Planning on jetting off to someplace halfway across the globe - that’s great! We’re so excited for you! But before you leave, make sure to check out CDN’s checklist on planning, packing, and living in another country.
Whether you’re leaving for a six-week stint in the Greek Isles or a six-month relief mission to Africa, you need to make sure you have MORE than enough supplies/medication to last you - and extra supplies in case anything goes wrong.
Here are the supplies you should be considering:
- Infusion sets
- Pods (for Omnipod users)
- Insulin Pens (if you like pens)
- Long-acting Insulin
- Spare Pump
- Glucose Tabs
- CGM transmitters
- Chargers (CGM, meter, etc.)
Do the math
Figure out exactly how much of everything you’ll need. Then add at least an extra months worth. Write it all down.
Call your insurance company
Let them know you’ll be leaving, how long you’ll be gone for, and the number of supplies you’ll need in advance. Each insurance company is different, so they’ll be able to walk you through the process of getting your supplies.
Schedule appointments with all your doctors before you leave
Chances are you’re not planning on flying home from Paris to meet with your endocrinologist in the middle of your semester. We don’t blame you. But that means you should get all of your appointments out of the way before you leave. That means your endocrinologist or CDE, optometrist, and dentist.
Call your doctor
Tell your doctor where you’re going, for how long, and ask for any prescriptions your insurance company might have told you that you need. Ask them for a letter verifying that you have diabetes and need to carry supplies with you at all times (you can include juice to bring through security, too!) You can use this letter as a template. Ask if you’re forgetting anything.
Call your supply company(s)
Find out if your pump supply company can deliver supplies internationally in case of emergency, or if they can give you emergency supplies beforehand, i.e. a replacement pump.
Create a contact list
The list should include names, numbers, and addresses for the following:
- Contact information for your institution abroad
- Insurance Company
- Supply Company
- All of your doctors
- Anyone you know in the country that you’ll be studying abroad in
- Emergency Contact Information
Make copies of this list and give them to your parents. (We also suggest giving a copy to the institution where you’ll be studying, and your friends and roommates.)
- Pack your diabetes supplies in two carry-on suitcases. This way, you’re covered just in case anything that you check, or one of your carry-ons gets lost.
- Have a letter from your doctor with you that explains what medical supplies you have with you and why.
- Use your letter to get early boarding if the flight is full and you are concerned about overhead space for your supplies – this is your RIGHT.
- Make sure you have something to keep your insulin cool while traveling. Here are some options: Frio, Medicool
- Make sure you have plenty of low supplies – for the plane ride, and for the duration of the time you’ll be living abroad.
Know what to expect
- Change in routine
- Different foods
- Getting low supplies may be harder (lack of convenience stores on every corner)
- Nutritional information may not be readily available
- More walking than you are used to
- The weather may be drastically different than what you’re used to – make sure your insulin isn’t too hot or cold.
Want more information? Check out some of the blogs below, written by T1Ds about their travel experience (many of them young adults!)
- Six Until Me: It's All Happening
- A Sweet Life: Tales of Molly's Diabetes Adventures in Disney
- A Sweet Life: Not Quite so Brave - Living with Diabetes in Three Countries
- A Sweet Life: 15 Tips for Traveling with Diabetes
- Diabetes Mine: Amanda's Top 10 on Traveling with Diabetes
- Kayla's Life Notes: Success on Kilimanjaro
- TSA Blog: Traveling 101 for Diabetics