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Travel-Packing Tips

So you’ve done all your pre-travel preparation; now thoughts turn to, travel packing tips with type 1 diabetes

“What do we need to BRING?!”


Packing Tips:

  • Pack extra supplies of everything you use to monitor and treat diabetes: it is wise to take double the amount of certain supplies (ex. insulin, syringes, test strips, infusion sets...) than you would need at home for the same period of time. This reduces the risk of having to obtain supplies in an unfamiliar place.
  • It’s a good idea to pack an extra blood glucose monitor and batteries.
  • When you pack, either divide the diabetes supplies and medications in different bags (in case a bag is lost along the way) OR choose to carry on your person all of your diabetes supplies. Either way, pack in your carry-on bag ALL ESSENTIAL supplies, so that if the worst case scenario occurs and all of your checked baggage is lost, you still have enough supplies to cover your time away, or at least your first several days in your new locale, allowing you time to replace the lost supplies.
  • Do not pack insulin or blood glucose test strips in your checked luggage because they lose their effectiveness if subjected to high or low temperature.
  • If your child wears an insulin pump, you still may choose to bring a supply of syringes and insulin in case of pump difficulties (temporary interruption which leads to a syringe correction, or full pump failure which leads to taking a pump vacation).
  • If your child takes only intermediate-acting insulin or a pre-mix, also pack short- or rapid-acting insulin in the event of sickness with high blood glucose and ketones.
  • A phrase book which includes how to ask for help in other languages may prove very useful in an emergency.


What to Pack:

In addition to the usual non-diabetes-related travel items, the following may serve as a starting point for identifying which diabetes supplies you may want to bring.

Suggested Packing List - Diabetes Supplies for People using Injections:   
(This is a suggested guideline ONLY – it should be adapted for individual needs.)
Check
 Item Quantity*

Low treatment: candy/glucose tablets  
  Low treatment: liquid (ex. juice)   
  Snacks   
  Medical ID (bracelet, tag, etc)   
  Insulin: Long- or Intermediate-acting   
  Insulin: Rapid-Acting   
  Backup insulin (both types)   
  Syringes  
  Glucagon   
  Monitor and lancing device   
  Extra Monitor   
  Test Strips   
  Lancets   
  Extra batteries for monitor   
  Hand Wipes or Alcohol swabs
(for finger pokes, when water is not available)
 
 
  Blood Ketone Test Monitor  (if you typically use one)   
  Blood and/or Urine Ketone test strips
 
  Medication for nausea and/or diarrhea
 
  Contact Info for doctor/Diabetes Clinic   
  Current Prescription for Diabetes Supplies   
  Letter from doctor confirming your child has diabetes   
  Written list of insulin doses
 
  Blood Glucose Log Sheet
 
  Light (for night-time checks)
 
  First aid kit (essentials)   

* Quantity to bring of each item
= (# typically used in a day) x (# of days away) x 2

For example, if you use about 10 test strips each day at home, and you are travelling for 14 days, it is wise to pack at least twice the amount you would use at home, or 10 x 14 x 2 = 280 individual test strips.



Suggested Packing List - Diabetes Supplies for Insulin Pump Users:  
(This is only a suggested guideline – it should be adapted for individual needs.)
Check Item  Quantity* 
  Low treatment: candy/glucose tablets   
  Low treatment: liquid (ex. juice)
 
  Snacks   
  Medical ID (bracelet, tag, etc)   
  Insulin: Rapid-Acting    
  Backup Insulin: Long-acting (in case of pump failure)   
  Backup insulin: Rapid-acting   
  Syringes   
  Glucagon   
  Monitor and lancing device   
  Extra Monitor   
  Test Strips   
  Lancets   
  Extra batteries for monitor   
  Extra batteries for pump  
  Hand Wipes or Alcohol swabs
(for finger pokes when water is not available)
 
 
  Alcohol swabs for infusion site   
  Blood Ketone Test Monitor  (if you typically use one)
 
  Blood and/or Urine Ketone test strips 
 
  Pump   
  Extra Pump (loaner)   
  Infusion Sets and Tubing   
  Pump Cartridges/Reservoirs   
  Skin Prep® / SkinTac® swabs (if you typically use) 
 
  Remove® swabs (if you typically use) 
 
  Emla® cream or patches (if you typically use)   
 
  Tegaderm® patches (if you typically use)   
  Medical tape (if you typically use)   
  Extra battery cap, O-ring   
  Medication for nausea and/or diarrhea   
  Contact Info for doctor, pump company   
  Current Prescription for Diabetes Supplies 
 
  Letter from doctor confirming your child has diabetes and wears an insulin pump 
 
  Written list of programmed basal rates, I:C ratios, etc   
  Blood Glucose Log Sheet   
  Light (for night-time checks)   
  First Aid kit   

* Quantity to bring of each item = (# typically used in a day) x (# of days away) x 2
For example, if you use about 10 test strips each day at home, and you are travelling for 14 days, it is wise to pack at least twice the amount you would use at home, or 10 x 14 x 2 = 280 individual test strips.


Any questions? Comments? Feel free to Contact Us.



The above information was significantly modified with permission from The Alberta Children’s Hospital Diabetes Clinic information handouts.

The above information was reviewed for content accuracy by clinical staff of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Diabetes Clinic.

This material has been developed from sources that we believe are accurate, however, as the field of medicine (in particular as it applies to diabetes) is rapidly evolving, the information should not be relied upon, as it is designed for informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of medical advice, instruction and/or treatment. If you have specific questions, please consult your doctor or appropriate health care professional.

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