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TheDiabetesCouncil.com

Diabetes Travel Insurance Guide

Modified: Jun 17, 2020 by Lianne Fachetti, ABA · This post may contain affiliate links ·

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Let’s face it, traveling can be a nerve-wrecking experience. There are so many uncertainty factors that can occur and leave you stranded in a very undesirable situation. As a diabetes patient, you have even more to worry about other than catching the next flight, hoping they have your diabetic meal ready, and praying that your luggage will safety arrive at the destination ready for pickup.

You have to worry about how to handle unforeseen health problems that may arise during flight or while you are at your destination. But worrying can only cause unwanted stress and fluctuation of your blood level. Instead of spending the time to worry, why don’t you spend the time to better plan and prepare for your trip.

In this article, we will discuss about why it is a great idea to invest in a travel insurance in the first place. We will explain how your current Medicare plan policies are extremely limited regarding to foreign location health coverage, and why your Medigap supplement plan is simply insufficient for traveling emergency expense needs. We will introduce you to a list of insurance companies that are willing to overlook diabetes as a pre-existing condition, and provide you with three best policy choices in our opinion.

And to help you lower your insurance cost, we have provided you with some alternative options and suggestions that may be overlooked. We hope that by providing you with various solutions, you will be looking at traveling and travel health insurance at a new angle.

Reasons to Buy Travel Insurance

Do you really need travel health insurance, medigap isn’t for everyone, an overview of medigap plans, thediabetescouncil top 3 choices for travel insurance, what other options do i have.

One of the ways to ease your distress is to get yourself a travel insurance policy. By simply paying for the service ahead of time, you can end up saving a lot of money and easily resolve numerous traveling nightmares such as:

  • You missed your flight or your flight has been canceled
  • Your bags are lost and your medication is in it. You now need an emergency prescription
  • Your wallet and passport are missing, and you need emergency cash and a replacement passport.
  • You are in an accident and there is no adequate medical
  • You need to cancel your trip due to illness, sudden emergency events or work complication
  • Your cruise line, airline, or tour operator goes bankrupt, and you are stranded at your destination
  • You have a medical emergency at your travel destination
  • A terrorist attack occurs where you are planning to visit, and you wish to cancel your trip
  • Sudden weather forces you to evacuate from your destination

I also recommend reading these related articles:

  • Can Diabetes Bankrupt a Country?
  • The Growing Impact of Diabetes
  • Quality of Life: Privileges, Benefits, Rights?
  • Everything You Need To Know About Traveling With Diabetes
  • Can Diabetes Type 2 Be Reversed? Experts Answer

The answer is YES . For all the current Medicare diabetes patients who are not enrolled in Medigap Plans that cover foreign travel medical emergency services, Medicare will not pay for health care or supplies you get outside the United States.

The definition “outside of United States” means any place other than the 50 states of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands. However, there are 3 exceptions to the rule that would allow you to receive coverage outside of United States under the Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B.

  • You are in the United States when you have a medical emergency, and the foreign hospital is closer than the nearest United States hospital that can treat your illness or injury.
  • You are traveling through Canada without unreasonable delay by the most direct route between Alaska and another state when a medical emergency occur, and the Canadian hospital is closer than the nearest United States hospital that can treat your illness or injury. Medicare determines what qualifies as “without unreasonable delay” on a case-by-case basis.
  • You live in the United States and the foreign hospital is closer to your home than the nearest United States hospital that can treat your medical condition, regardless of whether it is an emergency.

And same as the policy applied to services in the United States, Medicare will only pay for the Medicare-covered services you receive in a foreign hospital. You will be responsible for any other treatments or medication you receive that are not covered by Medicare Part A and Part B.

Medigap sounds like the perfect solution for securing a traveling insurance. However this standardized supplementary plan isn’t available to everyone. In some States, the law requires that you must be at least 65 years old to qualify for the supplement plan.

Other States has made it a legal right for you to obtain at least one kind of Medigap coverage before you reach age 65. Here is the list of the States that will allow the enrollment of Medigap ( please note that there are specific restrictions to certain States ):

diabetes_map_Medigap_coverage

  • California (excluding those under 65 and with end-stage renal disease)
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware (only available to those with end-stage renal disease)
  • Massachusetts (only available to those with end-stage renal disease)
  • Mississippi
  • New Hampshire
  • North Carolina
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Dakota
  • Vermont (excluding those under 65 and with end-stage renal disease)

Depending on which Medigap Plan you have already enrolled in, you may be covered for any medical expense you have incurred in your travels.

The Medigap plans that includes foreign travel emergency service will pay 80% of the billed charged for covered services outside the United States after you meet a $250 deductible for the year. There is one exception; Plan F also offers a high-deductible plan.

If you choose this option, this means that you must pay for Medicare-covered costs up to the deductible amount of $2,180 in 2016 before your Medigap plan starts paying for anything. For all these Medigap plans, the foreign travel emergency coverage has a lifetime limit of $50,000 .

Please note that if you live in Massachusetts , Minnesota , or Wisconsin , you have a different standardized Medigap policy.

  • Massachusetts:

Massachusetts’s Supplement 1 Plan covers foreign travel emergency.

The basic Medigap plan will cover 80% of your foreign travel emergency expense. And the Extended Basic Medigap Plan will cover 80% of your foreign travel emergency expense until you reach the $1,000 out-of-pocket cost for the calendar year. Afterwards, the plan covers 100% your foreign travel emergency covered services expense.

Plans known as "50% and 25% Cost-sharing Plans" are available. These plans are similar to standardized Plans K (50%) and L (25%). A high-deductible plan ($2,000) is also available. These policy will cover foreign travel emergency.

Lifetime Limit of $50,000 Is Not Enough

$50,000 really will not cover all the medical expenses should an emergency situation occurs. To give you a simple example, if you travel from California to British Columbia, Canada where you are faced with an emergency medical situation and require hospital care, one single night at the hospital will cost $100.

But with the medication and equipment use, you will need to pay much more than $100 per day depending on your needs. Instead of staying in Canada for the treatment, if you wish to fly home to California for the treatment, the special arrangement can easily be upward of $15,000.

This whole ordeal will quickly drain your lifetime limit and you will have to pay all the excess expense out of your own pocket. Afterward, you can never tap into the foreign travel emergency coverage ever again.

How does Pre-Existing Waiver Work?

Instead of relying solely on Medicare, there are many insurance companies that specialize in traveling insurance. Many will deny coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions or exclude any claims related to the pre-existing condition.

But there are there are some companies that will cover medical expenses relative to your diabetic condition by offering a waiver. Depending on the insurance company, your pre-existing diabetes condition can be waivered if you fulfill these requirements:

  • You must insure at least your trip’s full prepaid non-refundable cost (some companies do not require you to insure the full prepaid trip cost, but you still need to put down a deposit),
  • Depending on the insurance company, you must get your policy within the limited days after you pay your earliest trip payment ,
  • You must cover your trip’s full length, and
  • You must be healthy enough and be able to take the trip on the set date. (If you insist on traveling against your doctor’s advice, the insurance company has the right to cancel your policy or refuse to cover your claims.)

Another factor you have to consider is the “ Lookback Period ” policy of the insurance company. In order to waive your pre-existing condition, you must have proof that your condition is “stable”. According to the policy definition, “stable” means that the person with the pre-existing condition has not already taken a turn for the worse, and not in a state where any changes are foreseen, known, or expected that could cause the person to “take a turn for the worse”. Depending on the company, the Lookback Period can be 60, 90, 180, or even 365 days prior to the travel insurance policy’s effective date.

According to the policy definition, “stable” means that the person with the pre-existing condition has not already taken a turn for the worse, and not in a state where any changes are foreseen, known, or expected that could cause the person to “take a turn for the worse”. Depending on the company, the Lookback Period can be 60, 90, 180, or even 365 days prior to the travel insurance policy’s effective date.

List of Insurance Policies that Includes Pre-Existing Waiver:

#1 Top Choice: CSA Travel Protection Custom Luxe

topchoice

The company will waive the pre-existing conditions provided that you meet the following requirements:

  • Coverage is purchased prior to or within 24 hours of your final trip payment,
  • You are medically and physically able to travel at the time the coverage is purchased, and
  • You insure 100% of your prepaid trip costs that are subject to cancellation penalties or restrictions

CSA Travel Protection is easily the top choice as they are the only traveling insurance company that allows the purchase of a policy within 24-hour of final trip payment date. Even though the company requires that you have to pre-insure your trip cost in case of trip interruption (their trip interruption coverage is 175% of trip cost), you can claim the cost as $0 if you are willing to go without cancellation or trip interruption coverage. If you do decide to purchase the policy ahead of time, you have a 10 day free look period. Should you find a better policy elsewhere, they are happy to refund your money. Besides that, CSA has two unique features. The first being the maximum trip length as 356 days. Second, they have a 24-hr hotline with a stand-by doctor to answer your questions and concern. Should an emergency situation occur, you are always a phone call away from assistance. The only drawback of CSA Travel Protection is that they have a very limited selection of policies, and their Lookback Period is 180 days.

#2 Second Choice: HTH TripProtector Preferred

2nd choice

The HTH TripProtector Company will waive the pre-existing conditions provided that you:

  • Purchase the policy within 21 calendar days after your initial trip deposit date,
  • Insure your trip’s full prepaid, non-refundable cost, and
  • You are medically able to travel at the date of the trip

HTH TripProtector Preferred is the second runner-up in our selection. Although you are required to purchase a policy within 21 days after your initial trip deposit date, HTH offers many advantages. The first big selling point is that their policy will accept up to $100,000 for pre-existing condition coverage and $500,000 for Secondary Emergency Medical coverage. Another big selling point is that their Lookback Period for pre-existing conditions is only 60 days. Unlike many other insurance companies, HTH will cover trips to Cuba.

#3 Third Choice: MH Ross Complete

3rdchoice

The MH Ross Company will waive the pre-existing conditions provided that you:

  • Purchase the policy within 15 calendar days after your initial trip deposit date,
  • Insure part of your full prepaid trip cost as set by the company policy, and

Similar to HTH TripProtector, MH Ross Complete policy will accept up to $100,000 for pre-existing condition coverage and has a Lookback Period of only 60 days. But unlike the first and second choices, the MH Ross Company does not require you to insure the full prepaid trip cost but only a percentage of the cost. At the same time, they offer an option of advance payment to a hospital to secure your admission in case of emergency.

This is a great policy for busy working individuals as cancellation due to work reasons coverage is included. The downside for this policy is that there is no lower price for children coverage. So if your child is the diabetic patient who requires the waiver, you will have to pay full price for his or her coverage.

Depending on where you are traveling, choosing to purchase a traveling insurance policy at your travel destination may be cheaper and “friendlier”. For example, Canada Manulife CoverMe Travel Insurance allows coverage of diabetic patients provided that their condition is stable in the 180 days before the effective date of insurance. As stated in their policy, changing in medication brands and routine adjustment of insulin dosage are allowed as long as the prescriptions are not newly prescribed or stopped.

There are a few companies in the UK that will provide similar policies as well. However, if you do choose to go with this option, make sure you plan and purchase ahead of time as some policies will require a 24 hour activation period in which the company is not obligated to cover you should any emergency event occurs.

Another option to explore is to ask your credit card companies about any insurance policies included with your Visa or Mastercard. For some credit card companies, members will have free enrollment to traveling insurance policy should they purchase the trip on their credit card.

This will include cancellation of the ticket, rebooking of flight, lost luggage expenses, and even luggage replacement. With added purchase, health insurance may be included as well. This way, you can purchase a lower coverage waiver policy and only use it for your diabetes emergency needs.

Enjoy your Trip

Your trip should be filled with great memories of fun. By doing your research early on and paying for a traveling health insurance policy, you will have a much better control of any unplanned situations. While you are choosing the right plan, remember to read the policy thoroughly and make sure you are reading the correct State policy.

At the same time, ask lots of questions from different sources. By knowing the policy details, you can plan ahead what to do should specific health problem arises. This way, you can take the best advantage of your coverage without having to pay out of your own pocket for unnecessary expenses.

Please post any further suggestions for articles down below in the comments section.

TheDiabetesCouncil Article | Reviewed by Dr. Sergii Vasyliuk MD on June 02, 2020

References:

  • https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/library/features/traveling-with-diabetes.html
  • https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/ndep/vacation.html

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travel insurance for type 1 diabetes

About Lianne Fachetti, ABA

Lianne Fachetti holds a degree in Biopsychology. With a keen interest in both psychological and biological aspects of behavior forming, she has worked as a researcher at the UBC Brain Research Centre for seven years focusing on the research of memory formation, neural damage from epilepsy, and hormones' effects on behavioral changes. She is also a certified ABA therapist for autistic children.

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Adele DiRende a RoamRight Blog Author

Will travel insurance cover diabetes?

Living with diabetes shouldn’t stop you from traveling. Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you deserve to have fun and relax on vacation as much as anyone else. However, you should know what kind of coverage travel insurance can provide to you.

Living with diabetes shouldn’t stop you from traveling. Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you deserve to have fun and relax on vacation as much as anyone else. However, when it comes to insuring your trip, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Is diabetes considered a pre-existing medical condition?

Travel insurance generally excludes pre-existing medical conditions. This means that if you need to cancel your trip due to a situation related to your diabetes, you may not have coverage.

For most Arch RoamRight plans, a pre-existing condition is defined as:

Any illness, disease, or other condition during the 180 day period immediately prior to the Effective Date of Your coverage for which You or Your Traveling Companion, Business Partner or Family Member: 1) received or received a recommendation for a test, examination, or medical treatment; or 2) took or received a prescription for drugs or medicine. Item (2) of this definition does not apply to a condition which is treated or controlled solely through the taking of prescription drugs or medicine and remains treated or controlled without any adjustment or change in the required prescription throughout the 180 day period before Your coverage is effective under this policy.

The 180-day “look back” period may vary based on the plan selected (Pro and Pro Plus plans have a shorter, 60-day look back period).

In summary, if you have diabetes and in the past 180 days, have not had or been recommended for any test, examinations or medical treatments for the disease, AND your prescription medications have not changed, your diabetes is not classified as a pre-existing condition. Therefore, travel insurance coverage may be available.

How to purchase travel insurance if your diabetes is a pre-existing condition

If your medical situation has changed recently, such as having tests recommended and medication changes, you may still be able to have travel insurance coverage.

With most Arch RoamRight plans, the clause that excludes pre-existing conditions can be waived when certain criteria are met. These criteria are:

  • You purchase your policy within 21 days of making the initial payment on your trip;
  • You insure all of the Travel Arrangements that are subject to cancellation penalties and restrictions;
  • You are not disabled from travel when you purchase your travel insurance policy; and
  • The booking for this trip is your first and only booking for this travel period and destination.

When you meet all four of these conditions, any trip cancellations or travel medical emergencies related to your diabetes may be covered.

Diabetes and Travel Insurance Coverage during Severe Emergencies

Rest assured – there are two cases where travel insurance can provide coverage for complications from diabetes, regardless of whether it is considered a pre-existing condition or not. These are Emergency Medical Evacuations and Repatriation of Remains.

You may be in good health, safely managing your condition when you plan to go on a trip. However, medical emergencies can still occur. If you experience diabetic complications and need emergency medical treatment that cannot be provided in the local area, you may be covered for an emergency medical evacuation.

It’s happened before – just watch this story about a man who experience major complications due his diabetes while he was in Antarctica.

Learn More about Traveling with a Medical Condition

There are several places where you can get more information about traveling with a medical condition. You may be interested in these posts found here in on the Arch RoamRight Travel Insurance Blog:

  • When Travel Insurance May Cover Pre-Existing Conditions
  • Will Your Health Insurance Cover You Abroad?

Note: Available plans and coverages may have changed since this blog was published.

  • travel insurance
  • Trip Planning

Related Posts

Arch RoamRight recently launched two plans on our website; learn the differences between the plans. 

Volcanic eruptions are natural disasters that may be covered events under Arch RoamRight travel protection plans. From minor disruptions to catastrophic events, volcanos can affect travelers around the world.

  • New Requirements for U.S. Citizens Traveling to Europe Starting in 2021 Starting in 2021, Americans visiting many popular European countries will need to go through the ETIAS process.

About the Author

Adele dirende.

Adele DiRende, a RoamRight Blog Author

Adele DiRende is a Marketing Intern currently pursuing a degree in Mass Communications at Towson University. Although the wallet of a college student is not kind to those with a passion for travel, Adele has experience in international travel to places like Italy and the UK, as well as domestic travel around the U.S. In addition to travel, Adele enjoys photography, music, and creative writing. Connect with her on LinkedIn .

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Beyond Type 1

Travel with T1D

Traveling is one of life’s great pleasures and people with type 1 diabetes (T1D) are taking off and exploring the world with ferocity. The key to getting the most out of a trip borrows from the Boy Scout adage: Be Prepared. If you have T1D you can go anywhere and do anything, you just need strategies firmly in place.

T1D Travel Tips

1. Whether traveling for work or pleasure, know your destination. People with diabetes live everywhere and they all need supplies. Just make certain you know where to find them and how to seek medical help if needed! The International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers is a great resource. Locate the hospital nearest to where you are staying that also takes your insurance.

2. Check with your health insurance to understand if you have coverage at your destination. Purchase additional travel insurance if needed, with coverage for pre-existing conditions.

3. Gather your arsenal of supplies and don’t pack light! Go for twice as many supplies as you normally would need. It’s smart to split supplies between two bags—a carry-on and a suitcase, for example—in case of loss or theft, but keep insulin in your hand held luggage to protect from cargo bay temperatures. Include:

  • An extra meter
  • Extra pump reservoirs and infusion sets—many pump companies will provide a “loaner pump” for overseas travel at no extra cost
  • Insulin and syringes in case your pump fails
  • If you pick up insulin abroad, buy new syringes as well (American insulin and syringes come U-100, while other countries sell U-40 or U-80)—understand what you are injecting!
  • Pack a few days’ worth of any prescription or over-the-counter medication that’s a part of your regimen—make sure medicines are clearly labeled as to what they are, with dosage/timing details, etc
  • List of all prescriptions and a copy of health insurance details in case you need to refill anything

Use our complete Daily Diabetes Care Kit  as a packing list for supplies.

4. Identify yourself! Carry a letter from your doctor with your care routine and wear a medical ID bracelet or tags. Have your emergency contact information handy at all times.

