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Travel pack for a child with diabetes

Holiday Advice – consider the following:

  • Extremes of temperature, very hot or very cold, can affect blood glucose levels because of how insulin is absorbed, usually more quickly if very hot.
  • If activity every day is likely to be greatly increased, e.g. swimming, skiing etc. Ensure you carry extra snacks and consider reducing the dose of your background insulin (Lantus/ Levemir/ Tresiba).
  • Give your Lantus/ Levemir/ Tresiba the evening before travel at the usual time.
  • Insulin – Remember to carry two different sets in separate hand luggage. Never put insulin in the aeroplane hold in case it freezes. This will denature the insulin and make it in-effective.
  • Remember to take a spare pen with you, should your current one become faulty.
  • Don’t forget NovoRapid cartridges/ pens, blood ketone meter and strips and GlucoGel® for urgent treatment of hypos during travel.
  • Remember to carry fast-acting carbohydrates for treatment of hypos.
  • You do not need to order a special meal on the plane.
  • Remember, many countries do not sell sugar-free squashes.
  • You should have all vaccinations, if advised.
  • Should you require replacement supplies abroad, be aware that some countries have different strengths of insulin. It is not always 100 units in a ml used by most children and young people in the UK.
  • Translation leaflets can be useful and are obtainable from Diabetes UK.
  • Diabetes UK holidays are available and the children learn a lot, become more independent and most importantly have a great time!

Travel Check List

  • Take 2 to 3 times the amount of supplies required and split into separate containers in case of loss or damage.  Must be in hand luggage.
  • Insulin Pen and insulin cartridges and pen needles.
  • NovoRapid Insulin cartridges and pen (in case of illness while away).
  • Blood Glucose meter and plenty of testing strips.
  • Finger pricker and lancets.
  • Blood Ketone meter and test strips.
  • GlucoGel for Hypoglycaemia.
  • Glucagon Injection (for emergency use) – check the expiry date.
  • Plastic sharps bin.
  • Cool pack, e.g. Frio in which to keep supplies.
  • Letter for Customs (ask your diabetes nurse to complete/ sign this).
  • Extra snacks for journey.
  • European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) available online: or by calling 0845 606 2030 or by picking up an application form from the Post Office.
  • Diabetes Identification card/bracelet etc.
  • Record Book.
  • Antibiotics if required for recurrent infections.
  • Tummy bug treatment, e.g. Dioralyte
  • Holiday Insurance (Diabetes should be declared).

Insulin Management for Long Distance Travel

Instructions for patients on basal-bolus insulin:

  1. Give long-acting insulin (Lantus/Levemir/ Tresiba) at the usual time before departure.
  2. Whilst travelling, give NovoRapid with meals according to blood glucose levels and carbohydrate intake.
  3. When you arrive in the new time zone, give Lantus at the normal time in the new time zone, e.g. if you usually have it at 8pm, continue to give it at the new 8pm (which may be 12 hours or more different from the UK). But do not give 2 doses of long-acting insulin within 18 hours of each other.
  4. Delay next dose to the usual time, and cover any gap with extra NovoRapid, depending on blood glucose levels.

Be guided by blood glucose readings – you will need to do these more frequently than usual.


Permission request form to be filled in by paediatric diabetes specialist nurses (this form is can be found on the PDF download)

Children’s Diabetes Clinic


To Whom It May Concern:

_________________ has Insulin dependent Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus.

During the flight/journey, he/she must have his/her diabetes blood glucose testing equipment and supplies with him/her as well as insulin.  The insulin should be kept in a cool bag.

INSULIN MUST NOT be placed in luggage in the hold as the pressure and temperature will de-nature it.

_______________ will also be carrying insulin pens and needles with which to inject.

They should be allowed to carry sugary drinks, glucose tablets and Glucogel, for emergencies, in case he/she should experience a Hypoglycaemic attack (low blood glucose level).

They may also need to carry an injection of glucagon in case of severe hypoglycaemia.

They will also need to carry starchy carbohydrate food such as crisps/cereal bars/biscuits.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require any further information.

Yours faithfully,


Paediatric Diabetes Specialist Nurses

Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust