Useful Tips for Travelling with Diabetes (Part 2)

The Gist of It:

  • Hassle-free tips for breezing through airport security smoothly.
  • How to keep your insulin and diabetic kit intact during flight.
  • Foot care tips to ensure you don’t miss any touristy landmarks.

Traveling with diabetes can be a little tricky and you may require to bring more stuff and do more planning than the rest. So we’re here to make things easier for you! In part 1 of this article we covered the pre-holiday stuff, like what to pack and what sort of arrangements to do etc. If you have not read part 1, you can click here.

In the Air


Getting through airport security has always been tiresome, especially with long lines and grumpy staff. So here are some tips to get through hassle-free:

  • Be sure to inform security that you are diabetic and that you are carrying medical supplies. Your supplies can be taken through security check points, but they must have a prescription label on them.


  • Your doc’s letter should explain your condition and the need for your kit. If you encounter any problems, speak with a senior manager because air travel with diabetic kits should no longer be an issue. Click here to read AirAsia’s policy on flying for diabetics.


  • All of your supplies should have a proper manufacturer’s label.


  • Syringes will be allowed through security if you have insulin as well.


  • If you are wearing an insulin pump you must inform security. They can only visually inspect the meter. You must request that the meter and pump inlet not to be removed or adjusted.


  • Keep your diabetic kit in your carry-on luggage. DO NOT check these supplies with your luggage in case it gets lost. The cargo holding area of the plane is not heated or insulated well. Medicine and supplies can be damaged as insulin cannot be exposed to extreme hot or cold. The cabin temperature is just fine.


  • Some airlines may request for all medication to be surrendered to the cabin crew during flight, so be sure to remember the name of the crew for emergency purposes especially on long-haul flights.


  • If you need an insulin injection during your flight, just follow your normal procedure but with one crucial change: put only half as much air into your insulin bottle as you normally would. The pressure is different in airplanes than on the ground [1] .


  • Once landed, be sure to check your insulin for any damages. If you spot crystallisation, discard it and immediately seek local supplies [2].


  • Time zone changes of two or more hours may mean you need to change your injection schedule. (Check with your doc for specific instructions).

On Foot 


People with diabetes require special foot care and problems often happen when there is nerve damage (neuropathy). This can cause tingling, pain, burning, or stinging and even weakness in the foot. It can also cause loss of feeling in the foot so you may injure it without knowing. Poor blood flow or changes in the shape of your feet or toes may also cause problems [3].

  • Pack comfortable shoes, socks, and a first aid kit to treat minor foot injuries.
  • Be sure to pack at least two pairs of shoes so you can change often. Changing shoes helps prevent blisters and relieve pressure points.
  • Try to avoid open-toe shoes, sandals, flip-flops, or anything similar as it increases your risk for injury and infection when your toes are exposed.
  • Do not go barefoot. Instead, wear shoes that are made for ocean or beach walking. Protect your feet at all times when you are walking by the pool, in the park, on the beach, or swimming in the ocean.
These water shoes would do great at the beach: Source:
  • Check your feet before you go out and when you’re back. Look out for red spots, cuts, swelling, and blisters. If you cannot see the bottoms of your feet, use a mirror or ask someone to help.
  • If you have corns or calluses, try to seek a local clinic and do not attempt to remove any skin or ingrown nails yourself.
  • Keep your skin soft and smooth. Rub a thin coat of skin lotion over the tops and bottoms of your feet but not between your toes.
  • Keep the blood flowing to your feet. Put your feet up when sitting if you can but be mindful of the local customs (and table manners). Wiggle your toes and move your ankles up and down for 5 minutes, two to three times a day. Don’t cross your legs for long periods of time as this will obstruct the blood flow.
  • Having trouble getting the right kind of shoe? Click here.

Be sure to…

Check your sugar levels more frequently than usual, check your diabetic kit for any damages, check your feet for any injuries, and take lots of pictures to show off to your friends who were stuck in the office filling in for you.

A souvenir for your doctor(s) is definitely a must but leave out the details of all those unhealthy local cuisine you’ve consumed. Be safe and be good!


HealthWorks is currently running a series on diabetes, click here to read more on this silent killer.


 As a diabetic, how are you taking care of yourself nutritionally? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page!

Persatuan Diabetes Malaysia (
Global Diabetes Community (
American Diabetes Association (

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