5. Know your rights— especially when traveling through airport security. Feel free to identify your needs to the agent in charge before approaching the scanner. You are allowed to carry your medical supplies, including emergency juice and liquids, even if greater than 3 ounces. Manufactures typically recommend removing your pump or continuous glucose monitor (CGM) before going through the full-body scanner and also recommend not sending devices through the x-ray machine. You can request a hand inspection and pat down if preferred.

In the US travelers requiring special accommodations or concerned about checkpoint screening may ask a checkpoint officer or supervisor for a Passenger Support Specialist who provides on-the-spot assistance. Request a Passenger Support specialist ahead of time by calling the TSA Cares USA hotline at 1-855-787-2227 approximately 72 hours prior to flight.

Read Type 1 & TSA: What to Know Before Taking Off  (for USA and Canada)

6. Time zones—stick with yours until landing! As a general rule, diabetes management is based on a 24-hour cycle and adjustments in insulin are most recommended if traveling through more than five times zones. By keeping the time set to the original departure zone, dosing for meals will be easier, just remember to adjust all clocks upon landing. If traveling west, the day is longer and more insulin may be needed, traveling east means a shorter day and possibly less.

7. Create a worst-case-scenario backpack.  In anticipation of long waits or unexpected delays, be sure to carry plenty of “low” supplies as well as carb-free snacks and any other necessities.

8. Create a packing list for all future travel and check and double check—especially when moving between locations. Consider keeping clear plastic bags of extra supplies all ready to go. These on-the-go bags make preparing easy—just check to be sure you haven’t depleted supplies or any are expired—then grab and go.

More on Travel

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Ketones — the 6 must-knows -, how diabetes impacts your mental health -, understanding your a1c -, signs of type 1 diabetes -.

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Travel Insurance for Diabetics

Comprehensive travel insurance can give you the peace of mind to really enjoy your travels whether you have:

  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Pre-Diabetes

Defacto Rated

Living with diabetes doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy your much-loved holidays. Specialist diabetes Travel Insurance will provide you with up to unlimited medical emergency expenses cover while you’re abroad, including repatriation back to the UK.

Specialist Travel Insurance for Diabetes

Specialist Diabetes Travel Insurance will help you get access to crucial medication, such as insulin, in the event of an insured emergency when you are abroad, and cover the costs. It’ll also cover you for any unexpected hospital trips, or even for medical repatriation back to the UK.

Living with diabetes doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy your much-loved holidays. It is important though to have specialist Travel Insurance to cover unexpected medical costs relating to your diabetes.

  • An estimated five million people live with diabetes in the UK, according to Diabetes UK. 
  • Research shows that two-thirds of diabetics do not have good diabetic control while travelling – meaning an increased risk of unexpected hospital stays .
  • The cost of a single vial of insulin is around $100 (£80) in the US , and between $15-20 (£12-£15) across Central and Southern America, as well as in Asia.

This is where our Travel Insurance for Diabetes is vital. We make sure you’re covered for unexpected medical costs throughout your trip, and we’ll also protect you if you have to cancel or come home early due to sickness.

What cover does AllClear’s Diabetes Travel Insurance provide?

What’s covered?

  • Medical cover – AllClear policies include emergency medical cover, including diabetes and any other existing conditions you may have. This includes prescription medication like insulin and medical equipment. 
  • Cancellation and curtailment – Cover for your flight and accommodation costs if you unexpectedly have to cancel before you go, or need to return home early following an emergency.
  • Your baggage – Protection against the cost of stolen, damaged or lost luggage and personal possessions. You can also choose to add extra cover for gadgets to your policy.
  • Travel delays and missed departure – If your flight is delayed, we’ll compensate you for the time. If you miss your flight, you’ll also be covered for accommodation and transport costs.
  • Personal liability – Cover for your legal expenses and any liability due if you accidentally injure someone or damage their property while you’re away on holiday
  • All ages – We think Travel Insurance should be available to as many people as possible, that’s why our Travel Insurance for Diabetes has no upper age limit

What’s not covered?

  • Deciding not to travel – We do not provide any cover if you can travel but choose not to.
  • Other regions – Your Diabetes Travel Insurance won’t cover you if you travel outside your chosen region, although you can contact us to upgrade your policy at any time. 
  • Claims below the value of excess – You’re not covered for claims that fall below the value of the excess stated in your policy
  • Medical conditions you fail to declare – You need to provide us with an accurate medical history when you buy Travel Insurance so we can provide you the right cover. This is especially vital for senior travellers, and those with long-term illness.
  • Winter sports – While most of our policy options cover all ages, we do not cover anyone over the age of 65 for winter sports like skiing or snowboarding.

We tailor all our travel policies to your specific requirements, which is why we have three different levels of policy available: Gold, Gold Plus, and Platinum.

SWIPE TO COMPARE POLICIES

* If you buy a policy which includes cancellation cover. / All these figures are per person and per trip.

What types of diabetes are covered by AllClear’s Travel Insurance?

We cover both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. 

  • Type 1 Diabetes: For those who have type 1 diabetes, the pancreas (a small gland behind the stomach) doesn’t produce any insulin. This is the hormone that regulates blood glucose levels. Sometimes called insulin-dependent diabetes, type 1 diabetes is the less common of the two types. Around 8% of diabetics have type 1 .  Our type 1 Diabetes Travel Insurance covers you for medical emergencies, helping you to avoid unexpected medical bills.
  • Type 2 Diabetes: It’s estimated that more than 2.7 million people are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in the UK. In some cases, this can be managed with diet and exercise, but type 2 diabetes can vary in severity. This is why we tailor your Travel Insurance to meet your needs and ensure the premium accurately reflects your condition.
  • Pre-Diabetes: Pre-diabetes is when your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be classed as type 2 diabetes. While you may not necessarily show symptoms, you’re at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Our Travel Insurance offers peace of mind by covering medical emergencies related to blood sugar fluctuations and ensuring you’re protected if your trip is disrupted due to a pre-diabetic episode.

How to get Travel Insurance when you have diabetes: what we’ll need to know

Before you get a quote, you will need to complete the medical screening process . 

To do this, you need to answer a few simple questions about your conditions – including diabetes – to ensure that we can give you the right level of cover. 

Examples of questions asked during medical screening include:

  • Do you take insulin for your diabetes?
  • How many unplanned hospital admissions have you had for diabetes in the last two years?
  • Do you have high blood pressure or problems with cholesterol? 
  • Do you have any other health conditions that are caused by or related to your diabetes, such as nerve damage, or problems with your feet, vision or kidneys?

Remember that you need to declare all your conditions for your insurance policy to be valid. If you don’t, you may find that your policy is invalid and you have to cover any unexpected medical costs from your own pocket.

AllClear’s Travel Insurance for diabetics with other pre-existing medical conditions

 Diabetes can often lead to other conditions, or it might be that there is a secondary condition that is not related. At AllClear, we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to travel.

We’re a Specialist Medical Travel Insurance provider , and we’ve helped cover more than 3.5 million+ travellers for their trips around the world. In fact, we can cover more than 1,300 medical conditions. If you have diabetes and are planning to take a trip, we’re here to help.

If you’re getting Travel Insurance for Diabetes, you must declare all your pre-existing medical conditions during the medical screening process as part of your quote, whether that’s for you or anyone else on your policy.

For policy reasons, we define a pre-existing condition as anything where you have: 

  • Been to a hospital, clinic, or GP surgery to have medical treatment diagnosed or advised within the last two years. This also applies to remote consultations, either on the phone or through an app.
  • Been placed on a waiting list which might mean you’ll have to miss your trip.
  • Been told you have a terminal illness.

Examples of other pre-existing medical conditions we cover include:

  • Heart Conditions – We cover all cardiovascular issues affecting heart function, including high blood pressure and atrial fibrillation . We’ll also provide cover if you have a pacemaker .
  • Respiratory problems – This includes conditions that are linked with, or cause breathing difficulties, like asthma and COPD . 
  • Cancer -. We cover all types of cancer , gallstones  
  • Musculoskeletal conditions – Conditions that affect your bones, muscles, and joints, including back problems , osteoarthritis and osteoporosis .
  • Neurological conditions – Disorders affecting the brain and nervous system, including strokes , epilepsy and multiple sclerosis .

Find the best Travel Insurance for your trip

Diabetes isn’t a barrier to exploring the world, and neither is Travel Insurance. But each holiday is different, and so is the type of Travel Insurance you need. So, the real question is – what are you doing on your trip?

  • Heading off for a cruise? Cruises need an extra-special kind of cover, to protect you against things like cabin confinement, missed departures and even unused excursions. Luckily, our Cruise Insurance has all that. 
  • Big family holiday? Our Family Travel Insurance can cover the entire family (up to 10 people), in a single policy. Less hassle, less paperwork, more time having fun. 
  • Golfing trip? Our Golf Travel Insurance is what you need, with extra cover against lost clubs and unused Green Fees. 
  • Planning a staycation? Our UK Travel Insurance covers you against cancelled accommodation or any other holiday mishaps. 
  • Multiple holidays this year? Our Annual Multi-Trip Travel Insurance has you covered, no matter how many trips you do this year.
  • One big trip? Our Single Trip Travel Insurance covers you for up to 365 days of consecutive travel.

How our Travel Insurance for Diabetics works: A simple 3 step quote process

Our 3-step quote process is quick and simple and designed to provide you with comprehensive worldwide cover.

Here’s how it works.

1 . Get a quote online or by phone

Once you’re ready to start the quote process, the first step is to provide your personal details and information about your holiday and travel plans. This can be completed over the phone with one of our team members or online.

Get your quote

2. Complete our simple medical screening process

You’ll need to declare that you have diabetes, as well as any other medical conditions you have. We’ll also ask you for details on any medications you and your travel companions are taking. Be sure to answer all our medical questions and tell us everything we need to know about your current health. 

This way, we can provide the cover that best suits your needs.

3. Get your quote

You’ll then get your quote(s) and can either proceed to buy or save your quote at this stage.

Letitia Smith

“We know managing diabetes doesn’t stop when you travel.  Unexpected situations can arise, and having the right travel insurance can make a big difference.  Our specialists policies are designed with diabetics in mind, offering cover for emergency medical expenses and unexpected trip disruptions related to your condition.  Get a free quote today and see how easy it is to enjoy your adventure with peace of mind. ”

Letitia Smith MSc, Travel Insurance expert

What our customers say

Quick and easy to use for the cover i need....

“Due to many years of type 1 diabetes and the worry of covid 19, I decided my holiday insurance was priority to relax and enjoy my holiday.” 

Thinking of booking with us? You’re in good company. Here’s what our other customers had to say about us.

What our Customers Say

Frequently asked questions on diabetes travel insurance, how much is travel insurance for diabetics.

The cost of your Travel Insurance for Diabetes will depend on

  • Your type and severity of your diabetes
  • Other pre-existing medical conditions : If you’ve got any other health conditions,  this will impact your premium. 
  • Your age: How old you are will affect the cost of your Travel Insurance policy. This will likely be more expensive as you get older , as your risk of illness or injury increases.
  • Trip duration: The longer you’re away, the greater the odds of a claim, and hence, the impact on the policy premium.
  • Chosen destination: Some places have a higher risk than others, and some have more expensive healthcare systems, meaning that the cost of your quote will change.
  • Activities: While we cover some activities as standard, you’ll need to pay an additional premium to take part in others, like Winter Sports .
  • Additional cover: You may want to include extra cover for a special type of holiday, such as a cruise or golfing holiday .

Do you have to declare diabetes for travel insurance?

Yes, you must declare diabetes as a pre-existing medical condition when buying Travel Insurance. You will be asked which type of diabetes you have and if you have any other conditions as part of the medical screening process .

Do you have to declare prediabetes for travel insurance?

Even if you’re still at the prediabetes stage, you will still need to declare this during the medical screening process . You’ll still need to get your prediabetes covered as it could lead to you needing medical attention abroad.

You may have been placed on blood pressure tablets due to the diagnosis, or you might have had a dosage changed due to prediabetes. This will affect the type of treatment and the cost of the treatment you may need while away.

Is a GHIC card enough to cover you when travelling if you have diabetes?

It is not enough to rely on the GHIC card, especially if you have diabetes. While the GHIC (formerly EHIC) covers your immediate medical costs while you’re in Europe, it does not cover any other additional medical costs – for example, transport to and from the hospital.

The GHIC also does not cover any other holiday mishaps, like cancellations or lost luggage. The UK Government recommends that all travellers get the right Travel Insurance policy , in addition to the GHIC.

Get the most out of your trips with our helpful guides

Where are you visiting?

Explore our helpful guides for tips. They’ll help you remember everything you need when travelling to one of the below destinations.

What activities do you have planned?

Whether you’re planning a skiing holiday or setting sail on a cruise, remember to add the cover you need to your policy for a worry-free trip.

  • United Kingdom
  • Cruise Travel Insurance
  • Golf Travel Insurance
  • Winter Sports Travel Insurance

Written by: Letitia Smith | Travel Insurance Expert Last Updated: 12 June 2024

† Based on Trustpilot reviews of all companies in the Travel Insurance Company category that have over 70,000 reviews as of January 2024. AllClear Gold Plus achieved a Which? Best Buy.

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Home > Knowledge & support > Living with type 1 diabetes > Everyday life > Travelling

Travelling with type 1 diabetes

In this section, preparing to travel, work out what supplies you need.

Take some time to work out how much insulin, test strips, glucagon, glucose tablets, lancets, needles and set change equipment you need. When you’re packing, take three times as much medical equipment as you expect to use.

If you use an insulin pump, take insulin pens and insulin cartridges in case your pump fails, along with manufacturers’ helpline numbers for any countries you’re visiting.

Make sure you pack emergency supplies for the journey and for days out once you start your holiday.

Keeping insulin cool

Buy some medically approved cooling packs to keep insulin cool in hot weather while you’re out and about. Make sure they’re medically approved, otherwise you may not be able to take them through airport security .

Tips on packing

Divide supplies between bags just in case you lose one.

If you’re flying, don’t put any of your insulin in your checked-in luggage as it can freeze in the hold. Instead, keep it with you in your hand luggage.

Get information about where you’re going

Make sure you check the government website for information about where you’re travelling to.

It’s a good idea to check where the nearest pharmacy or hospital is so that you can get there quickly in an emergency.

Make sure you’ve got the documents you need

You will need to take a doctor’s letter with you to prove that you have type 1 diabetes and need to carry medical supplies. Your GP or Diabetes Healthcare Team can provide you with this.

Take a medical prescription with you in case you need to get supplies while you’re away, and a diabetes identity card or bracelet.

Print off a Medical Device Awareness Card to show airport security that you are carrying type 1 diabetes tech. If you don’t have a printer, you can email Rachel Crawford at [email protected] to arrange to have one sent to you. Get more information about taking tech through airport security.

Many airports provide a hidden disability lanyard for people travelling with type 1. Find out more about how to get one .

Prepare for varying insulin doses

You may find you need to vary insulin doses for very active holidays or places where the weather is hot or cold, which may affect your blood glucose levels.

If you’re doing activities like swimming for extended periods, test your blood glucose level regularly. In the evening and night, your blood glucose level could drop after periods of activity, so beware of night-time lows.

Learn more about managing your glucose levels around exercise and physical activity .

Insulin absorption is more rapid in a hot climate so watch out for after-meal lows, followed by a spike. If you’re on a pump, use the dual or square wave function.

Planning is key

Travelling with diabetes checklist.

Download the Diabetic Travelers Network’s checklist to help you plan for travel and make sure you take everything you need.

Travelling by plane

Do you need a doctor’s letter to take diabetes supplies on a plane.

You will need to take a doctor’s letter with you to prove that you have type 1 diabetes and need to carry medical supplies, especially when you go through airport security. Your GP or Diabetes Healthcare Team can provide you with this. This letter will also allow you an extra bag to carry diabetes supplies.

Can you take insulin on a plane?

Yes, but only as hand luggage (though you will need to put it in a separate plastic bag to go through security). Temperatures in the hold can drop to freezing which will affect the effectiveness of insulin.

Can you take insulin pens on a plane?

Yes. Keep your insulin pens in your hand luggage so you have easy access to them.

Can you take blood glucose meters on a plane?

Yes. Keep it in your hand luggage in case you need to check your levels whilst you’re in the air.

Can you take an insulin pump on a plane?

The reduction in atmospheric pressure on planes can sometimes cause them to deliver insulin by accident. This can be caused by air pressure, dissolved and/or visible bubbles or the plunger moving.

The following steps are recommended for insulin pump users going on flights:

  • The cartridge should only contain 1.5ml of insulin
  • Disconnect the pump before take-off
  • After take-off, once the plane is at cruising altitude, take the cartridge out of the pump and remove any air bubbles before reconnecting (it’s recommended that you don’t disconnect your insulin pump for longer than an hour, but check with the manufacturer or your Diabetes Healthcare Team).
  • After the aeroplane lands, disconnect the pump and prime the line with two units. Then reconnect the pump
  • If there’s a flight emergency involving cabin decompression, disconnect the insulin pump

Can you take a continuous glucose monitor or a flash glucose monitor on a plane?

You can use continuous glucose monitors (CGM) or flash glucose monitors on a plane and connect them to the handset or your phone using Bluetooth. They will still work if your phone is on airplane mode.

Airport security

You can take some items, like insulin pens, safely through airport security. Other equipment – like insulin pumps – may be damaged by x-rays and scanners. Find out more about taking type 1 tech through airport security .

Food and travel

When you’re travelling, make sure you take snacks with you – don’t rely on having to find somewhere in case you need to eat quickly or treat a hypo.

Aeroplane food

Contact your airline before you travel to tell them you have type 1 diabetes so that they can accommodate you. You can also ask to be served your food first.

Long train and car journeys

If you’re going on a long train or car journey, make sure you have plenty of snacks with you in case you’re not able to stop when you need to.

If you’re buying food on the train, wait for it to arrive so that you can judge how much insulin you need.

Managing insulin across time zones

If the time zone change is less than four hours, you don’t need to change how you would normally take your insulin. Talk to your Diabetes Healthcare Team before you leave for your trip to get their advice on how to manage your diabetes across time zones.

You can find information about how to manage changes in times zones (going east to west and west to east) in the Diabetes Travel Network’s Guide to Traveling with Diabetes .

Type 1 diabetes and travel insurance

Travel insurance is available for people with type 1, although it may be slightly more expensive. You can usually find insurance to cover things like medical expenses and loss of insulin and devices (find out more about insuring type 1 technology ).

When buying insurance, you will need to give details about how your type 1 has impacted you, for example, if you’ve had any hospital stays within a certain period of time.

The Global Health Insurance Card

If you’re travelling in European countries (apart from Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland) carrying a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) will entitle you to low cost or free medical care. Formally known as a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), you can find out more on the government website .

