Travel and Study Abroad

Planning on jetting off to someplace halfway across the globe? That’s great! But before you leave, make sure to check out CDN’s checklist on planning, packing, and living in another country. Also, check out travel advice from CDN students on our travel YouTube playlist and a webinar  we hosted with Mobility International USA on studying abroad with T1D!

check Overpack 

Whether you’re leaving for a six-week stint in the Greek Isles or a tour with the Peace Corps, you need to make sure you have more than enough supplies/medication to last you - and extra supplies in case anything goes wrong. 

Here are the supplies you should be considering:

  • Infusion sets
  • Reservoirs
  • Pods (for Omnipod users)
  • Insulin Pens (if you use pens)
  • Strips
  • Insulin
  • Lancets
  • Glucagon
  • Long-acting Insulin
  • Spare Pump
  • Syringes
  • Glucose Tabs
  • Sensors
  • CGM transmitters
  • Meters
  • Batteries
  • Pumps (for pump users)
  • Chargers (CGM, meter, etc.)

check Do the math

Figure out exactly how much of everything you’ll need. Then add at least an extra months worth. Write it all down. 

check Call your insurance company

Let them know you’ll be leaving, how long you’ll be gone for, and the number of supplies you’ll need in advance. Each insurance company is different, so they’ll be able to walk you through the process of getting your supplies. 

check Schedule appointments with all your doctors before you leave

Chances are you’re not planning on flying home from Paris to meet with your endocrinologist in the middle of your semester. We don’t blame you. But that means you should get all of your appointments out of the way before you leave. That means your endocrinologist or CDE, optometrist, and dentist. 

check Call your doctor

Tell your doctor where you’re going, for how long, and ask for any prescriptions your insurance company might have told you that you need. Ask them for a letter verifying that you have diabetes and need to carry supplies with you at all times (you can include juice to bring through security, too!) You can use this letter as a template. Ask if you’re forgetting anything. 

check Call your supply company(s)

Find out if your pump supply company can deliver supplies internationally in case of emergency, or if they can give you emergency supplies beforehand, i.e. a replacement pump.

check Create a contact list

The list should include names, numbers, and addresses for the following:

  • Contact information for your institution abroad
  • Insurance Company
  • Supply Company
  • All of your doctors
  • Anyone you know in the country that you’ll be studying abroad in
  • Emergency Contact Information

Make copies of this list and give them to your parents. (We also suggest giving a copy to the institution where you’ll be studying, and your friends and roommates.)

check Pack Smart

Here are some things to keep in mind while packing:
  • Pack your diabetes supplies in two carry-on suitcases. This way, you’re covered just in case anything that you check, or one of your carry-ons gets lost.
  • Have a letter from your doctor with you that explains what medical supplies you have with you and why.
  • Use your letter to get early boarding if the flight is full and you are concerned about overhead space for your supplies – this is your RIGHT.
  • Make sure you have something to keep your insulin cool while traveling. Here are some options: Frio, Medicool
  • Make sure you have plenty of low supplies – for the plane ride, and for the duration of the time you’ll be living abroad.

check Know what to expect

No matter how prepared you are, studying abroad can be challenging at times. Here are some things to expect in your time away from home.
  • Change in routine
  • Different foods
  • Getting low supplies may be harder (lack of convenience stores on every corner)
  • Nutritional information may not be readily available
  • More walking than you are used to
  • The weather may be drastically different than what you’re used to – make sure your insulin isn’t too hot or cold.


Want more information? Check out some of the blogs below, written by T1Ds about their travel experience (many of them young adults!)


Check out the following resources to for even more information and support:

Hear Our Story

From The Blog

Rachel tells us how she prepared for a semester at sea with T1D.
Danielle gives us tips for studying abroad based on her experiences in Russia
Deanelle blogs about his experience studying abroad.

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