Long Lost Member
Total Posts: 3
Registered on: ‎11-28-2011

Travelling on long flights with insulin

Has anyone experience with traveling for 30+ hours with insulin?   I am currently using Lantus, Novolog, and BYDUREON (injections once a week.)  ALL must be refrigerated (37-47 degrees), and travel coolers are very limited.  I purchased several, and will be using them on the long flights through Europe to Africa and Asia, but what happens if the medicines get above that 47 degree limit?  Do they degrade significantly?  Am I being too fussy about keeping all these meds cool? How much leeway do I really have?  We will be flying to London, have a layover, and then more flying time to Johannesburg (11+hours).   I'm having difficulty finding a cooler that can carry that much medication.  Any ideas?   Thanks!

Super Advisor
Total Posts: 4,469
Registered on: ‎10-30-2009

Re: Travelling on long flights with insulin

Betty,  we have slow traffic on the Forums this weekend. I myself do not take insulin but we have many people here that do. We have also had this discussion several times before so until someone comes along to answer your question directly you can go to the search box up and to the left.........type in traveling with insulin and you will see lots of posts.

Good Luck to you....................I haven't been to South Africa for quite sometime, did lots of surfing there.


See ya.....................Big Red.............................Peace

Granny Red is Big Red Type 2 DX 2/17/09 A1c 7.7 2/2011 A1c 4.7  5/2011 A1c  4.7 8/2011 A1c 4.9 -11/2011 -4.7
March / 2012 New A1c 5.0 !
A1c Nov.2012...4.7
A1c Jan 21, 2013 5.2 Adding Met 2 X 500 mg
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Established Advisor
Total Posts: 1,815
Registered on: ‎10-31-2009

Re: Travelling on long flights with insulin

I know that Lantus and Novolog can be kept at room temps for up to 30 days.  Not sure about your other med.  What I was told to do on a recent flight was to go through security with my meds. ( no gel packs or or liquids other than your insulin)  They have the right to inspect every vial seperately and they will want to xray it as well.   But once you get through security you can ask for a bag of ice for your meds to keep in a small cooler.  (make sure to take several quart sized freezer bags) put your meds in one and put the ice you buy in another.  Every time you have to go through security you will have to get a new bag of ice once through.   Always carry your insulin and other meds in a seperate bag with you. Don't pack your meds in carryons or checked baggage. 


Go to the TSA for the country you are flying in and look at their rules, it could be different for other countries.  

I have been diabetic since my teens, type 2. I produce no insulin of my own so I take Lantus and Humalog daily.
I have several severe diabetes related complications, Gastroparesis, peripheral neuropathy of both arms and legs, autonomic neuropathy involving internal organs and blood vessels, kidney damage, HTN, vision issues. I also have COPD and severe Asthma. I am a uterine cancer survivor and had a TAH BSO at 35. I have had genetic blood work done that shows my neuropathy issues are hereditary and would of occurred even without diabetes. I also have very severe depression and anxiety. When not on my "mental health meds" I am not a very nice person and am good at alienating everyone around me including myself.
Frequent Advisor
Total Posts: 1,034
Registered on: ‎11-02-2009

Re: Travelling on long flights with insulin

When I travel I keep all insulins with me in the cabin, not in checked luggage.  The cabin temp. has been fine for the insulins.  There was a recent announcement that you can actually contact TSA in advance and tell that that you need to have a gel pack for your insulin.  They will usually say OK (seems to depend on the airport).  I personally have not used any gel packs, but with travel in Africa, you might need them.  Travel with a little fridge thermometer.  Fridges in hotel rooms can be either too cold or too warm for insulin!  My rapid and NPH insulins have been fine at room temperature for a month, and so have never put them in a fridge, even when one was available.  There are also Frio bags, that you just wet with tap water, and can keep insulin cool as the Frio bag dries off.