When you have diabetes, and especially when you are on insulin therapy, travelling can be challenging. However, don’t let it stop you!

You need to consider factors that impact your insulin needs such as the journey time, the entire duration of your trip, the climate and your meals.

With some preparation before your trip, people with diabetes (also known as diabetics) can not only keep well while travelling, but enjoy to boot!

The Department of Endocrinology at Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth group, shares how.

Useful pre-departure planning tips

Pre-departure planning is essential to ensure that you are fit and adequately prepared for travelling. Here are some pointers from our experts.

1. Visit your consulting doctor early

  • Discuss your holiday plans with your doctor. Let your doctor know if you are planning any special activities and whether it is safe to do so, and clarify any questions you may have on how to optimally manage your glucose levels during these activities

  • Ensure your blood glucose levels are under control

  • Questions to ask your doctor include (but are not limited to) the following:

    • Which travel vaccinations you need and how long in advance

    • When you should take your insulin if you are flying long distance

    • How changing time zones and climate can affect your blood glucose level

2. Get a travel memo from your doctor stating:

  • You have diabetes

  • Your medical prescription just in case you need it

3. Check time zone and weather differences, nearest hospital and insurance

  • Changing time zones can affect the timing for administering insulin, especially basal insulin. Remember to set an alarm so that basal insulin is administered on time. If you are uncertain about insulin timing changes, ask your doctor before you leave

  • Weather differences not only affects the clothing you pack, but also affect the storage of your insulin and glucometer, so ensure it is packed in insulated bags if you are expecting extreme weather

  • Check out the locations of hospitals nearby

  • Ensure that your travel or medical insurance covers diabetes-related emergencies

4. Have a systemic packing for your medication and medical supplies

  • Pack your medication in a compartmentalised pill box so that you can easily keep track

  • Pack extra medication, in case your journey is delayed due to unforeseen circumstances (especially in this current CoVid world we live in). The same goes for insulin and other diabetes supplies, such as blood glucose monitors, test strips and lancets

  • Hand carry medications such as insulin and medical supplies such as syringes, insulin pens, glucometer, and other consumables to manage your diabetes

5. Pack another essential item – Snacks! Healthy ones, of course!


  • Snacks on hand can prevent episodes of hypoglycaemia in the event of delays and itinerary changes. And for some of us, it also helps to keep spirits up!

6. Inform others that you have diabetes

  • If on tour, inform your guide about your condition. If you are travelling alone, tell the people around you that you have diabetes, and how they can help in case of emergency

  • Alternatively, you may have some form of ID like a diabetes bracelet or a small card printout with emergency contacts and what-to-do’s on your person, so that people can render help if you are unable to respond

7. Take good care of your feet

  • Check your feet and soles for blisters from time to time

  • Prevent foot pain and injuries by wearing shoes and socks that are comfortable and protect your feet

  • If you are going to a beach, avoid walking barefoot

  • Visit a doctor if you notice any foot problems

With our handy guide, we hope you are able to enjoy your next holiday to the fullest! 

Ref: J22

Here are other diabetes-related articles you may be interested in:

Packing Checklist For Travelling with Diabetes

How to Pack Insulin When Travelling

Hypoglycaemia (Low Blood Glucose): Warning Signs and Symptoms

Diabetes Foot Care Tips: 10 Steps to Healthy Feet

Diabetes Diet Myths vs Facts

Easy Diabetes Diet