Long-term travel

If you’re travelling over a period of weeks or months, you can still follow the guidance on this page. Ask your Diabetes Healthcare Team to prescribe enough supplies to cover the length of your trip (up to six months).

It may seem like a lot to pack in your suitcase, but it will prevent you having to spend time looking for places to get supplies when you’re away.

Insulin is available almost everywhere, but it’s a good idea to check if your insulin is available in the country you’re travelling to. You can do this by checking the manufacturer’s website. Sometimes brand names are different in each country, so make sure you know what yours is before you go.

If you need to get your supplies abroad, you can use your travel insurance .

Travelling with Type 1 Diabetes guide

Download the Diabetic Travelers Networks® ’ Guide to Travelling With Diabetes ‘ for information and tips on travelling with type 1.

This content was created in partnership with Julie Kiefer from the Diabetic Travelers Network®.

Shared stories

Julie Kiefer in South America. Julie is a traveller with type 1 diabetes.

“You deserve to go on holiday, to have fun, to feel understood” – travelling the world with type 1 diabetes

“I have travelled to 28 countries and navigated through 3 different health care systems with type 1. It is through planning, and some trial and error, that I discovered what works and what doesn’t and gained the knowledge and experience to travel freely with type 1.”

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  • Plan Your Trip
  • Safety & Insurance

Travel Checklist For Type 1 Diabetes

Published: October 17, 2023

Modified: December 28, 2023

by Siusan Eckert

  • Travel Tips

travel-checklist-for-type-1-diabetes

Introduction

Traveling with type 1 diabetes can present unique challenges, but with the right preparation and knowledge, it shouldn’t hinder your ability to explore the world. Whether you’re planning a tropical getaway or a cross-country road trip, taking the necessary precautions will ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey.

Living with type 1 diabetes requires constant management of blood glucose levels, medication, and supplies. Traveling adds another layer of complexity to this, as you have to navigate logistical issues, different time zones, and unfamiliar environments. However, with careful planning and attention to detail, you can embark on your adventures with confidence.

This comprehensive travel checklist for type 1 diabetes will guide you through the essential steps to ensure a safe and stress-free trip. From medication and supplies to navigating local healthcare resources, we’ll cover all aspects to help you maintain proper diabetes management while enjoying your travels.

Remember, preparation is key. The more proactive you are in addressing potential challenges, the more relaxed and enjoyable your trip will be. So, let’s dive into the checklist and make sure you’re fully prepared for your next adventure.

Medications and Supplies

Before embarking on your trip, it’s crucial to ensure you have an ample supply of all the necessary medications and diabetes-related supplies. Here are some key considerations:

  • Stock up on insulin: Make sure you have enough insulin to last the duration of your trip, accounting for any unexpected delays or changes in your treatment plan. It’s also wise to carry an extra vial or pen in case of mishaps or breakages.
  • Pack extra test strips and lancets: Accurate blood glucose monitoring is vital while traveling. Pack additional test strips and lancets to account for potential usage in different time zones, as well as any loss or damage to your regular testing supplies.
  • Carry spare pump supplies: If you use an insulin pump, carry spare infusion sets, reservoirs, and batteries. It’s a good practice to have backups in case of malfunctions or equipment failures.
  • Organize medication in a clear, labeled bag: Keep all your medications, including insulin, oral medications, and emergency supplies, in a well-organized bag. Ensure that they are properly labeled with your name, prescription details, and dosage instructions.

It’s also wise to divide your medications and supplies between your carry-on and checked luggage. This way, even if one bag gets lost or delayed, you’ll still have access to essential items.

Additionally, familiarize yourself with any regulations or restrictions concerning carrying medications and supplies in your destination country. Certain countries may have specific guidelines or require documentation, so it’s always advisable to check with the relevant authorities or consult your healthcare provider.

Doctor’s Note and Prescription

When traveling with type 1 diabetes, it’s essential to carry a doctor’s note and a current prescription for your medications. These documents serve multiple purposes and can come in handy in various situations:

  • Customs and security checks: A doctor’s note and prescription can help expedite the process at airport security checkpoints, especially when carrying large amounts of medication or medical devices.
  • Emergency situations: In the event of a medical emergency or if you need medical assistance while abroad, having a doctor’s note and prescription can help local healthcare professionals understand your condition and provide appropriate care.
  • Insurance claims: If you need to make an insurance claim related to your diabetes or medications, a doctor’s note and prescription can serve as proof of your condition and the necessity of your treatments.

When obtaining a doctor’s note, ensure that it includes relevant information such as your diagnosis, a list of your medications and supplies, and any specific instructions or recommendations for managing your condition while traveling.

Additionally, it’s a good idea to carry copies of your prescriptions, including the generic names of your medications, in case you need to purchase additional supplies during your trip or in case of loss or theft of your medications.

Remember to keep your doctor’s note and prescription in a safe and easily accessible place, such as your carry-on bag or a travel organizer, so that you can present them when necessary.

Travel Insurance

When traveling with type 1 diabetes, having adequate travel insurance is essential. It provides coverage and peace of mind in case of unexpected medical emergencies or incidents related to your condition. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Medical coverage: Ensure that your travel insurance policy includes coverage for emergency medical expenses related to your diabetes. This should include hospitalization, doctor visits, medications, and any necessary medical procedures.
  • Pre-existing condition coverage: Check if your travel insurance policy covers pre-existing conditions, including diabetes. Some policies may have specific terms and restrictions, so it’s important to review the policy details and speak with the insurance provider if needed.
  • Emergency medical evacuation: Diabetes-related complications can sometimes require urgent medical evacuation. Make sure your travel insurance includes coverage for emergency medical evacuation to ensure you can receive appropriate care in a timely manner.
  • Lost or stolen supplies: Travel insurance can also provide coverage for lost or stolen diabetes medications and supplies. This can help you replace essential items without incurring significant out-of-pocket expenses.

Before purchasing travel insurance, thoroughly review the policy to understand the coverage and any limitations or exclusions. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact the insurance provider directly to clarify the details.

It’s also worth considering travel insurance that offers 24/7 emergency assistance services. These services can provide immediate access to medical professionals who specialize in assisting travelers with medical conditions like type 1 diabetes.

Remember to carry a copy of your travel insurance policy, along with the insurance provider’s contact information, in case you need to file a claim or require assistance during your trip.

Glucose Monitoring

Maintaining proper glucose monitoring is crucial when traveling with type 1 diabetes. Here are some tips to help you effectively monitor your blood glucose levels during your trip:

  • Pack extra glucose meters and test strips: Ensure you have at least two glucose meters with you in case of loss, damage, or malfunctions. Also, pack enough test strips to last the duration of your trip, considering potential usage in different time zones and any unexpected delays.
  • Carry a backup battery or charger: Make sure you have a spare battery or charger for your glucose meter to avoid running out of power. This is especially important when staying in areas where access to batteries or charging points may be limited.
  • Keep supplies in a cool and dry place: Extreme temperatures can affect the accuracy of glucose meters and test strips. Store them in a cool and dry area, away from direct sunlight and excessive heat or humidity.
  • Monitor frequently: Traveling can introduce changes to your routine, such as different foods, activities, and time zones, which can impact your blood glucose levels. Aim to monitor your levels more frequently than usual, especially after meals, before and after physical activity, and at regular intervals throughout the day.

It’s also important to keep a record of your blood glucose readings and any notable observations. This can help you identify patterns, adjust your insulin dosages if needed, and share relevant information with your healthcare provider upon your return.

If you plan to travel to a location with a significant time zone difference, consider gradually adjusting your testing and medication schedule a few days before your trip. This will help your body acclimate to the new time zone more smoothly.

Remember, proper glucose monitoring is the key to effectively managing your diabetes during your travels and ensuring you can enjoy your trip while keeping your blood glucose levels within the target range.

Insulin and Storage

Insulin is a critical medication for individuals with type 1 diabetes, and proper storage is crucial to maintain its effectiveness. Here are some important considerations when it comes to insulin and storage during your travels:

  • Carry extra insulin: Ensure that you have an ample supply of insulin for the duration of your trip, accounting for any unexpected delays or changes in your treatment plan. It’s wise to carry extra insulin in case of breakages or mishaps.
  • Keep insulin cool: Insulin should be stored in a cool environment to maintain its potency. If you’re traveling to a warm climate, consider using a cooling pouch or a small insulated cooler bag to store your insulin. Avoid exposing insulin to direct sunlight or extreme temperatures.
  • Use gel packs or ice packs: Gel packs or ice packs can help keep insulin cool during travel. Place the insulin vials or pens next to the gel pack or ice pack in your insulated bag or cooler to maintain a safe temperature.
  • Avoid freezing insulin: Freezing insulin can render it ineffective. Be cautious if you use ice packs to cool your insulin and ensure that they don’t come into direct contact with the medication.
  • Check expiration dates: Before your trip, check the expiration dates of your insulin supply. Make sure that you’re not carrying expired insulin and that you have enough for the duration of your travels.

If you’re traveling by air, avoid putting your insulin in checked luggage, as the temperature in the cargo hold can fluctuate and impact the medication. Instead, keep it in your carry-on bag where you can monitor it more closely.

It’s also advisable to carry a glucagon kit for emergency situations where severe hypoglycemia occurs. Make sure your travel companions are aware of its location and how to use it if needed.

By taking proper precautions and following these guidelines, you can ensure that your insulin remains effective and your diabetes management stays on track throughout your journey.

Snacks and Supplies

When traveling with type 1 diabetes, it’s important to always have snacks and supplies on hand to manage your blood glucose levels. Here are some essentials to consider:

  • Carry a variety of snacks: Pack a mix of quick-acting carbohydrates, such as glucose tablets, granola bars, or fruit, to treat low blood sugar episodes (hypoglycemia) while on the go. Make sure you have enough supplies to last the duration of your trip, taking into account any potential delays.
  • Choose non-perishable snacks: Opt for snacks that don’t require refrigeration or can withstand different climates. This ensures that you always have a backup option, even if you’re in an area without immediate access to refrigeration.
  • Pack portioned snacks: Pre-portioning your snacks can help you manage your carbohydrate intake more effectively. Use small resealable bags or containers to separate snacks into appropriate serving sizes, making it easier to maintain your meal plan and blood glucose control.
  • Carry a blood glucose meter and testing supplies: Make sure you have your blood glucose meter and testing supplies readily available. This allows you to monitor your blood sugar levels regularly, especially after consuming snacks or meals.

Remember to also have an emergency supply kit that includes glucagon, spare batteries for your devices, extra lancets, and syringes or pen needles, in case any of your regular supplies become damaged or lost.

When you’re exploring new destinations, it’s important to familiarize yourself with local food options and their carbohydrate content. This will help you make informed decisions when selecting snacks or dining out.

Lastly, be mindful of the timing and content of your snacks, especially if you’re engaging in physical activities or experiencing significant changes in your daily routine. Adjust your insulin doses accordingly and consult with your healthcare provider for guidance on managing your blood glucose levels while traveling.

Carrying Identification

When traveling with type 1 diabetes, it’s crucial to carry proper identification that indicates your condition. Here are some key identification documents and items to consider:

  • Medical ID bracelet or necklace: Wearing a medical ID bracelet or necklace is essential in helping others identify your condition in case of an emergency. The ID should indicate that you have type 1 diabetes and may require immediate medical attention.
  • Diabetes identification card: Carry a diabetes identification card that includes your name, contact information, emergency contact details, and any important medical information. Keep it easily accessible in your wallet or travel organizer.
  • Copy of your prescription: In addition to carrying your medication, it’s wise to have a copy of your prescription for insulin and other diabetes-related supplies. This can help verify your need for these items when crossing borders or dealing with local authorities.
  • Contact information for your healthcare provider: Keep your healthcare provider’s contact information handy. This can be beneficial if you require medical assistance while traveling or need to consult them in case of any questions or concerns.

In addition to carrying proper identification, it’s essential to inform your travel companions about your condition and provide them with instructions on how to assist you in case of an emergency.

If you’re venturing to a location where the local language may be different, consider carrying a translated card or document that explains your condition and any specific instructions for managing your diabetes. This can ensure effective communication with healthcare professionals or locals who may need to assist you.

By carrying proper identification and making it easily accessible, you can quickly communicate your medical needs and ensure timely assistance in case of any diabetes-related emergencies during your travels.

Emergency Contact Information

When traveling with type 1 diabetes, it’s crucial to have emergency contact information readily available. Here are some key contacts to consider including in your travel plans:

  • Emergency contact at home: Provide a trusted family member or friend with your detailed itinerary and contact information for the duration of your trip. In case of an emergency, they can be reached to communicate with healthcare providers or assist with any necessary arrangements.
  • Local emergency services: Research the emergency phone number for the country or region you’re visiting, and ensure it’s easily accessible. This is important in case you need immediate medical assistance while abroad.
  • Contact information for your healthcare provider: Carry the contact details of your primary healthcare provider, including their name, phone number, and email address. They can offer guidance and support in case of any diabetes-related complications or concerns.
  • Contact information for your endocrinologist or diabetes specialist: If you see a specialized diabetes healthcare provider, include their contact information as well. They may be able to provide specific advice or recommendations based on your personal medical history.

Ensure that you have these emergency contacts stored in your phone and also carry a physical copy in your wallet or travel organizer. This will ensure that you can quickly and easily access this vital information in case of any emergencies.

Additionally, if you’re using a diabetes management app or device that provides emergency contact information, make sure it’s set up with the appropriate details and accessible to others if needed.

Remember to inform your travel companions about the emergency contact information and ensure they know how to access it on your behalf. It’s important that everyone is prepared to act swiftly and effectively in case of an emergency.

Knowledge of Local Healthcare Resources

When traveling with type 1 diabetes, having knowledge of local healthcare resources can be invaluable. Here are some important considerations to ensure you’re prepared:

  • Research local hospitals and clinics: Prior to your trip, identify hospitals and clinics in the areas you’ll be visiting. Find out if they have diabetes specialists or endocrinologists available, and note their contact information in case you need medical assistance or advice during your travels.
  • Understand the healthcare system: Familiarize yourself with the healthcare system in your destination country. Determine if you will require any specific documents or insurance coverage to access healthcare services. Be aware of any differences in how healthcare is provided or medications are obtained.
  • Consider a travel medical assistance service: If you have any concerns about accessing healthcare or need assistance in navigating the local medical system, consider enlisting the services of a travel medical assistance company. These companies can provide support and guidance for medical emergencies, help with language barriers, and offer access to a network of healthcare providers.
  • Language translation resources: If you’re traveling to a location where the local language may be different, consider carrying a pocket-sized medical translation book or using translation apps on your smartphone. These can assist in communicating your needs and understanding medical advice or instructions from healthcare professionals.

It’s also important to verify if your travel insurance covers medical expenses incurred abroad and if there are any specific procedures or requirements for making claims.

Additionally, inform your travel companions of your diabetes and provide them with information on what to do in case of an emergency. This will ensure that they are prepared to assist you and can communicate with healthcare providers if necessary.

By being proactive and informed about local healthcare resources, you can ensure that you’re prepared for any diabetes-related situations that may arise during your travels.

Language Translation and Communication

When traveling with type 1 diabetes to a location where the local language may be different, language translation and effective communication are essential for managing your condition. Here are some tips to help you navigate language barriers:

  • Learn basic diabetes-related phrases: Take the time to learn and practice basic diabetes-related phrases in the local language. This includes words or phrases for “insulin,” “glucose monitor,” “low blood sugar,” and “diabetes.” This will help you communicate your needs and understand any instructions or advice given by healthcare providers or locals.
  • Carry a medical translation card or app: Consider carrying a small card or utilizing translation apps on your smartphone that provide translations for essential medical information related to your diabetes. These translations can help you effectively communicate your condition and any specific requirements to healthcare providers or in emergency situations.
  • Use visual aids: Visual aids can be incredibly helpful in communicating your needs, regardless of language barriers. Have visual representations of insulin pens, blood glucose meters, and symptoms of high or low blood sugar readily available. This can aid in effectively conveying important information to healthcare professionals or others who may need to assist you.
  • Utilize mobile translation apps: Use translation apps on your smartphone to bridge communication gaps when interacting with locals, pharmacists, or healthcare providers. These apps can assist in translating conversations in real-time and help you understand or convey important information.
  • Consider travel companions fluent in the local language: If possible, travel with someone who is fluent in the local language or hire a local guide who can help with translation and communication when needed. Having someone who can effectively communicate your needs and understand local instructions can be invaluable.

Remember to be patient and remain calm when faced with language barriers. Keep a positive attitude and utilize any available resources to overcome communication challenges regarding your diabetes management.

By taking proactive measures to bridge the language gap, you can ensure effective communication and receive necessary assistance, enabling you to manage your diabetes effectively while traveling.

Transportation Considerations

When traveling with type 1 diabetes, it’s important to consider transportation options that will accommodate your needs and help you manage your condition effectively. Here are some key considerations for transportation:

  • Flight considerations: If you’re traveling by air, inform the airline before your trip about your diabetes and any special accommodations you may require. This includes the ability to carry your diabetes-related supplies and medications on board and access to food or snacks during the flight.
  • Carry-on essentials: Pack your diabetes medications, supplies, and snacks in your carry-on bag. This ensures that you have immediate access to them during the journey and helps prevent any potential issues due to lost or delayed checked luggage.
  • Car travel: If you’re traveling by car, plan for regular stops to check your blood glucose levels, have snacks, and take insulin as needed. It’s also essential to have an emergency kit readily available in the car, including glucose tablets, glucagon, and supplies for testing your blood sugar.
  • Public transportation: Research the accessibility of public transportation at your destination. Check if there are any specific policies or guidelines regarding carrying medical supplies and medications on buses, trains, or other forms of public transit.

Regardless of the mode of transportation, it’s important to have a clear plan in case of emergencies. Make sure your travel companions are aware of your condition and how to assist you if needed. Share information about the location of your diabetes supplies, emergency snacks, and necessary contact information.

It’s also advisable to carry a medical alert card or wear a medical ID bracelet or necklace in case you require assistance from first responders or other transportation personnel.

By considering these transportation factors and planning accordingly, you can ensure a smoother journey and have the necessary provisions to manage your diabetes effectively while traveling.

Meal Planning and Dining Out

Meal planning and dining out can require some extra consideration when traveling with type 1 diabetes. Here are some tips to help you navigate food choices and maintain blood glucose control:

  • Research local cuisine and ingredients: Before your trip, familiarize yourself with the local cuisine and typical ingredients used in traditional dishes. This can help you make informed choices when dining out and better estimate carbohydrate content.
  • Carry snacks and backup food options: Always have a stash of snacks with you to manage unexpected delays or situations where food options may be limited. This ensures that you have a backup plan to maintain your blood sugar levels when access to suitable food may be challenging.
  • Customize your meals when dining out: Don’t hesitate to ask questions and request modifications when dining out. Speak with the server or chef about your dietary needs, such as substituting certain ingredients or requesting sauces and dressings on the side to manage carbohydrate intake.
  • Portion control: Be mindful of portion sizes, especially when dining out. Consider sharing meals or ordering smaller portions to avoid overeating and minimize the impact on your blood glucose levels.
  • Timing your meals and insulin: If you’re adjusting to a new time zone, it’s important to adjust your meal and insulin schedule accordingly. Consult with your healthcare provider to develop a plan for timing your meals and insulin doses to maintain optimal blood glucose control.

Keep in mind that everyone’s dietary needs and preferences may differ, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. It’s important to listen to your body, monitor your blood glucose levels regularly, and make adjustments as needed to maintain stable blood sugar levels.

Remember to also enjoy the culinary experience while being mindful of your diabetes management. Trying new foods and flavors can be an exciting part of travel, as long as it aligns with your dietary goals and doesn’t compromise your health.

By researching local food options, planning ahead, and making informed choices, you can enjoy the culinary delights of your destination while effectively managing your diabetes.

Active Travel and Exercise

Engaging in physical activity and maintaining an active lifestyle can be beneficial for managing type 1 diabetes while traveling. Here are some tips to incorporate exercise into your travel plans:

  • Choose active travel experiences: Look for opportunities to incorporate physical activity into your travel itinerary. Consider activities such as hiking, biking, walking tours, or swimming. These activities not only provide exercise but also allow you to explore and enjoy your destination.
  • Plan for exercise breaks: Schedule regular exercise breaks throughout your trip. This could include taking brisk walks during layovers, stretching during long car rides, or finding local parks or gyms to engage in structured exercise. Set aside time for physical activity to help maintain blood glucose control.
  • Monitor blood sugar levels: Keep a close eye on your blood glucose levels before, during, and after physical activity. Depending on the intensity and duration of the exercise, you may need to make adjustments to your insulin dosage or have extra snacks on hand to prevent hypoglycemia.
  • Carry glucose tablets or snacks: Be prepared for potential drops in blood sugar levels by carrying glucose tablets or quick-acting snacks. These can be crucial in treating hypoglycemia and ensuring you have the energy to continue with your activities.

It’s also important to listen to your body and pace yourself during physical activity. Start slowly and gradually increase intensity if you’re not accustomed to regular exercise. Stay hydrated and take breaks as needed.

Incorporating physical activity into your travel plans not only benefits your diabetes management but also enhances your overall travel experience. It allows you to stay active, enjoy new surroundings, and potentially meet locals or other travelers who share your interests.

Remember to consult with your healthcare provider before your trip to ensure your exercise plan aligns with your individual needs and to get personalized recommendations for managing your diabetes during physical activities.

Managing Stress and Blood Glucose Levels

Managing stress is essential for maintaining stable blood glucose levels when traveling with type 1 diabetes. Here are some tips to help you effectively manage stress and keep your blood glucose levels in check:

  • Practice stress-reducing techniques: Incorporate stress-reducing activities into your travel routine. This can include deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, or engaging in activities that bring you joy and relaxation.
  • Stick to a routine as much as possible: Maintaining a familiar routine, even while traveling, can help stabilize blood sugar levels. Try to eat meals and take insulin at the same times you would at home, and get sufficient sleep to keep stress levels in check.
  • Stay organized and plan ahead: Being prepared and organized can help reduce stress. Plan your travel itinerary, pack your diabetes supplies in an organized manner, and have all necessary documentation readily available. This can help alleviate last-minute stressors and ensure you have everything you need to manage your diabetes effectively.
  • Stay hydrated: Proper hydration is important for overall health and blood glucose management. Carry a refillable water bottle and drink plenty of water throughout the day. Be mindful of sugary beverages that can impact blood sugar levels.
  • Take breaks and relax: Traveling can sometimes be tiring and overwhelming. Take breaks when needed, find a quiet and peaceful spot to relax, or engage in activities that help you unwind. This can help reduce stress levels and prevent unnecessary spikes in blood glucose.

It’s also important to remember that travel itself can be stressful at times, so be patient and kind to yourself. Don’t be too hard on yourself if your blood glucose levels aren’t always within your target range. Focus on doing the best you can and take proactive steps to manage stress to maintain overall well-being.

Lastly, don’t hesitate to reach out to your support system, whether it’s your travel companions, friends, or healthcare provider. They can offer advice, encouragement, and understanding during your travels.

By implementing stress management techniques and prioritizing your well-being, you can help stabilize your blood glucose levels and enjoy a more relaxed and fulfilling travel experience.

Adaptations for Different Climates

Traveling to different climates can present unique challenges for individuals with type 1 diabetes. Here are some adaptations to consider when facing different climate conditions:

  • Hot climates: In hot climates, it’s important to take extra precautions to keep your insulin cool. Carry your insulin in a cool bag or use cooling packs to prevent exposure to excessive heat. Avoid leaving your insulin in direct sunlight or keeping it in a hot car. Also, be mindful that heat can affect your blood sugar levels, potentially leading to dehydration and faster insulin absorption. Stay hydrated by drinking water regularly and test your blood sugar levels more frequently to ensure you’re maintaining good control.
  • Cold climates: In cold climates, protect your insulin from freezing temperatures by using insulation, such as a travel case or insulated pouch. Avoid leaving your insulin in an unheated area or exposed to extreme cold for an extended period. In colder temperatures, your blood sugar levels may be more difficult to control, so monitor them closely. Cold weather can also make it harder to determine if your insulin is working properly, so check for signs of effectiveness, such as stable blood sugar levels or expected response to meals or corrections.
  • Humid climates: In humid climates, moisture can affect the integrity of your diabetes supplies. Ensure that your medication and supplies are stored in airtight containers or bags to protect them from humidity. Consider using moisture-absorbing packets to keep your supplies dry. Also, be aware that increased humidity may impact how your body utilizes insulin, potentially requiring adjustments to your insulin dosage. Monitor your blood sugar levels closely to identify any needed changes.

Regardless of the climate, it’s crucial to check your blood sugar levels regularly and make any necessary adjustments to your insulin doses, activity levels, or food intake. Pay attention to your body’s response to the environment and be prepared to adapt your diabetes management accordingly.

Consult with your healthcare provider before your trip to discuss specific adaptations you may need to make for the climate you’ll be visiting. They can provide personalized recommendations based on your individual needs and help you develop a plan to maintain optimal blood glucose control in different climate conditions.

By being proactive and taking the necessary adaptations for different climates, you can effectively manage your diabetes and enjoy your travels with peace of mind.

Dealing with Time Zone Changes

Traveling across different time zones can disrupt your usual routine and have an impact on your diabetes management. Here are some tips to help you navigate time zone changes effectively:

  • Consult with your healthcare provider: Before your trip, consult with your healthcare provider about adjusting insulin doses to accommodate time zone changes. They can provide recommendations on how to gradually shift your insulin schedule to align with the new time zone.
  • Gradually adjust your schedule: If possible, start adjusting your meal times and insulin doses gradually a few days before your trip. This can help your body acclimate to the new time zone more smoothly.
  • Monitor blood sugar levels closely: When transitioning to a new time zone, monitor your blood sugar levels more frequently than usual. Time zone changes can impact your body’s insulin needs, so be prepared to make adjustments to your insulin doses based on your readings.
  • Reset your devices: If you use an insulin pump or continuous glucose monitor (CGM), adjust the time settings on your devices to match the new time zone. This ensures accurate readings and proper insulin delivery.
  • Stay hydrated and manage jet lag: Traveling long distances can lead to jet lag, which can impact your diabetes management. Stay hydrated, get enough rest, and gradually adjust your sleep schedule to minimize the effects of jet lag. This will help you maintain stable blood sugar levels and overall well-being.

It’s important to note that each person’s response to time zone changes may vary. Therefore, it’s essential to monitor your blood sugar levels closely, listen to your body, and make any necessary adjustments as needed.

If you have any concerns or experience difficulty managing your diabetes during time zone changes, don’t hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider for guidance and support.

By being mindful of the effects of time zone changes on your diabetes management and taking proactive steps to adjust, you can minimize disruptions and maintain optimal blood glucose control throughout your travels.

Additional Tips and Considerations

Along with the previous guidelines, here are some additional tips and considerations to keep in mind when traveling with type 1 diabetes:

  • Carry a backup supply of diabetes-related items: Pack duplicates of essential items, such as blood glucose meters, insulin pens or vials, and infusion sets, in case of loss, breakage, or other unforeseen circumstances.
  • Keep your diabetes supplies with you: When traveling, always keep your diabetes supplies in your carry-on bag to ensure they are easily accessible and not exposed to extreme temperatures or the risk of lost luggage.
  • Stay updated with immunizations: Before traveling, confirm that your routine vaccinations are up to date. Depending on your destination, additional vaccinations may be recommended, so consult with your healthcare provider or a travel medicine specialist.
  • Carry snacks and supplies during activities: If you plan to engage in physical activities or excursions, bring snacks, glucose tablets, and supplies to manage potential fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Be prepared for changes in activity levels and adjust your insulin doses accordingly.
  • Notify your travel companions: Inform your travel companions about your diabetes, including the signs and symptoms of low or high blood sugar, and how to assist you in case of an emergency.
  • Stay aware of food safety: When dining out or consuming local food, pay attention to proper food handling and hygiene practices to minimize the risk of food-borne illnesses.
  • Stay consistent with your self-care routine: While traveling, it can be tempting to deviate from your usual routine. However, try to maintain regular exercise, sufficient sleep, and healthy eating habits to support your overall diabetes management.
  • Stay well-hydrated: Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, especially in warm climates or during physical activities. Dehydration can impact blood glucose control and overall well-being.

Remember, everyone’s experience with type 1 diabetes is unique, so it’s important to listen to your body, monitor your blood sugar levels regularly, and adjust your diabetes management plan as needed.

Lastly, don’t forget to enjoy your journey! Traveling with type 1 diabetes may require some extra preparation and caution, but it shouldn’t stop you from exploring the world and creating wonderful memories.

Traveling with type 1 diabetes requires careful planning and preparation, but it should not deter you from embarking on new adventures and exploring the world. By following the comprehensive checklist and tips provided in this article, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable trip while effectively managing your diabetes.

From organizing your medications and supplies to understanding local healthcare resources, carrying identification, and adapting to different climates and time zones, each aspect plays a crucial role in maintaining optimal blood glucose control and overall well-being.

Remember to communicate openly with your healthcare provider, inform your travel companions, and stay vigilant in monitoring your blood sugar levels throughout your journey. Be proactive in managing stress, staying active, and making informed choices related to meal planning and dining out.

By incorporating these strategies and making necessary adaptations, you can confidently navigate the challenges of traveling with type 1 diabetes. Embrace the opportunity to create unforgettable memories and experiences, knowing that you have taken the necessary precautions to ensure your health and happiness while on the road.

With proper preparation, organization, and a positive mindset, you can embark on your travels with the peace of mind that you have the tools and knowledge to manage your diabetes effectively, allowing you to fully enjoy your adventures and make the most of your travel experiences.

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The Nomad Experiment

Travel Medical Insurance, Pre-Existing Conditions, & Type 1 Diabetes

Long-term international travel…with type 1 diabetes or other pre-existing conditions.

Everything changes when you get a life-altering diagnosis, including the complications of travel. Now, I am still fairly new to all of the ins and outs of long-term, international travel. I only changed my life and sold everything to be location independent and to travel like a nomad… just over two years ago. Then I got diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes barely a year after I sold it all … during a pandemic no less.  Now what? 

The game has changed, and I must adapt. Now I have to navigate the intricacies of “normal” daily life with Type 1 diabetes and also how to travel with diabetes. Add to that sorting all of the new prescription medications, insulins, needles, and other things that come with it. 

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But this isn’t just an article about how to travel with diabetes. This is an article about how to with travel with any life-changing diagnosis—or what insurance will call a pre-existing condition—and all of the things that are required. Yes, I have Type 1 diabetes, but a lot of the steps I’ll detail will be great starting points for anyone that wants to travel with an illness or diagnosis that requires constant upkeep.  

Read along and please share this with anyone in your life that’s struggling to move forward with travel or truly experiencing life after diagnosis. 

Note that I’m speaking from my own experience here. This process can be vastly different depending on insurance, diagnosis, state of residence, etc. But hopefully this gives you a place to start! FYI, I currently use a local plan with Blue Cross Blue Shield, so this process reflects what I went through with them with regard to meds. Could be different for you even with the same carrier. Also, there is a  lot more  to insurance than I can dive into here! (Done with disclaimers… maybe.)

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Medications, Medical Waivers, and Travel Medical Insurance with Pre-Existing Conditions

Combined with the medications for my super-awesome heart issue, I’m on three different medications “required” daily for the rest of my life. Add to that the basal and bolus insulin for my Type 1 diabetes. I also currently use a Freestyle Libre 2 continuous glucose monitor, so there are also bulky applicators for those needed for each change every two weeks. 

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For travel of a week or two, whether domestic or international, having enough of all of the above is pretty simple. I might not even need to worry about keeping insulin refrigerated if the pens are open and have plenty for me to get through the trip. But three months?

Three months of long-term international travel with insulin dependent Type 1 diabetes—or any serious medical condition—takes some serious planning and coordination both before and during travel.  

Here are all of the steps I’ve taken over the past couple of weeks to attempt to get my ducks in a row. 

What Is A Vacation Override? Getting Extra Medication For Long-Term Or International Travel.

First things first, there was a reality that my medication refills—or quantities on hand— were kind of all over the place. I do 90-day supplies normally, but I had a few weeks’ worth of a couple, six weeks of another, and two months of others. (Yes, the plan is to get all my meds on the same refill schedule.  Baby steps…)

But because I am going to be gone more than 120 days from my home state—I’m actually leaving the state 3 weeks before my Portugal trip—I had to sort out having enough to make it through those four months. I had no idea where to start, so that’s when I simply started asking questions. 

My awesome pharmacist told me that what I needed was a “vacation override” for my medications so that I could get my next refills early, which would get me through the long trip. Now, I won’t go into how complicated and messy this turned out to be for me. I’m hoping it’s smoother next time. My pharmacist said it has been quick and painless for most, but we’re guessing that because my conditions require  a lot  of medications, it simply got messy.

6 Steps For Getting A Vacation Override For Your Medications For Long Trips

  • Make sure you actually have refills  available  on your medications. If you don’t, you could need to do something like get a physical before they will approve refills. Then you’ll likely have to go to the doc before requesting your vacation override from your primary medical insurance provider.  (Raises hand slowly…)
  • Get together all of your dates and do the math on how many days of medications and units/pens/pills you’ll need. If possible, round up or see if you can get  plenty  in case you decide to extend your trip. I was able to get 90-day refills for all of mine which would cover me for almost an additional month and a half if I wanted to extend. For insulin, there’s also always the possibility that a pen goes bad, so having an extra backup or two is required.
  • Make sure you list  specific  medications and the  exact  dosages you require. Also make sure to have your pharmacy address and phone information ready. When you talk to your insurance, make double sure they have these things correct before you get off the phone!  (Smacks head since they missed a whole medication that I know we discussed, making me go through this all again…)
  • Now call your primary health insurance customer service and tell them you need to request a vacation override . Let them know you’ll be traveling for an extended amount of time. Mine didn’t ask many questions other than how long I would be traveling; essentially how much I needed. Rumor has it you can do this twice a year, but I didn’t ask specifically. 
  • Get approved… hopefully.  Then they’ll send the order to your pharmacy for you to pick up. Note that my insurance wanted this done extremely quickly. They sent the request immediately and told me I had to pick up my orders from the pharmacy within 48 hours or the order would be retracted. And my pharmacy almost never has my sensors in stock, so I got lucky this time.
  • Move on to all of the other things you need to do…

READ NEXT: Diabetes Symptoms For Noobs – My Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms & Diagnosis Gifts For Diabetic Travelers—Essential Travel Items & Unexpected Gifts

PROTIP: Know If Your Trip Spans Beyond Your Current Primary Insurance Plan’s Effective Dates

I spent literally hours on the phone, with supervisors involved, because they couldn’t figure out why things weren’t going through. Turns out my trip dates extended through the first of the year—when my current year’s health insurance policy expired and I would be on a new one. This mucked up all the bits. They then simply backed up the end date a few days to make it Dec 31 and Bob’s your uncle— all was groovy.  

traveling mailbox service review: how to get mail while traveling full-time

Travel Medical Insurance…With Pre-Existing Conditions…For Diabetics And Other Diagnoses

In my opinion, getting travel medical insurance is an absolute necessity if you’re traveling internationally. Your primary insurance likely only covers you around where you live, and you can be “out of network” with even only a short domestic trip. So when you travel internationally, the chances are your primary insurance won’t cover much. Travel medical insurance is a very important secondary insurance to have that covers you internationally.

And travel medical insurance is smart to have regardless of whether you have a pre-existing condition or whether you plan to do anything you might consider adventurous during your travels. Both for long-term travel or short trips. I’ve heard too many horror stories and had close friends deal with major unforeseen issues.

Embolisms while simply walking across a street, broken ankles on cobblestones, and malaria and more can just happen. I’ve also witnessed hostel mates fall from one story to the next, resulting in a bloody mess of broken bones below, followed by crazy hospital shenanigans.  No bueno. (More on that here… subscribe!)

Travel medical insurance is extremely inexpensive compared to a massive medical bill. You’ll also have someone to call to help you navigate any medical issues you have. They can tell you where to go and who to see at your destination. And any hospital is likely to give better care when they  know they’ll get paid,  so there’s that. 

With that said, travel medical insurance providers do make it pretty tricky for those of us with pre-existing conditions. But fear not, there are options. That said, if you haven’t gotten comfortable digging into the details of insurance yet, this is a good time to start. Read the policy and exclusions and fine print  before  you purchase a plan, and make some phone calls and ask questions before you buy, like I did. 

Important Clarification: Travel Insurance  can  just cover travel medical issues. Travel insurance can also cover many other things… often called  comprehensive  insurance…like luggage, delays, etc. We are only talking specifically about  travel medical insurance  here and not any of those other add-ons!

What Is A Look-Back Period? And What Is A Pre-Existing Condition Waiver? 

