Pump fill amount when traveling

I wanted to post this as a bit of a thought-piece for people.

On my pump, it lasts for 3 days. Usually I fill it with just enough for a 3 day average supply, plus a little extra because my TDD’s vary a good bit from day-to-day.

When traveling recently, I filled it all the way up to the max amount the day I was getting on the plane.

For travel, this is something that I think would be good for anyone to do, and would also be good to do no matter what pump you are using.

So my question is - why did I do that? And why might this be a good thing for you to do when you travel?

And to make it fun, I will email a $15 Amazon gift card for the first correct answer.

Just in case TSA gives you a hard time about the “liquid” in your insulin vials?

That’s actually a great guess, but not what I was thinking when I did it…

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The second thing I had on my brain was the fact that, maybe the increased altitude causes an increased need for insulin? That’ll be my last guess! Everyone else can guess now. :stuck_out_tongue:

My dad would always put extra gas in the tank before we drove to the cottage. When my brother asked him why, since he knew how much gas he needed for the drive, he said, “You never know. There might be an accident and we have to make a long detour. We might decide to take a side trip because you’re hungry.”

Traveling is full of delays. If your flight is cancelled or you’re bumped and you have to spend an unexpected half-day at the airport, you don’t want to run short of insulin. (That’s best-case scenario. I’ve known people stuck in airports for 48 hours.)

On a lengthy flight such as going overseas, you might be fed a destination-time meal when you wouldn’t ordinarily be eating (e.g., breakfast before you land while it’s still midnight for you). So you have (maybe unexpected) extra meals to bolus for. Plus snacks. Plus appetizers if you run into @daisymae somewhere.

I assume one of the answers isn’t “If your pump breaks down you can suck out the extra insulin in it for injections.” Surely you’d be traveling with a vial and syringes or pens anyway.


Well - probably because you were flying United…

oh wait… never mind.


Hopefully it’s not because you’re like, erm, someone I know…who was concerned last time she traveled that her extra insulin cartridges would be broken in transit, so she wanted the max amount actually on her person, not even trusting it in her carry-on… :wink:


On a more serious note: there are multiple reasons why I would do this - and @beacher’s extra gas in the tank would be the main one.

When I travel, I use a backback and keep a pen+cartridge with me in the cabin + my spare insulin. I also keep a couple of spare PODs within arm’s reach just in case.

But… if you are separated from your backpack by an overzealous TSA or law enforcement agent, having a full POD gives you lots of time to figure out how to get your backpack full of supplies back. EDIT: what I mean here is that if you are arrested, and your backpack confiscated, and you are in a holding cell, it helps to have extra in your pump… not that this would happen but you never know.


I think this gets it, and was the first! @Aaron’s answer is also along the same lines of being separated from your stuff, but Emily beat him to it.

Here is my full answer:
I travel with both a vial of rapid insulin and a pen with rapid insulin. I also have spare pods and a vial of basal insulin. So I do have redundancy for everything.

But things can get lost or stolen, not only in an airport, but in public transportation, in taxis, or in a hotel room.

And as Emily pointed out, things can get broken. Insulin vials are made of glass!

The cool thing about the pod is that when you are done with it, whatever insulin remains inside is basically in a shatter-proof plastic vial, which is contained inside another plastic case.

When my pod expired, I rinsed it off, and stashed it in a different place than any of my other stuff. There was plenty of insulin still in it, and as I said, it’s almost unbreakable.

Of course I didn’t need it, but it was a spare insulin container just in case.

If you recall after 9-11, when they shut down the airports for a few days, people were stranded in all parts of the country. One of my co-workers had to get in a rental car and drive home from Arizona, and because there were not enough rental cars, he had to share the car with a total stranger!

So anyway, I think any pump reservoir would serve the same purpose. And there isn’t much reason to not do it.

Em, if you want to PM me your email address, I can hook you up with your gift card.


I just sent you the gift card via email.

Funny how someone who doesn’t even use a pump got this!

LOL I’m a pump hoper? I’ve been kind of dreaming about having one lately… :slightly_smiling_face: