Holidays and Travel Tips

Holidays and Travel Tips

Looking after your insulin
Healthy Travelling
Travel Insurance
Increased Security on Flights affects people with Diabetes


Living with Diabetes

Looking after your insulin

Going on holiday if you have diabetes means that you have to take a few extra precautions, especially if you are travelling overseas. Here are some tips to help you – ones that we have learnt by experience:

  • Travelling overseas probably means that your insulin will not be kept in a refrigerator for days orven weeks. Exposing insulin to high temperatures makes the insulin weaker and so it does not act as efficiently.
  • If a refrigerator is not available try to store the insulin in a cool dark place.
  • Carry your insulin in a polystyrene container or a small wide necked vacuum flask.
  • There are also containers available with a cooling system of plastic containers filled with liquid that can be pre-cooled in your refrigerator. Do not pre-cool to the low temperature of a deep freeze because freezing can destroy the insulin. See details of FRIO Wallets at the end of this article.
  • If travelling by air, make sure that your insulin is in your hand luggage in the cabin with you. The luggage hold of the aeroplane will go below freezing because of the high altitude and this will destroy or damage your insulin.
  • If so, carry two lots of insulin, testing equipment and syringes/pens and distribute them between two different hand luggage bags. You could give one set to your travelling companion. Luggage does frequently get lost and it could prove difficult to replace your insulin or syringes/pens.

FRIO Wallets – keep your insulin cool

In the UK this device came on the market in 1999 and it is designed to keep your insulin cool and safe for a minimum of 45 hours, even in temperatures of 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Depending on what country you are in, they have stayed activated for about a week. Insulin is safe in the wallet for up to 28 days.The main advantages are that there are no bulky ice packs, you do not have to worry about finding a freezer to get supplies of ice and the wallet is light to carry.

How does the FRIO wallet work?

It is activated by immersing it in cold water for 5-15 minutes. The panels of the wallet contain crystals and these expand into gel with the immersion in water. The system relies on the evaporation process for cooling. Drying the wallet with a towel makes it dry to the touch.

User Experience

One of our members found that while the actual cooler part worked well, the inner bag stayed moist due to the evaporation process so that the labels on the insulin vials came off. This dampness was raised with the manufacturer and they advised that waiting for 20 minutes after soaking would solve the problem. Vials and pens can be put into plastic bags as this does not affect the cooling properties of the wallets but Frio also supply a rip stop water proof liner which can be used to cover pens or vials before putting them into the inner wallet. These are available on request at an extra cost. Note: ONLY the vials that should be put in the plastic bag and NOT the whole pouch.

The FRIO wallet comes in four sizes:

Individual – For carrying one pen only.

Duo pen – For carrying 1 pen and two 3ml cartridges or just 2 pens.

Small – Suitable for two 10ml vials of insulin.

Large – Suitable for one pen and two sets of cartridges or 4 10ml vials or 5 disposable pens.

Extra large – Carries 20 x 3ml cartridges, up to 8 pens or a mix of both.

The device has been approved by the British Medical Devices Evaluation Unit.

For further information or to order a wallet contact the manufacturers at:

PO Box 10
SA62 5YG

tel: 01437 741700