Before we get into things, you need to understand the lingo you’ll see now that you’re looking at getting a pre-existing condition covered with your travel medical insurance. 

What is a Look-Back Period?

A look-back period is the amount of time before the date of your claim/incident that a travel medical insurance provider will “look back” to see if your pre-existing condition was under control. If they see red flags or can prove that it wasn’t, they could deny your claim. In order to approve your claim, you must be able to prove that your condition was “stable” during the look-back period.

Look-back periods are typically between 60-and 180 days and should be clearly stated when buying a policy. Obviously, if your travel medical insurance claim has nothing to do with your pre-existing condition, this shouldn’t be an issue. 

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What is a Pre-Existing Condition Waiver? 

This is the “proof” you’re looking for to…hopefully…ensure that when the travel medical insurance company looks back, they have no reason to deny your claim. Specifically, this is proof “you are medically able to travel when your travel insurance policy is purchased” or that your “pre-existing condition is stable within the look-back period.” Some plans (like  Travel Guard ) fairly clearly state their requirements for getting a pre-existing condition waiver, whereas others bury it deeper in the details.

The policy I bought through  Insure My Trip  stated very clearly that it covered pre-existing conditions (with a look-back period), but still called and confirmed that I didn’t need a waiver. Some providers or policies that don’t state that they cover pre-existing conditions  could  still cover them, but you’ll want to make sure to appease them with whatever form or requirements of a pre-existing condition waiver or proof they need upfront. Other providers state right up front that they don’t cover pre-existing conditions. Guess we’ll take our business elsewhere!

Regardless of whether my plan asked for a waiver, I wanted some backup just in case. I went ahead and got a letter from all of my doctors— regardless of whether I needed it —stating very specifically that my pre-existing conditions were stable and that I was medically fit to travel. Those are signed by my doctors and I’ll keep them as a backup just in case I need them for a claim.

My backup plans even have backup plans, yo. 

getting travel insurance when you have a pre-existing condition

7 Steps For Getting Travel Medical Insurance With… Or Without …A Pre-Existing Condition

  • Research and compare travel medical insurance. I highly suggest starting where I do, with Insure My Trip. They are to travel insurance what  Orbitz  is to flights and accommodations, or  Hostelworld  is with pulling hostel options worldwide. They only work with travel insurance carriers that meet their high standards, and they work as an advocate in your favor if you ever need to make a claim. They claim that “Over ninety percent of our claims advocacy customers were satisfied with the outcome.” I don’t want to ever  need to use  my insurance, but if I do it will be nice to have someone in my corner to work as a go-between with the insurance policy provider if needed. 
  • Beyond the many companies and travel insurance policy options Insure My Trip will show you, do your due diligence and compare some others. Look at World Nomads, SafetyWing, Travel Guard, TravelEx, and others in the industry. I’ve found that only a few of them state that they cover pre-existing conditions at all, but a couple do with a waiver. So sorting through the options Insure My Trip breaks down for you is still the easiest place to  start.
  • Make sure the plan you’re looking at states that it covers pre-existing conditions. Find the look-back period and confirm whether you need a pre-existing condition waiver or not. 
  • Narrow down to a couple of travel medical insurance plans that seem to look good to you. Then download a sample policy and read the details. There is usually a download link somewhere in the quote. 
  • Make a list of all of the questions you have up to this point about waivers, look-back periods, how to file a claim, when you should purchase your policy, etc.
  • Make a call to an Insure My Trip rep and ask all the questions you have. Then call whatever provider/plan you’re looking at and ask them the same questions. If you’re getting different answers, ask again until you get clarity. 
  • When you’re as confident as possible in the travel medical insurance provider, policy, and all of the answers you’ve received, go ahead and purchase a plan. I checked, and the policy costs were identical regardless of whether purchased it through Insure My Trip or directly through the insurance provider. Feel free to do the same and purchase through whichever floats your boat. But if you want the advocacy go-between in case you need to make a claim, make sure you get the policy through Insure My Trip. 

READ NEXT: I Just Got Diagnosed With Diabetes And I’m FREAKING OUT! Gifts For Diabetic Travelers—Essential Travel Items & Unexpected

Proving You’re “Fit For Travel,” And Coordinating With Your Doctors

I want to interject here very specifically again how I approached all of my doctors  (three to be exact…)  and got letters and details for travel. I suggest you do this with plenty of lead time since, if the letter isn’t to your liking, you’ll need to go back and have them do it again. (Raises hand again… not my fault.)

Again, I didn’t technically need this, since the policy I got didn’t need a pre-existing condition waiver. This was just another layer of confidence for me to have. But I’m guessing this process would work for the waiver, depending on the requirements of certain travel medical insurance providers. 

  • Contact your doctor (or doctors if multiple) via your health portal or email, since being very specific is easiest if you can write/type it out. Feel free to let them know that this is so that you can obtain travel medical insurance and/or use it when traveling internationally through TSA or at border crossings. 
  • Request that your doctor supplies a signed letter…on letterhead…that states minimally: “[Your name] is medically fit for travel and their [insert pre-existing condition here] has been well maintained. 
  • Ask them to include a specific list of medications you’ll be traveling with, down to dosages if possible. Also, ask them to put in the letter that they are important to your well-being and should be allowed to travel with you—on your person—at all times.
  • Make sure they sign it and include contact information!
  • Ask them to keep this letter template on file so that when you travel again in the future, all they need to do is update any medications, print, and sign. (They will appreciate this, so maybe mention that you want to save them trouble down the road, along with your utmost thanks for their help!)
  • Ask them to either mail it to you or tell them you’ll pick it up. I suggest picking it up if at all possible since then you can really nail down a time frame. 
  • Minimally, keep these with you when traveling, and make a copy to keep in a safe place at home.
As I mentioned above, these are not only useful for insurance needs, but also for airports and border crossings, since you’ll likely be carrying more drugs than an extra from  Breaking Bad.

Packing For 3 Months—Carry-On Only—With Type 1 Diabetes: Destination Portugal

You might be saying…“Wait. You’re Traveling For 3 Months  Carry-On Only …with all of your diabetes meds and gear!?” Yep. This is a pretty ambitious experiment, but hey, that’s what I’m here for! Once I started traveling carry-on only, travel got so much easier. I’m not gonna give that up unless I exhaust all my options! 

This is how I travel, so learn from me. But even if you travel with checked luggage, you’ll still find some serious space savers and packing tips here. 

Packing carry on only with type 1 diabetes

Do A Test Packing Experiment To Make Sure You Have Your Sh*t Straight

I’m a month out from my trip and I’ve already done this. I literally packed everything, including all of my Type 1 diabetes medications, continuous glucose monitor sensors, insulin, lancets, strips, Glucagon, glucose tablets, etc., to make sure it all fit. Oh, and I also had to fit a 15“ MacBook Pro, a 10” iPad, Sony Mirrorless with 2 lenses, GoPro Max, Gorilla Pod, and selfie stick/tripod. Along with all the cords and batteries that go with them.

All of this packs into a  35-liter Tortuga carry-on backpack  and my Pacsafe Angry Lane backpack that I use for my personal item. 

Short or Long-Term Travel With Diabetes – Packing Medications While Saving Space

This was the biggest space-saver I made, considering I have over half a square foot of prescriptions and paraphernalia for my Type 1 diabetes and other ailments. I literally counted out the exact amount of meds and pills I needed for the trip, then added a bit for safekeeping or a possible trip extension. Same for my insulins. Here’s what I did:

  • Kept all of the prescription printouts from the pharmacy which detail the different prescriptions, dosages, and my information. These correspond with the letters from my docs which state all of my prescriptions.
  • Took the pills for each medication and put them in separate small plastic zipper baggies along with their specific prescription printout. I also labeled the outside of the bag for quick reference. Pill bottles are a huge space-waster!
  • Removed all of my Libre 2 sensors/applicators from the boxes and put 3 sets each in quart plastic bags along with their prescription printouts. NOTE that these come in pairs that need to be used together! So I may mark them to make sure I don’t mix them up. 
  • I use these handy-dandy Frio cloth coolers to keep my unopened insulin pens cold during flights and travel .  They keep things cool up to 48 hours and they are reusable. 
  • My daily use stuff lives in this case that has little ice packs if needed.  I don’t normally need to use the ice packs, but this holds all my stuff nicely and I haven’t found a better one yet. (This one’s a little boring…needs some flare. Any suggestions?)
  • Keep all of these things easily accessible when you’re traveling through security and customs along with all of the documentation we’ve talked about for when you get screened!

Packing carry on only with type 1 diabetes how to keep insulin cold

PROTIP: There may be trips where I’ll leave the Libre 2 and sensors at home and just do finger pricks and manual glucose checks. That will be dependent on the country and whether I feel it would be worth the hassle and space to pack them. Consider approaching these decisions on an as-needed basis regardless of what brand continuous glucose monitor you use…if you use any at all!

Travel With Type 1 Diabetes – Keep A Translated Explanation Of Your Condition And Travel Plans, Etc. 

TSA in United States airports has specifically stated luggage allowances for diabetics. Those are backed up and detailed here by the American Diabetes Association. But traveling through airport security, customs, and immigration in other countries is going to vary depending on the country. I’ll be carrying a bulleted list of explanations of all of these types of details both in English and in any language spoken in the countries I’ll visit. This  should  help me explain my situation when questioned, whether I understand what I’m being asked or not.

I mean, I’m pretty sure any questions I’ll get will be with regards to whether I’m a drug mule or not.  Just sayin’. 
  • I have [insert pre-existing condition(s) here] and these are my prescribed medications and letters from my doctors explaining my condition(s).
  • My insulin must stay cold at all times so I am carrying it in these insulin coolers.
  • I put my pills in bags with my prescription slips to save space since I travel carry-on only. (Here’s a quick video about why I fly carry-on only now, among other less expensive reasons…)
  • I’m traveling within [insert country/countries here] for [insert amount of days here] and have a return ticket leaving from [insert return flight origination city here]. 
  • I will leave the Schengen Zone in 88 days. (Specific to me because of the countries I’m visiting and the amount of time you’re allowed to stay there within a rolling window.)

Bullet-point minimally these details out in English and the language or languages you’ll experience in airports and at borders where you travel. Again, this is just another layer of protection for you to deal with any hurdles or roadblocks you could encounter while traveling internationally. And when you travel through airports and at borders, give yourself even more time than you typically would. 

Packing carry on only with type 1 diabetes medications

My Homework While I Travel In Portugal: Learn About The Cost Of Diabetes Supplies And What Access I Might Have For Future Trips…So I Don’t Have To Pack As Much!

The sad reality is that the cost of insulin in the United States is the highest in the world. Simple searches on these here interwebs will show you the comparisons in costs in different countries around the world. Many of those costs, while appearing low, also likely take into consideration being a citizen of that country and programs that in turn benefit those citizens. 

The goal during my long trip through Portugal is to ask  a lot  of questions at pharmacies. I want to understand my options and exactly what medications, insulin, and durable medical supplies I might be able to access while in Portugal if I need them. Do I have to get a prescription? Are my medications even called the same name? Which insulins are available to me? Needle tips? Sensors? Yep, all the questions. 

I’ll treat this as a fact-finding mission, and the more I can find out the better. My hope is that for future trips I might feel comfortable packing less if I know I can get certain meds abroad…and hopefully cheaper meds. 

But again, this will be a work in progress for trips to every new country I go to. Yes, I can find some of this information through searches, but I’m going to be there, so I might as well do the work!

READ NEXT: EXPLORE PORTUGAL! Porto Travel Guide Sintra Travel Guide Guimaraes Travel Guide Aveiro Travel Guide

Follow Along On YouTube And Instagram

If you’re still reading this, thank you! Hopefully you found something helpful! I would really appreciate it if you commented below, gave some of your own advice to me or others reading. And please share this with a friend or family member!

Then connect with me over on Instagram and follow along as I give this all a try! You can also subscribe on YouTube, since I talk about a lot of these logistics and how things are going along the way!

Happy Travels. Cheers!

Jason A Robinson The Nomad Experiment Author Type 1 Diabetes

About Jason Robinson

Jason is the author of “The Beginner Traveler’s Guide To Going Nomad,” as well as the voice behind the words and the eye behind the lens for The Nomad Experiment. “Planning to travel at some point” wasn’t actually getting the job done, so nearing 40 he decided to make it a priority, nomatter how scary that was. A few years later— through the pandemic and a type 1 diabetes diagnosis at age 42 —now living a life of nomadic travel, he’s speaking out to encourage others of any age, or with any serious medical diagnosis, to live an unconventional life.

Travel Planning Tips

Figure out where you are going & how are you getting there… I suggest using at least 2 to 3 different travel search sites. Start with Skyscanner or Orbitz or Booking  … or whatever aggregator site you prefer. Then when you see what airlines to use, check their respective sites for better deals or rewards flights.

Figure out where you’re going to stay… If you’re interested in hostels, search Hostelworld or Hostelling International. For longer-term or more private digs, look at Airbnb , VRBO, or you can look for hotel rooms in the links from the search engines listed above. 

Get comprehensive travel insurance, or in the least, travel medical insurance if internationally… Especially with Covid not going anywhere, get covered. Start with an insurance aggregator like Insure My Trip, or with SafetyWing,   World Nomads , or another. Then decide what is important to you; trip cancellation, baggage coverage, medical, or all of the above. And get a yearly evacuation plan, since you’ll have to get home after your emergency! 

Need more resources? Click here!

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Hi Jason, I’m a Type 1 diabetic now living in Portugal since March of this year on a D7 visa. Now that I have a Portuguese health number, I pay $0 for insulin and about $10 for each Libre sensor. Even when I had private insurance here, I paid about $50 for each sensor and about $35 for a box of insulin pens. So much cheaper than in the U.S. I am in the Algarve, close to Portimao which is between Lagos and Albufeira, two very popular towns. I am 52 and was diagnosed when I was 30. I have traveled to many countries with my medication and sensors and have NEVER been asked to produce any proof of medication. Just recently I traveled back to the U.S. for the summer and took quite a lot of insulin and sensors with me and also got no questions. I don’t really think that a few months worth of medication would make them think you are a drug mule. Hope you have a great time in Portugal.

Haha. Thanks! I was joking about the drug mule part. 😉 Yes, at this point, it’s “better safe than sorry” for me on making sure I have documentation. I have checked at pharmacies in Porto, etc., and yes, around $45-60 euro a box. (2 pens got frozen on flight over.) Libres much more expensive, and sofar no pharmacy has had access to Dexcom G6, but I’ll keep asking. How did you get Portugese health number? Thanks for the reply! Helpful to hear from someone on the ground! Cheers.

Hi Jason, my doctor told me Dexcom is not available in Portugal. It seemed to me that the Libre was the only CGM choice as I told her Dexcom is what I was using back in the States. I looked up Dexcom’s international site and if I remember correctly, Dexcom is available in the UK, France and a few other EU countries. I suspect that the cost of Dexcom is currently not low enough for most countries to cover. My Portuguese lawyer filled out the paperwork for my health ID #, so not sure what the actual process is but there are some good Facebook forums that outline the process.

Hi! I’m thinking about moving to Germany (or Europe) but since I have Type 1 Diabetes, I’m having a hard time finding a company that will insure me. I ask because most of long-term visas (student, digital nomad, etc.) require medical insurance. How do you navigate this when traveling and relocating long term in another country with a visa? Does travel health insurance suffice in our case?

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Diabetes and travel

You can travel anywhere with diabetes. You just have to prepare to avoid any problems.

Before you travel

  • make sure your travel insurance covers health problems related to your diabetes
  • find out where you can get your insulin in the place you're visiting, and take a recent prescription with you
  • speak to your care team for advice about adjusting to different time zones
  • if you're flying, get a letter from your GP or care team to say you have diabetes and need to take your treatment on to the plane (you may need to pay for the letter)
  • if you use a pump or a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), check with your airline before you travel about taking it on board – some airlines require paperwork for medical equipment

Packing for your trip

  • pack 3 times as much insulin, test strips, lancets, needles and glucose tablets as you'd expect to need
  • split your medicines, IDs and equipment into 2 different bags, just in case 1 gets lost
  • if you use a pump, pack insulin pens in case it stops working
  • put insulin in your hand luggage – the hold of the plane will be too cold and could damage the insulin
  • take a cool bag to stop your insulin getting too hot
  • take some form of diabetes ID, like a medical alert bracelet, to tell others that you have diabetes
  • take the contact details of your diabetic team, just in case you need their advice
  • take plenty of snacks in case there are any delays
  • do not put your pump through airport scanners or x-ray machines – let airport security know so they can check it another way

While you're away

  • be prepared to test more while you're away – hot and cold weather can affect your blood glucose levels and increase your risk of a hypoglycaemia (hypo) or hyperglycaemia
  • you may have to change your insulin dose depending on the temperature and different activities you're doing – speak to your diabetes team
  • take care if you're sunbathing, as this can affect your blood glucose levels

Diabetes UK has more information on what to do when you travel .

Page last reviewed: 20 September 2021 Next review due: 20 September 2024

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Diabetes Australia

Traveling and diabetes

Whether it’s for work or pleasure, travel can and should be fun. Having diabetes shouldn’t prevent you from experiencing the joy of travel.  

Here are the steps you should take to ensure your next interstate or overseas trip is safe, fun and hassle-free. 

Three months before departure  

1. plan your travel itinerary and make bookings .

  • If you wear an electronic device to monitor blood glucose levels (BGLs) or infuse insulin, check with the airline if they can be operated in-flight. 
  • Arrange your travel insurance for health and belongings. 
  • Check vaccination requirements. 
  • When booking your flights, you can choose to tell the airline you have diabetes so your needs are met.  
  • During booking, you can also order meals that are low in saturated fat and high in fibre and carbohydrate . You may prefer this to ‘diabetic’ meals served in-flight that can be quite bland. 

2. Check airline security regulations 

Check that you comply with Australian airline security regulations for people with diabetes:  

  • The person with diabetes whose name is on the airline ticket must carry all their own diabetes supplies, including testing equipment, insulin and Glucagon delivery devices (syringes and pen needles and insulin pump consumables) in their hand luggage. It’s advisable to pack extra insulin in checked-in luggage. 
  • Your name must appear on all insulin and/or Glucagon script labels. 
  • You must carry scripts (that are readable) for all medications. Each script must include your name, the name and type of your medication, and your doctor’s contact details. 
  • Always carry your National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) card. This serves as proof that you need to carry your diabetes equipment, including insulin, if applicable. Bring additional photographic proof of identity, such as a driver’s licence or passport. 
  • Bring several copies of a letter from your doctor (that are readable) to get you through Customs. It should outline your medical conditions, your medications, and the devices you use for your insulin and blood glucose testing. It should highlight the importance of carrying your medications with you.  
  • International travellers can carry no more than 100 ml of liquid per container, in their carry-on baggage.  

