FUDiabetes

Travel considerations

Sorry if this has been asked before - I did a search but only found tidbits here and there on other posts. I’m flying for the first time since diagnosis in a couple weeks, and I’m curious how you all go about packing supplies for a flight? Any special considerations or tips? Do I need to have a note of some sort from my doc (who I see tomorrow)? It’s an 11 day trip, and I’ll be taking my meter, etc, Libre reader/sensors, Afrezza, and Novolog. Any favorite bags to transport all your D supplies? Thinking this should be an excuse for me to finally buy something to carry everything around in…

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No special considerations or doctors notes are necessary. I fly pretty much every week or 2 and it’s just totally routine for me. I like to carry a plastic water bottle to throw my used pen needles in so I’m not leaving a trail of them all over the world. I do carry a photograph of my prescription labels on my phone but have never needed it for any reason… might be nice to have if you needed to do an unplanned refil at a different pharmacy or something like that.

I carry a backpack everywhere I fly that has two main compartments, one has my important documents etc in, the other has strips, meters, a pouch with insulin pens and afrezza in it, a plastic water bottle for
used sharps, and a box of pen needles…
If it were a super long trip in hot climates and without climate control you’d have to start thinking about keeping it from over heating, but for 11 days if you’re just reasonably prudent it really shouldn’t be an issue.

I always take more gear than I could conceivably need under any circumstances… but it’s counterproductive to get carried away and make an overly big production of it

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We don’t bring anything but the supplies. Other than occasional extra grope from TSA because my son won’t let his pump go through the standard scanning machine. Since we travel frequently we have popped for TSA precheck for the lad, which streamlines things a bit.

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Go to Amazon and do a search for LTGEM cases. They have a bunch of different sizes. They are sturdy and have different compartments to put things in. All kinds of different things to choose from.

They are meant for all sorts of things, which means you can get something that will be the perfect size for what you want to take.

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@Pianoplayer7008, am I right in remembering that you have celiac and some other food intolerances?

If so, I would highly recommend planning for food as well. For me, this means bringing most or all food I’ll need for a trip and doing some research to find out if there’s a grocery store near the hotel. If not, it means I need to bring all meals and snacks (plus some extra in case of delays). If there’s a grocery store nearby, then I bring some of what I need food-wise and pick up fresh produce when I arrive.

I’m actually sitting in a hotel room as we speak, and for this trip there’s no grocery store near the hotel, so I’ve brought everything. It’s only a four-day trip, so isn’t much compared to some trips I’ve been on.

If you’re interested in more information about food specifics, let me know. I have multiple food allergy issues (anaphylaxis, eosinophilic esophagitis, oral allergy syndrome) in addition to eating low-carb for diabetes, so for me it’s easier just to bring everything, and if I do end up eating out a couple of times I bring extra food back home.

In terms of diabetes, I bring twice what I think I’ll need for my trip. I happen to have a prescription for Fiasp that I’ve brought, but that’s only because I went on a massive seven-week trip. Usually I don’t have any prescriptions. Like @Sam, I keep pictures of prescription receipts on my phone in case there were ever any questions, because I just bring my pills in one of those seven-day pill organizers.o

I do have a note from my GP stating that I have Type 1 diabetes and severe food allergies and need to keep my epi-pen and diabetes supplies with me at all times, but I’ve never needed to use it. I separate liquid and non-liquid medications and put liquid medications in a clear bag for security. I tell security that I have a pump and CGM that can’t go through x-ray. They usually take the CGM receiver and inspect it and I always set off the metal detector, so I always get a wand scan. I have never had an issue except once when a security agent argued with me and told me my CGM receiver could go through x-ray. I told him if the airport was willing to refund me $700 if it broke then go for it, but otherwise I didn’t want to risk it breaking, and he dropped the issue.

When I’m on the plane I always keep emergency supplies (epi-pen, inhaler, glucose, meter) with me at my seat, either in the seat pocket or in a spi-belt. I always bring my own food for flights and never risk eating plane food. I also wipe down the arm rests and tray table for allergies, but I think this also helps prevent me from getting sick, as I’ve never gotten sick after travelling like many people do.

Have a great time on your trip!

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Honestly, my only suggestion is to make a list of everything you typically use in that space of time (11 days, you say) – and then bring double the supplies, if possible, in case something breaks/gets lost/you need extra, etc.
Also budget maybe an extra 10 minutes at the airport in case someone wants to check things more thoroughly.
Traveling for us is pretty easy…the passel of kiddos is what makes it hard, not the diabetes.

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Good idea, thanks!

Those look great; I’ll check them out, thank you!

I’m glad to hear it’s no big deal to fly as a diabetic. As @TiaG pointed out, it’s enough just dealing with kids and all their gear without throwing a bunch of my stuff in to deal with!

@Jen, thank you, and yes, I do have celiac + other intolerances. Thankfully, there’s a huge number of stores, including specialty stores, where we’re going, and we are sharing a rental house with other family members, so I’ll have access to a kitchen. Just curious - do you ever fly with food you need to keep cold? I’ve always wondered how that would work out.

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Since I’m an Alaskan I’m generally expected to carry a bunch of frozen fish to everyone I visit… so many many times I’ve checked coolers of all kinds of different sizes in as ordinary luggage…

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Yup, I concur. For some levity, before I found this group and was living in the dark ages, I carried too many of some items and insufficient of other things. Always have your favorite fast sugar. For me these days its sweet tarts or smarties. They’ve been very helpful in addressing minor low BG’s.

As we are headed into summer : If you are out and about for the day often, and if the insulin were to be exposed to 85F+ conditions for more than 5-6 hours, would you be concerned? I am on MDI and carry my Echo Pen. BTW - I did pick up a backup pen when I recently visited Canada :slight_smile:

No, and here is why.

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Yes, all the time. On this current trip I’ve brought lettuce, pre-cooked chicken, pre-cooked bacon, coconut milk, and mayo ( that needs refrigeration). I put it all in a deluxe sized Pack It cooler with extra ice (and the chicken frozen) and it was still frozen after six hours of travel.

The only time this gets complicated is when crossing the border into the U.S. Then there are many restrictions on what I can’t bring through and I always have to find a grocery store upon arrival.

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oh,also I’d also make sure at least a few necessities are in the carry-on, even if you can’t pack ALL of the D-supplies in one. WE’ve definitely lost checked luggage before for a few days to a week – you don’t want to be stressed if that happens. (Although I think they should let you carry it all on anyways.)

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I agree, all medications in carry-on. If you happen to have so much stuff that it all goes in a separate bag, it’s exempt from your carry-on allowance.

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We are leaving a few days for a 10 day trip down to Disney.

I plan on bringing my normal diabetic case, with cold pack inserts, that has all three pens, 3 refill vials, meter, strips, alcohol swabs, lancets, and backup syringes. I am also bringing a “lunch bag” with cold pack inserts for the extra pens, refill vials, backup reusable pens, etc. I also have two big multiday pill organizers, which hold a 14 day supply of my meds. This is all removable from my carry on backpack and can be easily inspected, along with the traditional clear liquids baggie. And my CPAP bag will have the extra swabs and needles. Medicals do not count against your carry on limits. Nothing vital gets packed in my checked baggage.

And yes, I will invariably hold up the line during checkin, no matter how much effort I take to streamline the process.

Not my fault, the other folks in line will just have to deal with it, I’m not the one that makes the screening rules, and none of those rules overrides my need for vital medical supplies and devices.

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I never check ANYTHING important in luggage. If it’s important, it gets carried on. For me this only means a couple 3-ring binders of paperwork and my diabetes supplies, everything else I can live and work without. I can buy new socks, underwear and toothpaste if they lose my bag.

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we do put things like extra alcohol wipes, a full bottle of skin tac (as opposed to the wipes) or baby oil in checked luggage because we can do without them and/or we can pick up very easily in a pharmacy and carrying fluids through TSA is a huge slowdown. But yes, sensors, site changes, and insulin and glucagon + pens all get carried with us.

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I do plan to put everything in my carry on - thankfully with flying Southwest, we will have plenty of allowance for free checked and carry on luggage, so I don’t think I’ll have any issues there.

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I’ve flown with an entire assortment of foods within the US with no issue. Liquids have been checked with success. Plenty of food has been carried onto plane. Driving between state lines is another story, California being the most restrictive - but plenty of info online for that (no citrus at all or nuts from certain states). I’ve flown with a ham, it stayed cold wrapped in a Mylar bag with ice packs, no one batted an eye.

If you have liquids, ice packs, or goopy foods that’s frozen solid you can take it right through TSA. Liquids like juice as “diabetic supplies” were okay with a complete pat down and all bags searched. That sucked. Just take candy along. :slight_smile:

I second all supplies in the carry on only and EH and I split stuff up between us or between two separate carryons just in case.

How fun for you guys. Hope the trip is excellent!!!

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I think everyone else has mostly covered it, but I’m going to emphasize how important it is to bring everything in your carry-on. I personally don’t even pull out my medications when I go through security. They never ask questions, so I don’t see why I should bother. The only slight hassle is that my sensor/transmitter generally sets off a little alert in the body scanner, so they have to swab my hands to make sure I haven’t been making any bombs :wink: It takes less than a minute, so it’s not a big deal.

Also, if you plan to bring a large carry-on, it can be helpful to have a smaller, perhaps empty bag inside. On my most recent trip, I took a large backpack that only just met the carry-on size restrictions. Just in case I ended up needing to check it, I brought a smaller bag that I could move my supplies into if needed.

Some planes have unexpected carry-on restrictions, and I’m not really sure how you’d make it all work if your bag couldn’t fit in the compartment unless you had a smaller bag with you.

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Oh the one other pearl of wisdom I’ll leave you with is that if you’re staying in hotels, don’t trust the mini-fridges. Mini fridge have very inexpensive shoddy thermostats that very frequently get stuck on and freeze things solid. That’s bad enough if it’s 6-pack of beer but it’s much worse if it’s all of your insulin. It’s better off at room temp unless you know the fridge works predictably.

When I’m in a really hot locale with no AC I’ll use the hotels ice machine and a small cooler before I’ll trust the fridge. It’s impossible to freeze insulin with ice in a cooler (unless it’s well below freezing ambient temp)

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