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Diabetes Health Center

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Tips for Traveling With Diabetes

Insulin Injections

If you are traveling on an airplane and you need an insulin injection during your flight, follow your usual procedure with one difference: Put only half as much air into your insulin bottle as you normally would. The pressure is different in airplanes than on the ground.

Time zone changes of 2 or more hours may mean you need to change your injection schedule. Check with your doctor for special instructions.

Keep the temperature of your insulin between 33 F and 80 F. Don’t freeze it or keep it in the sunlight.

On the Road Foot Care

Follow these tips to keep your feet healthy away from home:

  • Pack at least two pairs of shoes so you can change them often. This will help prevent blisters and sore pressure points.
  • Pack comfortable shoes, socks, and a first aid kit to treat minor foot injuries.
  • Do not go barefoot. Instead, wear shoes that are specially made for ocean or beach walking. Protect your feet at all times when you’re walking by the pool, in the park, on the beach, or swimming in the ocean.
  • Do not wear open-toe shoes, including sandals and flip-flops. If your toes aren’t protected, you raise your risk of injuring them.
  • Follow your daily foot care routine.

How to Handle an Emergency When Out of the Country

If you have an emergency and you don’t know where to go, try to reach the American consulate, the Red Cross, or a local medical school. Try to learn helpful phrases in the local language such as: "I need help" or "I have diabetes, where is the hospital?" or "I need sugar."

Another resource for English speakers who need to find medical help is the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers (IAMAT) ( You can reach IAMAT at 716-754 4883.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on October 09, 2015
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