Your supplies of insulin are exempt from this rule. But you need to present the insulin at the security point with proof of your condition and need for your medication. 

If not travelling with an Australian airline, check in advance with the airline for specific security guidelines. 

3. Arrange travel insurance   

You should arrange travel insurance for you and your belongings. Make sure your health cover applies to pre-existing conditions and the places you will visit. 

Note: The Australian Government has Reciprocal Health Care Agreements with a range of countries. Travellers can avail themselves of similar benefits to Medicare by showing their Medicare card. This is limited to acute or emergency care.  

For more information, visit Medicare Australia or call 02 6124 6333.  

Two months before departure  

Talk with your doctor.

  • Get the required vaccinations. 
  • Get advice on other tablets you may need to treat diarrhoea or nausea. 
  • Check your medication/insulin adjustments, Glucagon and testing for ketones during the trip.  
  • Arrange the papers you will need to comply with airline regulations. 
  • Tell your doctor if you’re travelling to places with different time zones. Your medications and/or your type of insulin may affect your activity. Your doctor may advise you to follow your normal routine until you stop travelling, have a long sleep and then start from scratch when you wake up. Or your doctor may recommend some medication or insulin changes. 
  • Before using a support hose that prevents swelling and reduces the risk of clotting in the veins of the legs, check with your diabetes team first.  

They may not be suitable for those with conditions like peripheral neuropathy (caused by damage to the nerves in the peripheral nervous system typically affecting the hands, feet and legs). 

One month before departure  

  • Arrange all paperwork, including a letter from your doctor, medication scripts, written details of next of kin, and NDSS and Medicare cards. 
  • Prepare diabetes medication and testing devices required for the entire trip. This includes medication, insulin, syringes/pen needles or pump and consumables, lancets, test strips, meter (bring spare if possible), Glucagon and delivery devices. 
  • Check and arrange other medical requirements, including medical identification. 

What to pack  

  • Bring a small, approved sharps container, available from the Diabetes Shop or your pharmacy. Many hotels and airports offer a sharps disposal service for your used lancets and syringes. 
  • Estimate the medication and diabetes supplies you will need for the entire trip and pack more in case of loss or damage. 
  • If possible, pack a spare meter. 
  • Take a small first aid kit with you in case of aches and pains, minor cuts and burns. 
  • Pack comfortable, well-fitting shoes. 
  • Carry some form of quick acting carbohydrate, such as glucose tablets or jelly beans in case of hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar). 
  • Pack an insulated bag for storing your test strips if you are travelling to a place that may be extremely hot or cold. Don’t forget your meter’s user manual. 
  • EXTRA PRECAUTION  – Pack clearly written details of your next of kin or a family member. 

What to do in extreme temperatures  

Extreme heat or cold can affect your ability to manage diabetes. Here are some steps to take. 

  • Insulin and blood glucose test strips should be kept below 30 degrees Celsius. To protect them from extreme temperatures, take a small insulated bag available from the Diabetes Shop . Make sure to keep it in your carry-on luggage. 
  • Temperature also affects the accuracy of blood glucose results. Consult the user manual for your meter’s operational temperature range. 

Travelling by air  

  • Keep all your medication, and diabetes testing and insulin equipment in your carry-on luggage. You can split them evenly between two bags in case one goes missing.  
  • Pack a separate small bag with enough supply of insulin, injection devices, testing equipment and hypo treatment for the flight. For long flights, pack enough for the first leg and refill it before the next. 
  • EXTRA PRECAUTION  – Wear medical identification that says you have diabetes. 

At the airport  

  • Arrive early to avoid rushing. 
  • It’s considered unlikely that insulin would be harmed by security X-rays. But you may ask airport security staff to physically check you and your luggage instead if you’re concerned. 
  • You’re not required to remove your insulin pump at a security point. If this is requested, security is obliged to provide access to a private consultation room. You can also request this room if security staff want to discuss your condition. 

During the flight  

There are things you can do to ensure you have an enjoyable journey. 

  • If you wish, you can tell the flight attendant at the start of the trip that you have diabetes so your needs are looked after.  
  • Keep your diabetes supplies within easy reach, like the seat pocket in front of you. 
  • Always wait until your meal is served before you administer insulin. For added safety, you can take your insulin halfway through or immediately after your meal in case of a major unforeseen interruption. 
  • Avoid alcohol. 
  • Drink enough water to avoid dehydration. 
  • Sleep as much as you can, but ask the cabin crew or your travel companion to wake you for meals. 
  • Wear comfortable shoes and exercise your feet to prevent swelling. 
  • Walk up and down the aisle to assist circulation and keep your blood glucose levels under control, as well as to avoid deep vein thrombosis.  

Decreased activity during the flight and the amount of food you eat can increase BGLs. They can go back to normal once you’ve resumed your routine at your destination. 

When something goes wrong  

With all your careful planning, it’s unlikely that something will go wrong. But don’t worry if you need medical assistance during travel.  

Get advice from your travel insurer. You can recover the costs through health benefits or through your medical insurance once you’re back home. 

Your diabetes should not stop you from enjoying a memorable and hassle-free trip. By taking doable steps at each stage of your journey, you can have a good time.  

Stay informed  

The NDSS has fantastic resources to help you prepare for your next trip: 

  • Travel factsheet   
  • Travel and type 1 diabetes

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You should be able to get the right cover to travel abroad if you’re diabetic, making sure that your medical needs are taken care of.

Posted: 31/1/2022 | By Amanda Duffy

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Holiday insurance for diabetics means you can travel without the extra worry. Travelling with diabetes can sometimes be difficult, because it’s harder to manage your condition while you are away from home and out of your normal routines.

Consider a travel insurance policy for pre-existing medical conditions like diabetes

Why do i need travel insurance if i'm diabetic.

If you are diabetic, then you’ll understand that planning is everything. You have to prepare for travel, too, and that means getting the right travel insurance policy. Whether you have  type 1  diabetes or  type 2 diabetes , the right travel insurance means that you will stay protected – and you will be able to get any medication and help if you need it.

Travel insurance for people with diabetes should cover the cost of cancelling your holiday if you have to, as well as the expense of getting emergency help when you’re abroad.

What will I be asked in my screening process?

When you call to find out about travel cover for people with diabetes, you’ll be asked about your condition so that you can get the right kind of cover. Here are the questions that you’re likely to be asked:

  • Do you have to take medication for your diabetes?
  • Have you had to go to hospital in the past few years?
  • Do you also have high blood pressure or cholesterol?
  • Has your diabetes caused any other conditions, such as problems with your kidneys, heart, eyes, nerves or legs?

Tips for people travelling with diabetes

Travel insurance will help protect you against the unexpected. But there are plenty of other things you can do to safeguard your health while you travel.

  • Check the strength of your medication. The UK uses medication strength U-100, but in some other countries the strength is U-140 or U-80. Making sure your medication is legal in your destination country is essential.
  • Take your own syringes with you. The type of syringe you use depends on your diabetic medication, so bring plenty with you on holiday in case you can’t get the right type abroad.
  • Keep medication in your hand luggage . Not only is it to hand in case you need it, but there's a greater possibility that your hold luggage can go missing than your hand luggage.
  • Bring extra medication and testing strips. This will cover you for flight delays , and help you test more frequently while you’re away.
  • Write a checklist before you go. This is always a good idea to make sure you don’t forget anything. Read the Diabetes.co.uk guide to packing for a trip .

Insurance for diabetes type 1 and travel advice

If you travel with type 1 diabetes, then it’s a good idea to do a bit of homework before you travel. Take a letter from your doctor that explains your condition and spells out clearly the type of medication you need to take with you – useful for when you need to get through security at the airport. You should also research the area you’re heading to and find out if there’s an English-speaking doctor there.

Travel insurance and advice for diabetes type 2

After making sure you have the right travel insurance for type 2 diabetes, you should also take a few extra precautions. Write an emergency plan that explains what people around you should do – travelling across time zones can really throw your timing out, so be prepared.

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Travelling with diabetes

Travelling with diabetes means there are a few more things to think about before you set off. but living with diabetes shouldn't be a barrier to taking trips or holidays at home or abroad..

Plan to take two to three times the amount of insulin or other diabetes medication and equipment you’d normally use.  This will give you peace of mind if you have to stay longer for any reason or if there are disruptions. If you’re travelling abroad, a little extra planning can go a long way to help you relax and enjoy yourself. Don't forget your  doctor's letter  and  travel insurance .  Use our tips below to skip to other information you need.

Organise medication with your healthcare team

  • What to pack in your hand luggage .
  • Flying with a CGM, insulin pump or Freestyle Libre
  • Crossing time zones
  • Looking after diabetes in hot climates
  • Looking after diabetes in cold climates

Checklist for people travelling with diabetes

Check your airline’s guidelines for people with diabetes.

Contact your airline or other operator or look on their website for their guidelines for people living with diabetes. You may need to complete forms in advance, particularly if you use an insulin pump or continuous glucose monitor (CGM). You can also check health information for the country you’re visiting – follow the links on the  Foreign travel advice page on the gov.uk website. 

Get extra supplies of medication, device spares, and backup 

Ask your healthcare team for prescriptions for extra insulin, other diabetes medication, and if you use devices, extra supplies and manual equipment. Flying with an insulin pump, CGM or Freestyle Libre shouldn’t be a problem. But it is sensible to have back up in case of a failure. Expect to take two to three times the amount of medication or supplies you'd usually need. 

Get advice on adjusting insulin on long-haul flights

If you are going on a long-haul flight discuss this with your healthcare team. They will advise on any adjustments to your insulin injections or insulin pump - or medication that may be required if you are crossing time zones .

Request a travel letter about your diabetes  

You should get a letter from your healthcare team stating you have diabetes and that you need to carry medical supplies. This letter is often requested by airlines and other operators and is helpful in the event of an emergency. It is also advisable to take a copy of a recent prescription with you in case you should need to get supplies whilst away.

The letter should include details about your medication, if for any reason you need to carry medication in containers over 100mls, and any devices that you use. 

Download a medical awareness card 

If you use a CGM, insulin pump, or Freestyle Libre, and are flying, download a Medical Device Awareness Card  (PDF, 71KB) from the City Aviation Authority's website to go with your doctor's letter. The card is not essential, but it may make things easier. You show this to airport security officers with your letter, as it sets out the rules on screening if you wear a medical device. 

Check insulin supply in the destination country

Before travelling, find out where you can get supplies of insulin at your destination in case of emergency. Contact your insulin manufacturer before the trip to see if your insulin is supplied in the country you are travelling to. 

Insulin manufacturers - contact details

Managing insulin when crossing time zones.

Long-haul flights east or west involve crossing time zones. And you may need to adjust your insulin. Eastward travel will shorten the day, and generally mean a temporary reduction in insulin doses, whereas westward travel will extend the day, and possibly increase insulin requirements. Speak to your healthcare team for advice about adjusting your insulin doses. Have your flight details to hand including your departure time, the length of the flight, and the local time of arrival.

Time zones and tablets

If you take diabetes tablets, you are unlikely to have any particular problems. Very occasionally, it may be necessary to take extra tablets to cover a longer day. Do discuss this with your diabetes care team beforehand. 

You may, on occasions, need to leave out one dose of tablets on a short day, when you are travelling on a long west to east journey. Speak to your diabetes care team about this well in advance of the trip.

Crossing time zones and using an insulin pump, CGM or Freestyle Libre  

If you are going on a long-haul flight, you may cross different time zones.  When crossing different time zones, you may need to change the time or date on some insulin pumps manually so you get the correct basal insulin dose. Speak with your healthcare provider before you travel to get their advice on which settings to change and when.  If you use an app, the date and time on smartphones should automatically update when travelling across time zones. If you use a Freestyle Libre reader, you will manually need to adjust the time for accurate reports. 

Storing insulin

If you're travelling somewhere hot, remember that heat can damage your insulin and stop it from working properly. Insulin damaged by heat may have a brownish colour, and clear insulin may become cloudy. Do not use insulin that looks like this. 

When travelling with insulin, it is best to keep it cool by storing it in a hotel fridge (if there is one in your room) or in a cool bag (providing it does not freeze). A variety of cool bags and storage containers are available. If using a cool bag that uses plastic ice blocks, make sure that the insulin does not come into contact with the frozen plastic containers.

Get more information on managing diabetes in hot weather .

Storing insulin in cold climates

Insulin can freeze in very extreme temperatures but cannot be used if it has been frozen, so if you are planning to visit the arctic (or somewhere equally cold) make sure you keep insulin at room temperature or even on you in an inside pocket or pouch close to your body, to ensure it doesn’t freeze. 

Get more information on managing diabetes in cold weather.

Get travel insurance

If you have diabetes, travel insurance is important. You want peace of mind that any emergency medical costs for your diabetes or any other medical condition is covered. 

Make sure that any travel insurance covers pre-existing medical conditions like diabetes, as many don’t. It’s also really important you ask if they cover coronavirus in case you need treatment while you’re away.  You can also check health information for the country you’re visiting – see the Foreign travel advice page on the gov.uk website.

UK residents travelling to the EU still have access to emergency and necessary healthcare. (See the guidance on travelling with an existing medical condition if you go to the EU ). However, we still advise that you get travel insurance because free health cover provided by the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) doesn’t cover certain things like emergency repatriation (if you need to come home) and not all countries give the same level of cover as the NHS.   

If you have diabetes and planning a trip, we can help you get coronavirus-covered travel insurance with AllClear Insure My Diabetes .

What to pack in your hand luggage

  • All diabetes medication 
  • Diabetes supplies – including sensors and other device spares
  • Diabetes identity card or wrist band
  • A letter from your doctor about your diabetes and treatment and if you use an insulin pump, CGM or flash glucose monitor.
  • A prescription sheet
  • Hypo treatments 
  • Extra snacks in case of delays like nuts, fruit or a sandwich.

Split meds between separate bags if you can, for example, if you’re travelling with a partner or friend, in case you lose something. 

"Be prepared. I always travel with a backpack full of snacks, medication and everything I need. I don't rely on airport shops being open or other amenities. And when I'm in the mountains, I always have at least three snacks with me." Read Lee's story .

Can I carry insulin in my hand luggage?

Always carry insulin, other diabetes medication, device spares, hypo treatments and other diabetes supplies in hand luggage. It’s important to keep insulin in hand luggage as being in the hold can damage it as it’s so cold and luggage can be lost. 

Sensors or other device spares must go in hand luggage as they can be damaged by hold luggage X-rays.

Medication restrictions at the airport

Carrying a doctor’s letter from your GP is requested by some airlines and is helpful to show airport security if there is any confusion.  

Current security regulations state that liquid items are only allowed in your hand luggage if they are in containers 100mls or less. There is no restriction on the number of tablets you can take through airport security but they should be mentioned in your doctor’s letter.

Flying with an insulin pump, CGM or Freestyle Libre

It's sensible to look up the manufacturer's advice on flying with your particular device.

Insulin pumps are safe for use during air travel and you can continue to use CGM or flash glucose sensors whilst flying. Connect them to the handset or your phone using Bluetooth. They will still work if your phone is on airplane mode. 

When you buy your ticket, contact your airline or other operator or look on their website for their guidelines for people living with diabetes. You may need to complete forms in advance, particularly if you use an insulin pump or continuous glucose monitor (CGM). If you don't do this, in some cases it may cause delay.

If you use a CGM, insulin pump or Freestyle Libre, security staff may ask to see evidence that you need to use one – so you’ll need a letter from your GP or healthcare team to say so.

You can also print off a Medical Device Awareness Card  (PDF, 71KB) from the Civil Aviation Authority website to go with your letter. This sets out screening advice for you (the passenger) and the security officer carrying out the checks.

You should also speak to your diabetes team before you go. They can give your more advice about travelling with diabetes on planes. And should you need to remove your pump for any reason, they can provide you with any extra equipment like insulin pens and help plan your doses throughout your journey.

"Since I've been using the Dexcom CGM I’ve been surfing, I’ve been on solo holidays, I’ve been abroad. I’ve done all the things I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do when I first got diagnosed." Georgia. 

Can CGMs, insulin pumps and Freestyle Libre sensors go through airport security scanners?

Not all diabetes technology can safely go through security checks at airports. It's important to speak with your healthcare team and look up the manufacturer's security scanning advice for your particular device. We have general guidance below.

Guidance on metal detectors and CGMs and pumps

Most types of CGM/Freestyle Libre sensors and insulin pumps can be taken through the metal detector arches that you walk through. 

X-ray luggage scanners, body scanners and CGMS and pumps 

Most types of CGM/Freestyle Libre sensors and insulin pumps - and any spare devices or sensors - should not be exposed to x-ray luggage scanners, hold luggage scanners or full body scanners.  If you don’t want to remove your CGM/sensor/insulin pump to go through a full body scanner, ask for a “pat down” instead.  

You should never be asked to remove a medical device from your body for screening. And you should be offered alternative methods of screening.

Carrying a Medical Device awareness card  (PDF, 71KB) along with your GP’s letter reminds you and the security staff of the screening advice for medical devices.

What to eat on the plane

Airlines can provide information on the times of most meals so you can plan your insulin. It is best to order the standard meal, though this may not supply you with enough carbohydrates if you are on insulin or certain diabetes tablets. Cabin crew are usually able to provide fruit, crackers or rolls. On long flights, you may need snacks in between meals and at bedtime to prevent blood sugar levels going too low. If you use insulin, monitor your blood sugar levels frequently and be prepared to make changes to your dosage.

Looking after diabetes in hot climates

In hot countries, the biggest health threat is the sun, so keep covered.

Wear clothes that cover and protect your skin and make sure you wear high factor sunscreen. People often miss the backs of their hands and necks, so make sure you keep these covered and protected with sunscreen.

Sunglasses should also have a UV400 label to make sure they protect your eyes. 

Take particular care of your feet if you have neuropathy  which is numbness 
in your feet. This can mean you’re not aware skin is burning so protect them from the sun with socks or sunscreen. Make sure you wear well-fitting sandals on the beach, so they don’t burn on the hot sand.

Sunbathing and blood sugar levels

Sunbathing on the beach can make your blood sugar levels higher than normal because you're not being very active.

Your insulin may be absorbed more quickly from the injection site in hot weather too, and this increases the risk of hypos. You’ll need to monitor your levels more often and be ready to adjust your diet or insulin dose. 

