Travelling with an insulin pump

Taking your insulin pump on an airplane

Travelling with an insulin pump

Your insulin pump can go where you go. With the right planning and preparation, you can enjoy travel adventures around the world.

When it comes to travelling with Type 1 diabetes, it’s best to be prepared. Detailed planning and preparation are the keys to an enjoyable and relaxing holiday.

Preparing to travel

  • Develop a back-up plan for time off the pump in case of a technical emergency.
  • Schedule an office visit with your healthcare provider at least 4-6 weeks prior to departure to discuss your travel itinerary and diabetes treatment plan.
  • Become familiar with foods of your destination and their carbohydrate amount.
  • Bring 2-3 times as many pump supplies that you may require, along with long-acting insulin, syringes and/or insulin pens – pump supplies and related products may not be available in other countries or may require a prescription to purchase.
  • Review your medical insurance regarding medical coverage outside of Canada.

What to pack in your travel “pumpers kit”:

  • Infusion sets and cartridges
  • Sensors (if you use CGM)
  • Insulin (rapid and long-acting)
  • Syringes or insulin pens
  • Blood glucose monitor and test strips
  • Any other medications you require (e.g. Gravol®)
  • Copies of all prescriptions
  • Extra batteries for meter/pump
  • Extra battery cap and cartridge cap for pump
  • Extra pump clip and/or pump case
  • A list of current pump settings
  • Lancing device and lancets
  • Sharps container
  • Ketone test strips
  • Hypoglycemia treatment (glucose tabs, Glucagon, etc.)
  • Skin preparation dressings or adhesive
  • Copies of physician’s orders for dosing of rapid and long-acting insulin
  • Emergency contact numbers

Travelling with a pump

  • Keep food and glucose where they are within easy reach. Don’t pack these in your checked luggage or in overhead bins.
  • Be aware that higher altitudes and warmer temperatures might decrease or increase insulin requirements.
  • Pack medications in original bottles and packaging.
  • Monitor, monitor, monitor. Changes in eating and sleeping patterns and activity levels can affect your blood glucose levels.

How do I get my pump through airport security?

  • Notify screeners if you are wearing an insulin pump and ask if they will visually inspect the pump since it is attached to your person.
  • Your pump should not go through the X-ray screening that is used for carry-on or checked luggage. The new airport screening, Whole Body Imaging Technology, is also a form of X-ray, and you will need to disconnect from the pump at your insertion site if you opt to go through the scan instead of a manual search.

By taking the time to organize all of your required supplies and medical care prior to travelling, you can rest easy and take pleasure in your trip away.