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Type one diabetics

Travel Forums General Talk Type one diabetics

1. Posted by gracexx (Budding Member 19 posts) 4y Star this if you like it!

Just a general enquiry are there any travellers out there that are type 1 diabetics??? Im travelling to USA, NZ, OZ and Asia...I'm getting mixed reviews on how much insulin I can take so I'm going to take loads...any advice ill be happy

2. Posted by Kev87 (Budding Member 8 posts) 4y Star this if you like it!

Exactly the same boat!

Im type 1 and looking to go to asia then oz.

My plan was to get about 3 months worth but when you get to oz you can get a medicard which will get you insulin etc for about $35 instead of 100+.

I think you may even be able to claim the cost back as there is some healthcare agreement in place between UK and Australia.

Ive just recently came back from the states, but i was only there for 3 weeks, travelled down the east.

When are you looking to go?


3. Posted by Kev87 (Budding Member 8 posts) 4y Star this if you like it!

See this guys blog - very helpful.

4. Posted by gracexx (Budding Member 19 posts) 4y Star this if you like it!

KEV!!!!! I can't be paying that much ;) im backpacking i want it for free lol

On a more serious note lol i contacted the diabetes NZ and they told me to bring as much as i can so worst comes to worst customs will take it off me but what can you do? Its worth a try just make sure you've got a letter and prescription to take and copies :)

5. Posted by becciology (First Time Poster 1 posts) 4y Star this if you like it!


I am a Type 1, Brittle Diabetic that is a pump patient and I have traveled to the Middle East, Asia and Australia. Word of advice. Do not skimp. It isn't worth it.

Airline carriers will allow you to bring an "extra" bag on board for medical supplies. I usually bring pens, vials, needle caps and syringes. These do need to be refrigerated. Depending on your airline, not US, they may put your vials in their fridge. If it is US, they will not. But here are some options to keeping the unused medicine cold. You can take an empty water bottle (flat you can get it at the dollar store), give it to the flight attendant and ask her to freeze it. Once frozen you can put it in a thermal travel pack and it should stay cold the duration of your flight. If you are taking multiple flights you will have to empty the bottle before deplaning and do this again on your next flight.

What I do is I buy a polar pack and put ALL of my medicine in a Thermos bag (you can get it at Target). I then take a large ziplock bag and put my needles, syringes, etc. I put this is a backpack and carry it on board.

Always make sure you have an updated medical letter from your doctor giving you clearance to take vials, syringes and have snacks on you at all times. This is very important especially when traveling to Asia because having syringes on you might have people wondering if you have other non - medical uses for them.

In Asia, like Kuala Lumper, you used to get medicine fairly cheaply. I believe you can only get Humalog in the hospital but you can buy Novolog pen. I forgot the cost, but about 5 years ago it was like $30 for a box. I believe the cost has gone up. The plus side is that you just need to prove you are a Type 1 Diabetic (hence the letter) and you need medical supplies and they will happily help you. You can also get test strips, lancets, alcohol swabs, really anything except pump supplies.

In Australia, the pharmacists are very nice. I have had to get Diflucan because of a horrible yeast infection. Keep this in mind, with the changing time zones and off sugars you may get a yeast infection. If so, when you go to the pharmacy, their numbers are not like the US, so they may want to take a finger test to see your numbers for themselves. Their range is like 1-10 or something like that. I had to show them my glucometer and show them that my sugar was high (like 200). After that, she was very helpful and gave me the medicine (like $20-30 US, and it included the cream!) I was very happy because the same medication costs around $60. The last time I ran out of insulin in Australia, my husband's uncle went to the pharmacy for me. I believe it cost around $80/vial for Humalog (August 2012). It was expensive. But, then again, everything is expensive down there.

I would suggest you take as much insulin as you can. If you are going to be gone for 3 months, take 3 vials and 3 months worth of supplies. When you get there, i suggest you buy the pens. They are easier to store and travel with. If you tell the pharmacist (K.L - Malaysia) you are traveling internationally, they will pack it for you with dry ice for the journey. When I came home about five years ago, I brought home the boxes of pens - long acting and short acting. Make sure you know exactly which type of insulin you want. They are the same manufacturers and brands, but some have different names and you need to be familiar with your own so that you do NOT get the wrong medicines.

If you are a pump patient. I always use my pump when traveling (plane, train, boat rides). When traveling through different countries you just dont want to be caught in a situation where the area you poke isnt sanitized properly. Plus, it makes it a huge hassle. Also, going through so many different time zones will be chaotic on your body. Having to keep track of when to take your long acting might be confusing. It is also important to NOT rely on airport and airplane food to keep your numbers up. I ALWAYS bring good snacks with protein and candy to keep my sugars up.

When you are going through security, keep in mind that your pump will not go off and if they see the pod protruding, if you have Omnipod, you will be asked to lift your shirt, touch it and they will swab it for bomb powder. If they do not see it, they will let you through, no worries. When you are putting your medicine through the conveyor belts (with all the liquid from the vials, pens and Polar Ice ) they will not say anything to you. As long as you have it neat, organized, separate and a doctor's letter you are good to go.

Once you get situated, and you are planning to do day trips, ect. I like to take off my pump and switch to injections. The reason is because when I am in Dubai and I go to the waterparks, I have gotten my brand new pod ripped off me while riding the rides. That sucks because those are so expensive and valuable. It is much easier to use long acting and bring a pen to give my dosages especially if I am going to be doing a lot of water sports. If I had a Medtronic pump, I might consider keeping it on, just using the cap and having a ziplock bag handy to put my pump in while swimming.

I have traveled many years with diabetes and all over the country, including Africa with little problems. It is easier to get the medication you need without paying to see a doctor. Most pharmacists are very knowledgeable and willing to help you. Credit cards are taken and you can ask them the exchange rate if needed. Also, crestor and other expensive medications you might be on, may be cheaper so feel free to ask.

I do know that I personally would not plan on getting any of my medication in Australia, as a foreigner, the exchange rate is just too high. However, in Asia the tables turn and everything is open. You will pay less or about the same for medications. Good luck!


[ Edit: Edited on 28-Jul-2013, at 00:50 by becciology ]