Be careful of misleading test results because the extremes of temperature may affect the accuracy of your blood glucose meter.

Find out more about diabetes and hot weather .

Looking after diabetes in cold weather and climates

In cold weather, your insulin may be absorbed more slowly at first, but can then be absorbed suddenly when you warm up later in the day. This can cause you to have a hypo. If your body also uses up more energy staying warm, for example shivering, this can lead to hypos too. So it can be useful to wear layers in colder climates which will both help to keep you warm and allow you to remove clothing if you need to as you warm up.  Hypos are more dangerous in cold conditions. This is because they interfere with your body’s attempts to stay warm and increase the risk of hypothermia. So you may need to monitor your levels more often and be ready to adjust your diet or insulin dose if needed.  Guarding against hypos is really important so remember your meter may not be accurate in cold conditions. If you are heading somewhere with extreme cold weather check the meter instructions for temperatures it will be accurate at and keep it wherever possible at room temperature.  If you suffer from poor circulation or have neuropathy, it's particularly important to prevent frostbite, because the numbness in your feet can mean you don't feel the cold. Make sure you check your feet regularly in cold countries and take plenty of layers including spare socks.

Find out more about  storing insulin .

Keeping to your diabetes routines when you're away

It’s important to remember your routines for managing diabetes when you’re abroad. Your job isn’t to avoid trying new things or enjoying yourself. It’s just to be aware that eating different foods, becoming more or less active or drinking alcohol can all make a difference to your blood sugar levels. So check regularly and keep yourself safe. 

“As well as a letter from my GP, my phone comes with a health app that I’ve put information about my diabetes and medication in. In an emergency, people can access this without having to unlock my phone.” Lucy.

If you have a tummy bug or you find yourself unable to eat or drink, follow your sick day rules. If you develop covid symptoms while abroad or during travel, you must review the local regulations and follow local public health guidance if available.  If the worst comes to the worst and you find you need to go to the hospital while away, don't be alarmed if your blood sugar levels are described differently. Some countries measure blood sugar in milligrams per decileter instead of millimoles per litre - take a look at our blood glucose conversion chart below. 

Travel with diabetes

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Home › Travelling with type 1 diabetes: navigating common challenges

Travelling with type 1 diabetes: navigating common challenges

JDRF

Travelling with type 1 diabetes can be fun and safe – and with a little preparation, you’ll have peace of mind that you’ll be able to tackle any eventuality that arises. 

How to travel with type 1 diabetes  

Hopping on a plane, a ship or in the car to travel away from home is a dream many of us have. And whether you’re planning a family holiday, a solo adventure or a group trip, there’s no reason someone living with type 1 diabetes can’t have an amazing time on holidays, too.

Get started with our essential type 1 diabetes travel checklist. It offers stress-free support while you’re in the planning stages, and will help ensure you stay healthy after arriving at your destination.   

You can also watch our T1D and travel video  about what you need to know before you go away.  

1. See your GP, endocrinologist, or diabetes educator  

Booking a check-up several weeks before you leave is essential to discuss your itinerary with someone who knows your medical history. Your health care specialist can also help you plan ahead when it comes to vaccines, food you might encounter, and how to handle it when things go wrong (like an insulin pump playing up).   

It’s also a chance to flag any worries or concerns you have, especially if you’re going on a holiday that might be physically strenuous, like hiking or trekking. Similarly, your health practitioner may be able to give advice on managing your BGLs while enjoying the local cuisine.  

Plus, if you’re travelling through different time zones you can also formulate a general plan for your meals and medication. And don’t forget to discuss a strategy for sick days and how to adjust your insulin dose if required.   

TIP: If you use an insulin pump and will be travelling to a different time zone, make a note of how to change the time on your pump so you can correct it once you get to your destination. Ask your health specialist or contact the device company for instructions.   

2. Take out travel insurance for type 1 diabetes  

Travelling can raise your risk of encountering infectious illness. And for people living with type 1 diabetes, dealing with different time zones and being out of your usual routine can mean you’re more likely than usual to have problems with low or high blood glucose levels. Because of this, it’s critical that you can access good quality healthcare if you need it.   

Make sure your travel insurance covers type 1 diabetes, as not all policies do. Read the terms and conditions of the policy carefully before you book, to ensure the accident and health cover applies to:  

  • pre-existing conditions such as type 1 diabetes  
  • replacing a medical device if it’s lost or stolen (such as an insulin pump)  
  • seeing a local doctor if you need to  
  • medical evacuation if you need it  
  • the locations you’re planning to travel to  
  • the activities you may be doing (like skiing, diving etc).  

If you want cover for prescription medication, SmartTraveller says you may need a specialised insurance policy that covers you if your bag is lost or stolen and your medication was inside, or if you’re hospitalised and need prescription meds.  

Some companies may charge an extra fee if you’re travelling with type 1 diabetes and if you lose your diabetes supplies or insulin. Claiming may be a different process, depending on the insurer you go with, so it’s best to ask all the questions before you take out any policies.  

3. Pack twice as many supplies as you think you’ll need  

We know – luggage space is precious, and you’d rather your diabetes kit didn’t take up more room than it needs to. But you don’t want to be stuck without essential T1D supplies in a country you’re not familiar with. It may also be difficult to fill a script at your destination. For this reason, pack twice as much as you’ll need, and always carry your insulin in your carry-on.   

Make a list of everything you use to control your diabetes: insulin, test strips, lancets, alcohol swabs, syringes, hypo food, a small approved sharps container; the lot. If you use a pump, you’ll want to have a spare infusion set, inserter and batteries with you as well.   

Figure out how much of everything you’ll need for the time you plan to be away, then pack two lots of everything – one set of supplies in your suitcase and one set in your carry-on, just in case of theft, accidental destruction or the airline losing your luggage.   

4. Add these essentials to your packing list

Anyone travelling with type 1 diabetes needs to have a hypo kit on hand that contains fast and slow-acting carbohydrates.   

In the weeks before you travel, it’s a good idea to Google a list of English-speaking doctors, clinics, pharmacies and hospitals near where you’ll be staying. Make two copies of this list, keeping one in your carry-on and another in your main luggage.  

On another list, include numbers for your healthcare team and insulin company, along with details for your next of kin or family member. Make sure you have copies of your NDSS card and proof of identity, too.  

5. Carry all necessary documentation and identification  

Just like you’d never go overseas without bringing your passport along, it’s essential to have a letter from your doctor that states you have type 1 diabetes.   

The typed letter should outline that you’re travelling with type 1 diabetes, the type of insulin you take, your dosage regimen, the devices you use, the related prescription medications you take, the importance of carrying your medication/s with you, and instruction that your insulin pump (if used) must not be removed.    

You should also take identification that explains you have type 1 diabetes in case you are in a situation where you are unable to give instructions yourself. Consider getting a MedicAlert® emblem (bracelet or necklace) that indicates you have type 1 diabetes. If you have a smartphone, consider using an ICE (In Case of Emergency) app, which will show your ID and emergency contact on the home screen even if the phone is locked.   

6. Be prepared for airport security  

Airport security regulations are strict for everyone, but especially so for people who travel with type 1 diabetes and need to travel with medical supplies. But people with a genuine medical condition are allowed to carry syringes, lancets, insulin pens, insulin pumps and medication through security screening points.  

You’ll want to allow extra time to check in before your flight, in case you and your items need to be searched more thoroughly.   

When you get to the airport and it’s time to pass security, mention to the staff members that you have type 1 diabetes. Keep the letter from your doctor handy, as you may need to show it to staff.  

The security scanners and metal detectors shouldn’t damage your insulin, insulin pump or blood glucose meter. But pumps and CGM transmitters can be damaged by x-rays in security equipment, so always ask airport security staff to physically check your luggage and give you a pat-down rather than using the x-rays.  

TIP: Get more information on travelling by air with type 1 diabetes on the NDSS site.    

7. Have an action plan for lost/stolen luggage  

Lost luggage happens – but if you’re travelling with type 1 diabetes and have essential supplies packed in your bag, it can quickly become very stressful.  

As soon as you know your bag is missing, register with baggage services and file a report before you leave the airport. You’ll be given a tracking number you can use to follow up with the airline. While you wait for your luggage to turn up, look into stocking up on any supplies that were in your luggage.  

Remember that list of doctors, pharmacies and hospitals we mentioned creating as part of your trip planning? This is where it can come in very handy. Find out where you can tap into healthcare resources near you, so you can get replacement medication and/or any other supplies you know you’ll need (before you need them!). A local hospital can be a good place to start.

It’s also a good idea to learn a few phrases in the local language (or have them saved in your phone), such as, ‘Where’s the nearest pharmacy?’ or ‘I have type 1 diabetes’. That way, if you get stuck with limited diabetes supplies, there’s help not far away.  

8. Research the different foods you may want to try  

When you’re travelling, your typical routine is thrown out of whack, and that includes what you eat. Keeping your diet stable is important, but what about all those delicious foods you’re going to encounter in the different places you visit? Of course you’re able to indulge – but as always, you’ll just need to work out how to manage your BGLs.  

Do a little research on the types of foods you may encounter overseas and ask your health care professional about the ones you’d like to try. They may also give you an action plan for how much insulin you might need when trying certain foods.

Once you’re there, before digging in, try to work out the approximate amount of carbohydrates in your meal and monitor your BGLs regularly. Try to ensure you’re carrying extra food, water, medication and sugar so you’re prepared for the unexpected.  

TIP: In some countries, you’ll need to be careful that your food and water aren’t contaminated. Make sure you avoid tap water, including ice cubes made from tap water.

9. Get ready for different time zones

If you’re travelling long distances, chances are you’ll be swapping time zones at least once, meaning your day can be shortened or extended. As a result, keeping BGLs in range can be a little challenging.

If possible (and you don’t already use one), consider hiring or loaning an insulin pump. It’s an ideal way to deliver your insulin across time zones as you can pump and dose for meal in the normal way with no real change to your insulin regime.

It can also help to take two watches (or a phone and watch) to keep track of time zone changes. You can also use the time setting on most phones to track multiple time zones at once.

As for insulin dosing, here are two simple rules to remember:

  • If you’re  travelling east , your travel day will be  shorte r. If you lose more than two hours, you could need fewer units of intermediate or long-acting insulin.
  • If you’re  travelling west , your travel day will be  longer . If you gain more than two hours, you could need extra units of short-acting insulin and more food.

TIP: When flying, ask the flight attendant to wake you at meal times to make sure you don’t skip meals.

To recap: Your type 1 diabetes travel checklist 

Here’s our quick checklist on what to do before you go.

Want more info on travelling with type 1 diabetes? Check out our free book, Straight to the Point: A guide for adults living with type 1 diabetes . Grab it here . 

travel insurance for type 1 diabetes

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  • Travel Insurance
  • Best Medical Insurance For Visitors To The USA

Best Travel Medical Insurance For Visitors To The USA Of 2024

Michelle Megna

Fact Checked

Updated: Mar 19, 2024, 6:22am

Visitors insurance—also called travel medical insurance—can reimburse a person’s medical expenses if they get sick or injured during a trip to the United States. That’s important because health insurance from other countries generally isn’t accepted in the U.S. and the cost for medical care in the states can be significant.

The best travel medical insurance policies package together valuable benefits that can help pay for routine, urgent and emergency medical care. To identify the best medical insurance for visitors to the USA , we scored policies on cost, medical coverage amounts, out-of-network reimbursement, emergency dental benefits and trip interruption benefits.

Why you can trust Forbes Advisor

Our editors are committed to bringing you unbiased ratings and information. Our editorial content is not influenced by advertisers. We use data-driven methodologies to evaluate insurance companies, so all companies are measured equally. You can read more about our editorial guidelines and the methodology for the ratings below.

  • 9 comprehensive travel medical insurance plans analyzed
  • 126 data points crunched
  • 96 years of insurance experience on the editorial team
  • Best Travel Insurance
  • Best Travel Medical Insurance
  • Best “Cancel For Any Reason” Travel Insurance
  • Best Senior Travel Insurance

The Best Travel Medical Insurance for Visitors to the USA

Summary: best travel medical insurance for visitors coming to the u.s., what is travel medical insurance, types of travel medical insurance for visitors to the usa, what does travel medical insurance cover in the usa, do i need travel medical insurance as a visitor to the usa, where to purchase visitors insurance, methodology.

  • Atlas America – Best Overall
  • Patriot America Lite – Best for Cost
  • Patriot America Plus – Great for Trip Interruption Insurance
  • Safe Travels USA Comprehensive – Best for Deductible Choices
  • Seven Corners Travel Medical Basic – Best for Urgent/Emergency Care Reimbursement

Best Overall

Atlas america.

Atlas America

Eligible ages

14 days to 99 years

Coverage length

5 days to 364 days

Extendable?

Yes, up to 364 days

High coverage limits, a generous selection of deductible amounts and great trip interruption coverage earned Atlas America’s comprehensive policy high marks for benefits across the board.

  • Competitive costs.
  • Excellent trip interruption benefits of $10,000.
  • High coverage limit of $2 million available.
  • Out-of-network services covered at 100%.
  • Wide range of choices for deductible amounts.
  • Pre-existing medical conditions not covered (though acute onset of pre-existing medical conditions is covered).
  • $200 copay for emergency room care
  • Choices of coverage maximums: $10,000, $50,000, $100,000, $250,000, $500,000, $1 million, $2 million.
  • Choice of deductibles: $0, $100, $250, $500, $1,000, $2,500, $5,000.
  • Network used: United Healthcare PPO.
  • Coverage for in-network urgent care: $15 copay, 100% thereafter up to policy maximum.
  • Coverage for out-of-network urgent care: $15 copay, 100% thereafter up to policy maximum.

Best for Cost

Patriot america lite.

Patriot America Lite

Coverage amounts

5 days to 365 days

Yes, up to 365 days

The America Lite policy from Patriot is worth checking out if low cost and robust trip interruption benefits are important to you. The cost of the America Lite plan is significantly lower than the competitors we assessed, which can make up for the lack of coverage for acute onset of pre-existing medical conditions.

  • Decent choice of deductibles and coverage limits.
  • Generous trip interruption benefits of $10,000.
  • Lowest cost among the policies we evaluated.
  • The only plan among those we evaluated that does not cover acute onset of pre-existing medical conditions.
  • Standard care, urgent care and emergency care out-of-network are only covered at 80% for the first $5,000 in services.
  • Choices of coverage maximums: $10,000, $50,000, $100,000, $500,000, $1 million.
  • Choice of deductibles: $0, $100, $250, $500, $1,000, $2,500.
  • Coverage for in-network urgent care: $25 copay, 100% thereafter up to policy maximum.
  • Coverage for out-of-network urgent care: $25 copay, 80% of the first $5,000, 100% thereafter.

Great for Trip Interruption Insurance

Patriot america plus.

Patriot America Plus

The America Plus plan by Patriot provides decent coverage at a good price and includes generous trip interruption benefits. The low price may make up for out-of-network care being covered at only 80% for the first $5,000 in services. Unlike the Patriot Lite plan, America Plus covers the acute onset of pre-existing medical conditions.

  • Ample trip interruption benefits of up to $10,000.
  • Low cost compared to other top-rated companies.
  • Does not cover pre-existing medical conditions (but does cover acute onset of pre-existing medical conditions).
  • Coverage for out-of-network urgent care: $25 copay, 80% of the first $5,000,100% thereafter.

Best for Deductible Choices

Safe travels usa comprehensive.

Safe Travels USA Comprehensive

1 year to 89 years

Great benefits at a decent price make Safe Travel USA’s comprehensive plan worth a look. The policy provides 100% coverage for out-of-network care and 100% coverage for emergency and urgent care. It also has the most choices for a deductible amount among the medical insurance plans we reviewed.

  • Competitive cost.
  • Most choices for deductibles among plans evaluated.
  • Urgent care and emergency room care out-of-network covered at 100% after copay.
  • Acute onset pre-existing medical conditions covered, but not pre-existing conditions.
  • Dental benefits of $250 are lower than some competitors.
  • Trip interruption coverage of $5,000 is low compared to some competitors we evaluated.
  • Choices of coverage maximums: $50,000, $100,000, $250,000, $500,000, $1 million.
  • Choice of deductibles: $0, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1,000, $2,500, $5,000.
  • Network used: First Health PPO.
  • Coverage for in-network urgent care: $30 copay, 100% thereafter up to policy maximum.
  • Coverage for out-of-network urgent care: $30 copay, 100% thereafter up to policy maximum.

Best for Urgent/Emergency Care Reimbursement

Seven corners travel medical basic usa.

Seven Corners Travel Medical Basic USA

Consider the Travel Medical Basic USA plan by Seven Corners if you value having urgent care and emergency room care covered at 100% over coverage for Covid.

Related: Seven Corners Travel Insurance Review

  • Coverage amounts up to $1 million and a competitive price
  • Emergency room care (in-network and out-of-network) covered at 100% after copay
  • Urgent care (in-network and out-of-network) covered at 100% after copay
  • Does not cover Covid-related medical expenses or pre-existing medical conditions (but covers acute onset)
  • Out-of-network standard care only covered at 80% for first $10,000 of care, compared to others at 100% or 80% for first $5,000
  • Trip interruption benefits are low at $2,500
  • Choices of coverage maximums: $10,000, $50,000, $100,000, $1 million
  • Choice of deductibles: $0, $100, $250, $500, $1,000, $5,000
  • Network used: United Healthcare PPO
  • Coverage for in-network urgent care: $30 copay, 100% thereafter up to policy maximum
  • Coverage for out-of-network urgent care: $30 copay, 100% thereafter up to policy maximum

Medical insurance for visitors to the USA provides short-term medical coverage. If you get sick or injured during your trip, the best travel medical insurance policies provide high levels of compensation for medical bills.

These policies—also called visitors insurance— are designed for non-U.S. citizens traveling to the U.S., typically for trips up to 364 days.

If you’re an American traveling internationally, you can also buy travel medical insurance, often as part of comprehensive travel insurance policies that cover trip cancellation , trip interruption , travel delays, medical costs and much more.

There are two main types of  travel medical insurance for visitors to the USA: fixed and comprehensive.

Fixed Medical Insurance

Fixed travel medical insurance is also called a fixed benefits policy or a limited policy. Fixed benefit plans are more affordable but have limited coverage.

These plans have a maximum fixed coverage amount for each medical service or condition. Deductibles apply for each event. For each injury or illness, you pay an initial deductible and the limited medical plan pays for the rest of the expenses covered by the policy.

Fixed medical insurance usually doesn’t include trip interruption coverage .

