Managing diabetes

Managing diabetes

Travel and Driving

If you are going on a trip it is essential that you plan your diabetes management for the duration of the journey.



These travel resources have been specifically developed to help people with type 1 diabetes have a safe, fun and hassle-free trip, whether travelling by plane, train or motor vehicle.


Travel tips to ensure you've got everything covered


  • See your GP before your travels. Ask for a letter outlining your medical condition/s, medications and equipment. Take multiple copies.
  • Ask for extra prescriptions if you require them.
  • Check you have all relevant vaccinations and carry a record.
  • Discuss any time zone changes and how to adjust medication for these.
  • Discuss a sick day management plan.


It is recommended that you take extra supplies with you. This includes a spare blood glucose meter, blood glucose strips, extra batteries, lancets, pen needles, sharps container, ketone strips, sensors (if required). 

If you're using a pump, have a blood glucose meter and insulin pen with you just in case the pump stops working.

Medications and insulin

Ensure that you have enough medication for your entire trip. If you are staying for an extended period of time, check if your medication is available at your destination.

If you are taking insulin, ensure you can store this safely in a cool pack.

Travel insurance

Choose and book a travel insurance that covers you adequately for your health condition/s and activities.


You may require extra carbohydrates during your travel, especially if travelling by plane. Consider packing some extra carbohydrate snacks you can easily access.

Emergency contacts

Make a list of contact numbers for your health team and insulin company (if required). Make copies and pack in both carry on and checked luggage.


Consider some form of identification that indicates you have diabetes and take your NDSS card.

Hypo and first aid kits

Carry a basic first aid kit to treat minor ailments eg vomiting and diarrhoea treatments.

If required, take a hypo kit containing fast and slow acting carbohydrates.


The Australian Government has Reciprocal Health Care Agreements with a range of countries providing travellers with benefits similar to Medicare if needed, but only for acute or emergency care. In this event, you would need to produce your Medicare card.


For more information, call Medicare Australia on 02 6124 6333 or visit their website



As long as your diabetes is well-managed, there's no reason why you shouldn't be issued with a licence, but you must notify your road transport authority and insurance company that you have the condition.


Check your blood glucose level before driving and ensure the reading is above 5mmol/L. Carry fast and longer acting carbohydrate when you drive. Also carry your blood glucose meter. Check your blood glucose level at least every two hours on long trips and check that the reading is above 5mmol/L. If a hypo occurs, pull over safely and treat it immediately. 


You should not drive if you:

  • Have difficulty recognising the early signs of hypoglycaemia
  • Are just starting to take insulin and your blood glucose levels are not yet controlled
  • Have problems with your eyesight that are not corrected with glasses
  • Have numbness or weakness in your limbs
  • Have been feeling unwell - this can upset blood glucose levels


For more information, visit



Most insurance policies exclude pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, because although diabetes can be treated, people with the condition are more likely to develop medical complications (such as blindness, nerve damage and kidney problems).


It is essential when arranging a policy that you fully inform the insurance company about your diabetes even if they do not ask. If you don't, you might find your claim is rejected.