Don’t Make a Scene: Traveling through Airport Security with Diabetes Supplies

Watch as Sean gives tips for packing for international trips and for traveling through security
with diabetes supplies.

I never really have trouble flying with my diabetes supplies. Especially since going on the OmniPod insulin pump, I don’t have to remove anything and there’s no tubing—so no problems! That is, for the most part…One time, I was going through security in Romania and they were a bit thrown off by my OmniPod and abundance of diabetes supplies. They guided me (with machine guns in hand) to a back room to strip search me. After many attempts to communicate myself, they finally realized I had this “thing” attached to me to keep me alive!

On the whole, I find that carrying diabetes supplies can be easy. I typically pack all my Pods, insulin, test strips, etc. in a separate zippered bag that I carry within my carry-on. It’s easy to grab when going through security. Because

the OmniPod is so discreet, I typically don’t disclose that I even have it on and it’s usually a non-issue. It’s always so nice to go through security somewhere and have someone recognize it for what it is. I don’t often meet a TSA member who knows much about type 1 diabetes, but when I do—it’s great!

Here are a few tips for making sure you’re prepared while going through security:

  1. If at all possible, send your travel companion through first. They can round up their bags and then if you need to be searched, they can grab whatever items of yours that were sent through.
  2. Have a doctor’s note on hand saying that you have type 1 diabetes. Bonus points if you get the doctor to translate the letter into the language of the country you’re traveling through!
  3. Put all your medical supplies in a small bag WITHIN your carry-on. That way, they’re all compact and ready to be removed at a moment’s notice for security purposes.

And if you happen to be traveling through Bucharest, Romania, give them my best regards!

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About Sean Busby

Sean Busby is a professional snowboarder with type 1 diabetes who travels the world exploring remote corners of the globe on snowboarding expeditions. In 2004, while training for the 2010 Olympics, Sean was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Considering leaving snowboarding all together, Sean was inspired by reading stories he found through a JDRF event called Children’s Congress. It was these stories that inspired him to keep living his dreams despite having diabetes. Sean founded Riding On Insulin, a non-profit organization, to honor all the kids who inspired him to keep living. Riding On Insulin provides international ski and snowboard camps for kids living with diabetes – with an emphasis on how to manage blood glucose levels where altitude, climate and humidity all play a role.

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