Comprehensive Medical Insurance

Comprehensive medical insurance policies are more expensive but provide more generous coverage than limited plans—for example, maximum coverage limits can be millions of dollars.

There are no sub-limits for coverage with comprehensive visitors insurance policies. You’re covered for medical costs up to the policy maximum, minus your deductible and coinsurance .

Trip interruption, trip cancellation and travel delay benefits can be found in some comprehensive visitors insurance plans.

Comprehensive travel medical insurance for visitors to the USA generally covers inpatient and outpatient services, urgent care and emergency medical services, emergency dental care and other healthcare, such as:

  • Emergency medical evacuation
  • Emergency medical treatment for pregnancy complications
  • Mental disorders
  • Prescriptions/medication

Visitors to the USA need travel medical insurance if they want to recoup money they pay for medical costs if they get ill or injured in the United States. Health plans from other countries aren’t usually accepted in the U.S. For example, travel medical insurance is a common type of travel insurance for parents visiting the U.S . whose adult children live here.

You also need travel medical insurance if you are a U.S. citizen traveling internationally. It’s important to consider medical insurance for trips abroad because U.S.-based health insurance plans may have limited or no coverage in other countries.

You can buy visitors insurance online from a visitors insurance comparison provider such as VisitorsCoverage, and many travel insurance companies also sell visitors insurance online at their websites.

You can generally choose from several policies that have a range of coverage and costs, from budget plans with low benefit limits to more expensive policies with  more generous coverage.

To identify the best medical insurance for visitors coming to the USA, we scored only comprehensive travel medical plans on the following criteria:

Cost (50% of score): Plans with lower costs were awarded the most points. We analyzed average rates for:

  • A 70-year-old traveler from India coming to the U.S. for 90 days, with coverage of $100,000 with a $250 deductible (or closest deductible).
  • Two travelers ages 60 and 65 coming from India to the U.S. for 30 days, with coverage of $50,000 with a $100 deductible (or closest deductible).

Trip interruption benefits (10% of score): Points were awarded if policies included $10,000 or more in trip interruption benefits. If a visitor has to cut their trip to the U.S. short and return home, this coverage can pay the costs. To make a claim for trip interruption, the reason must be listed in the policy.

Choices of policy maximum coverage amounts (10% of score): Points were awarded if the policy had maximum medical coverage amounts of $500,000 and up.

Urgent care out-of-network reimbursement (10% of score): Policies that cover out-of-network urgent care at 100% (after copay) earned points.

Emergency room out-of-network reimbursement (10% of score):  Policies that cover out-of-network emergency room care at 100% (after copay) earned points.

Emergency dental care (10% of score): Points were awarded if emergency dental care coverage was $300 or more.

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Michelle Megna

Michelle is a lead editor at Forbes Advisor. She has been a journalist for over 35 years, writing about insurance for consumers for the last decade. Prior to covering insurance, Michelle was a lifestyle reporter at the New York Daily News, a magazine editor covering consumer technology, a foreign correspondent for Time and various newswires and local newspaper reporter.

U.S. News takes an unbiased approach to our recommendations. When you use our links to buy products, we may earn a commission but that in no way affects our editorial independence.

8 Cheapest Travel Insurance Companies Worth the Cost

travel insurance for type 1 diabetes

Trawick International »

travel insurance for type 1 diabetes

World Nomads Travel Insurance »

travel insurance for type 1 diabetes

AXA Assistance USA »

travel insurance for type 1 diabetes

Generali Global Assistance »

travel insurance for type 1 diabetes

Seven Corners »

travel insurance for type 1 diabetes

Allianz Travel Insurance »

travel insurance for type 1 diabetes

IMG Travel Insurance »

travel insurance for type 1 diabetes

WorldTrips »

Why Trust Us

U.S. News evaluates ratings, data and scores of more than 50 travel insurance companies from comparison websites like TravelInsurance.com, Squaremouth and InsureMyTrip, plus renowned credit rating agency AM Best, in addition to reviews and recommendations from top travel industry sources and consumers to determine the Cheapest Travel Insurance Companies.

Table of Contents

  • Trawick International
  • World Nomads Travel Insurance
  • AXA Assistance USA

There are plenty of smart ways to save money on your travel plans, but refusing to buy travel insurance isn't necessarily one of them. Not having travel insurance can mean being on the hook for exorbitant medical bills or costs for emergency transportation if you become sick or injured during your trip. You could also face significant financial losses if your trip is delayed or your bags are lost or stolen, and without travel insurance you won't have a third party to rely on for assistance.

Buying affordable travel insurance makes more sense than skipping this coverage altogether, so read on to find out which companies offer the cheapest plans and all the protections you can get for a low cost.

How We Chose the Cheapest Travel Insurance Companies

To determine the cheapest travel insurance companies, U.S. News created sample traveler profiles for three separate eight-day trips to different destinations (the Cayman Islands, Spain and California) at a range of price points ($6,500, $10,500 and $8,500, respectively). We used that information to get quotes for the cheapest option for 100% trip cancellation coverage for each trip. We then calculated the average cost of the trips.

The travel insurance companies that made our ranking have a high credit rating and offer the lowest average cost, outlined below. (Note: The sample average costs are not price quotes from U.S. News. To find a travel insurance price quote, use the "View plans" link to enter your trip details and find more information.)

  • Generali Global Assistance
  • Seven Corners
  • Allianz Travel Insurance
  • IMG Travel Insurance
  • Trip cancellation coverage (up to $30,000) for 100% of the insured vacation
  • Trip interruption coverage (up to $30,000) for 100% of the insured vacation
  • Trip delay coverage worth up to $1,000 ($150 per day for delays of 12 hours or more)
  • $750 in coverage for lost and damaged luggage; $200 for baggage delays
  • Up to $500 in coverage for missed connections of three hours or more
  • Up to $50,000 in emergency medical coverage ($750 sublimit for emergency dental)
  • Up to $200,000 in coverage for emergency medical evacuation
  • Up to $2,500 of trip protection for cancellation or interruption
  • Up to $1,000 in coverage of lost, stolen or damaged baggage; up to $750 for baggage delays on your outward journey
  • Up to $100,000 in emergency medical insurance; $750 dental sublimit
  • Up to $300,000 in coverage for emergency medical evacuation
  • 24-hour travel assistance services

SEE FULL REVIEW »

  • Up to 100% coverage for trip cancellation and interruption
  • Up to $500 in coverage for trip delays ($100 per day)
  • Up to $500 in coverage for missed connections
  • Up to $25,000 in coverage for emergency medical expenses
  • Up to $100,000 in coverage for emergency medical evacuation
  • Up to $750 in coverage for baggage and personal effects; $200 for baggage delays
  • Up to $10,000 in coverage for accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D)
  • Up to $25,000 in coverage for common carrier AD&D
  • Coverage up to 100% of the insured vacation for trip cancellation
  • Up to 125% of the insured vacation cost for trip interruption
  • Travel delay coverage worth up to $1,000 per person ($150 per person daily limit)
  • Up to $1,000 per person for lost, damaged or stolen bags; $200 per person for baggage delays
  • Up to $500 per person for missed connections
  • Up to $50,000 in emergency medical and dental coverage
  • Up to $250,000 in coverage for emergency assistance and transportation
  • AD&D coverage for air travel worth up to $50,000 per person ($100,000 per plan)
  • Trip cancellation coverage up to $30,000
  • Trip interruption coverage up to 100% of the cost of the trip
  • Trip delay coverage worth up to $600 (for six-hour delays; $200 limit per person per day)
  • Lost, stolen or damaged baggage coverage up to $500
  • Baggage delay coverage worth up to $500 (for six-hour delays; $100 per day)
  • Missed cruise or tour coverage worth up to $500 ($250 per day)
  • Emergency accident and sickness medical coverage worth up to $100,000 (secondary coverage)
  • Up to $750 in emergency dental coverage
  • Up to $250,000 in protection for emergency medical evacuation and repatriation of remains
  • Trip cancellation coverage worth up to $10,000 per traveler
  • Trip interruption coverage worth up to $10,000 per traveler
  • Travel delay coverage worth up to $300 ($150 per day)
  • Luggage loss and damage protection up to $500 per traveler
  • Baggage delay coverage worth up to $200 per day
  • Emergency medical and dental coverage up to $10,000 ($500 for dental expenses)
  • Emergency medical transportation coverage worth up to $50,000
  • 24-hour hotline assistance
  • Up to 100% in coverage for trip cancellation
  • Trip interruption benefit worth up to 125% of the trip cost
  • Up to $500 for travel delays per person ($125 daily maximum per person)
  • Up to $750 for lost, damaged or stolen bags ($250 maximum per item)
  • Up to $150 in luggage delay coverage
  • Up to $100,000 in emergency medical coverage
  • Up to $500,000 in coverage for emergency medical evacuation and repatriation of remains
  • Trip cancellation coverage worth up to 100% of trip cost (up to $10,000)
  • Trip interruption coverage up to 100% of trip cost
  • Up to $500 in coverage for travel delays (five-hour delay required; $100 daily limit)
  • Coverage worth up to $1,000 for lost, damaged or stolen baggage ($250 per item)
  • Coverage worth up to $200 for baggage delays of 12 hours or more
  • Up to $250 in coverage for airline reissue or cancellation fees
  • Up to $250 in coverage for reinstatement of frequent traveler awards
  • Emergency medical and illness coverage worth up to $10,000
  • Up to $500 in coverage for emergency dental expenses
  • Up to $250,000 in coverage for emergency medical evacuation and repatriation of remains
  • AD&D coverage worth up to $10,000
  • Travel assistance services

Why Trust U.S. News Travel

Holly Johnson is an award-winning content creator who has been writing about travel insurance and travel for more than a decade. She has researched travel insurance options for her own vacations and family trips to more than 50 countries around the world and has experience navigating the claims and reimbursement process. In fact, she has successfully filed several travel insurance claims for trip delays and trip cancellations over the years. Johnson also works alongside her husband, Greg, who has been licensed to sell travel insurance in 50 states, in their family media business.

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IMAGES

  1. Travel Insurance Guide For Those With Diabetes

    travel insurance for type 1 diabetes

  2. Getting Travel Insurance with Type 1 Diabetes

    travel insurance for type 1 diabetes

  3. Guide to Diabetic Travel Insurance

    travel insurance for type 1 diabetes

  4. 23 Type 1 Diabetes and Life, Medical &Travel Insurance

    travel insurance for type 1 diabetes

  5. Diabetic Travel Insurance

    travel insurance for type 1 diabetes

  6. Travel Insurance for Type 1 Diabetes: What to Know Before Leaving

    travel insurance for type 1 diabetes

VIDEO

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  2. How to Add Members to Your Visitors Health Insurance Plan

  3. Easy Travel Insurance for Visa Application 2018

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  5. The best travel health insurance: VisitorsCoverage review

  6. Health Insurance for sugar patients

COMMENTS

  1. Best Travel Insurance for Diabetics: Compare Cheap Options

    While Travel Basic is an affordable plan than the rest of the two, Travel Select offers far more coverage and is suitable travel insurance for type 1 diabetic children. Travel Select insurance covers kids under 17 and is a trustworthy plan for pre-existing medical conditions like diabetes.

  2. Travel Insurance Guide For Those With Diabetes

    And the Extended Basic Medigap Plan will cover 80% of your foreign travel emergency expense until you reach the $1,000 out-of-pocket cost for the calendar year. Afterwards, the plan covers 100% your foreign travel emergency covered services expense. Plans known as "50% and 25% Cost-sharing Plans" are available.

  3. Will travel insurance cover diabetes?

    Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you deserve to have fun and relax on vacation as much as anyone else. However, when it comes to insuring your trip, there are a few things to keep in mind. Is diabetes considered a pre-existing medical condition? Travel insurance generally excludes pre-existing medical conditions.

  4. FAQs About Travel Insurance For Diabetics

    Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition in which the body does not produce insulin. People need to rely on insulin injections for the rest of their life. Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects how the body processes blood sugar. With type 2 diabetes, the body either does not produce enough insulin or resists insulin.

  5. Travel with T1D

    Travel with T1D. Traveling is one of life's great pleasures and people with type 1 diabetes (T1D) are taking off and exploring the world with ferocity. The key to getting the most out of a trip borrows from the Boy Scout adage: Be Prepared. If you have T1D you can go anywhere and do anything, you just need strategies firmly in place.

  6. Travel Insurance for Diabetics

    Sometimes called insulin-dependent diabetes, type 1 diabetes is the less common of the two types. Around 8% of diabetics have type 1. Our type 1 Diabetes Travel Insurance covers you for medical emergencies, helping you to avoid unexpected medical bills. Type 2 Diabetes: It's estimated that more than 2.7 million people are diagnosed with type ...

  7. Travel insurance for diabetics

    Travel insurance for diabetics should include cover for the same things as standard travel insurance but tailored to your specific needs as a diabetic. Cover typically includes: Medical expenses — to cover any necessary medical treatment you need while on holiday. Compare the cover limits for medical treatment offered by each policy and make ...

  8. Travel Insurance for Diabetics

    Type 1 diabetes (and rarer forms of diabetes) account for about 10% of all diabetes cases in the UK. Both conditions can be covered under travel insurance as a pre-existing condition. As well as the usual cover you'd expect from a travel insurance policy, some specialist providers might also include travelling companion cancellation cover.

  9. Travel insurance

    Get covered and support us. AllClear have helped over three million people travel with peace of mind. Contact them by phone or online to get your tailored and non-obligation quote. Visit their website and check their privacy policy, or call for free today. www.insuremydiabetes.org.uk. 0808 168 8711.

  10. Travelling with type 1 diabetes

    Type 1 diabetes and travel insurance. Travel insurance is available for people with type 1, although it may be slightly more expensive. You can usually find insurance to cover things like medical expenses and loss of insulin and devices (find out more about insuring type 1 technology).

  11. Travel Checklist for Type 1 Diabetes

    Introduction Traveling with type 1 diabetes can present unique challenges, but with the right preparation and knowledge, it shouldn't hinder your ability to exp. ... Travel Insurance. When traveling with type 1 diabetes, having adequate travel insurance is essential. It provides coverage and peace of mind in case of unexpected medical ...

  12. Travel Medical Insurance, Pre-Existing Conditions, & Type 1 Diabetes

    Travel medical insurance is a very important secondary insurance to have that covers you internationally. And travel medical insurance is smart to have regardless of whether you have a pre-existing condition or whether you plan to do anything you might consider adventurous during your travels. Both for long-term travel or short trips.

  13. Travel Insurance for Diabetics

    It can sometimes be difficult to get affordable travel insurance if you have diabetes or, in fact, ... If you are among the many individuals managing either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, it's essential to disclose your condition when applying for travel insurance. Transparency at this stage is crucial to ensuring you are adequately covered.

  14. How to find travel insurance for diabetics

    Travel insurance for type 1 diabetes. Approximately 8 per cent of people with diabetes have type 1, or insulin-dependent diabetes. Specialist travel insurance for type 1 diabetes can provide ...

  15. Travel Checklist for Type 1 Diabetes • The Blonde Abroad

    Travel insurance documents+ a digital copy you can access in emergency. Medical ID- make sure you have a few in your belongings in case of theft. Spare pens in case of a pump breakdown. Lots of spare test strips for your meter. Ketone strips, lancets, batteries, pump supplies, etc.

  16. Travel Insurance For Diabetics

    And if you travel on standard policy without full medical cover for diabetes, you could end up with an eye-watering medical bill. The average cost of medical claims on travel insurance is around ...

  17. Type 1 diabetes

    split your medicines, IDs and equipment into 2 different bags, just in case 1 gets lost. if you use a pump, pack insulin pens in case it stops working. put insulin in your hand luggage - the hold of the plane will be too cold and could damage the insulin. take a cool bag to stop your insulin getting too hot. take some form of diabetes ID ...

  18. Travel and diabetes

    Arrange travel insurance . You should arrange travel insurance for you and your belongings. Make sure your health cover applies to pre-existing conditions and the places you will visit. ... Travel and type 1 diabetes; Living with diabetes Driving with diabetes . We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work and live ...

  19. Travel insurance for diabetics

    Whether you have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes, the right travel insurance means that you will stay protected - and you will be able to get any medication and help if you need it. Travel insurance for people with diabetes should cover the cost of cancelling your holiday if you have to, as well as the expense of getting emergency help ...

  20. Travelling with diabetes

    Travelling with diabetes means there are a few more things to think about before you set off. But living with diabetes shouldn't be a barrier to taking trips or holidays at home or abroad. Plan to take two to three times the amount of insulin or other diabetes medication and equipment you'd normally use. This will give you peace of mind if you have to stay longer for any reason or if there ...

  21. How to navigate travelling with type 1 diabetes

    2. Take out travel insurance for type 1 diabetes Travelling can raise your risk of encountering infectious illness. And for people living with type 1 diabetes, dealing with different time zones and being out of your usual routine can mean you're more likely than usual to have problems with low or high blood glucose levels.

  22. Travel and type 1 diabetes booklet

    Travel insurance is highly recommended for all people but especially for people living with type 1 diabetes. It's best to read the terms and conditions before booking travel insurance to make sure the accident and health cover applies to each of the following: pre-existing condition (e.g. type 1 diabetes) the places you will visit

  23. Diabetes

    travelling with Diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease where the body produces little or even no insulin. This is controlled by daily injections of an insulin. Type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle disease mostly brought on by poor diet, lack of exercise and being overweight. It's also associated with hereditary factors, and can be managed with healthier lifestyle changes.

  24. What Is Travel Insurance Medical Coverage?

    Travel medical insurance coverage can help avoid an unexpected financial burden. In a severe medical emergency, travel medical insurance may cover emergency medical evacuations, which can be costly. This coverage ensures you can be transported to the nearest suitable medical facility or repatriated to your home country if needed.

  25. Best Travel Medical Insurance For Visitors To The USA Of 2024

    Atlas America - Best Overall. Patriot America Lite - Best for Cost. Patriot America Plus - Great for Trip Interruption Insurance. Safe Travels USA Comprehensive - Best for Deductible ...

  26. 8 Cheapest Travel Insurance Companies Worth the Cost

    To determine the cheapest travel insurance companies, U.S. News created sample traveler profiles for three separate eight-day trips to different destinations (the Cayman Islands, Spain and ...

  27. Type 2 Diabetes

    These include: Being overweight or obese. Having a waist size of 31.5 inches or more (women) or more than 37 inches (men) Eating an unhealthy diet. Physical inactivity. Having a first-degree relative with type 2 diabetes. Having high blood pressure or raised cholesterol levels.