My vacation a couple weeks ago was my first time travelling with my insulin pump. I’ve been pumping with the Medtronic 530G since December 2013. There was a bit more preparation for travelling with the pump, but overall I had a very good experience and wanted to share a little of what happened to me, and what to expect for those who haven’t air-traveled with a pump.
The first thing to keep in mind is that diabetes doesn’t play fair. Just because you will be gone for 2 days doesn’t mean that you don’t need to pack insulin and site change supplies. For my 5 day trip, I packed two vials of insulin, two separate blood sugar meters and their corresponding test strips, and enough supplies for three site changes and two CGM changes, and their insertion devices, overtape, band aids, and the list goes on.
Was all of it necessary? Absolutely! A site could have failed, a vial could have been dropped and broken, etc. I split the site change supplies between my carry-on bag and my suitcase so that way if I lost my luggage, I’d still have some supplies with me. (Insulin, of course, was in the carry-on).
We left a day early and spent the night in Chicago. I was worried because we had to get a hotel with a fridge/freezer for my insulin, which cost us a bit extra, but was worth it of course. I was able to re-freeze my cooler pack in the freezer part and keep my insulin cold in the fridge. (This is the cooler pack I used for my insulin – I found it stayed quite cold for several hours longer than advertised!) Don’t forget, do NOT pack your insulin in your luggage! It needs to be carried on for so many reasons. Just trust me.
(photo from cnn.com)
The TSA looks so scary, but I promise they aren’t!