increased risk of clotting and long flights can also play a role in this. Wearing medical compression socks will improve blood circulation throughout your legs, even while seated for long periods of time. Flight socks are also great if you’ll be renting a vehicle and will be seated in a car for a few hours once you reach your destination.

Stay Hydrated

Did you know that high altitudes can cause dehydration? Dehydration can cause blood sugar levels to increase, leading to ketones, so staying nice and hydrated on your flight is incredibly important. So, say no to the on-flight alcohol, because this will dehydrate you more; and reach for some water instead.

Plan Your In-Flight Meals Ahead

For long, cross-country flights it’s likely you’ll have a meal included with your flight. Most airline companies will have these menus available beforehand so that you can calculate your carbs and be prepared to order (but make sure to have a backup meal chosen just in case they run out of your first choice). For shorter flights or just to avoid the hassle, you can pack your own meal to make sure you get enough carbs.

Have Fun

At times, traveling with diabetes can require a little extra work, but it’s still important for you to enjoy the journey and have a great time. Be sure to plan properly before you leave to avoid headaches later on in your trip.



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