How To Keep Insulin Cold While Traveling: All You Need To Know!

Cazzy Magennis
Written By:
Cazzy Magennis
Last Updated:
August 31, 2021
I'm often asked, how do you keep your insulin cool in the heat? Or how do you keep your insulin alive in the cold? Let's check out below.........
Bags to keep insulin cold while travelling

I have taken my type one diabetes to the depths of cold, where I thought my insulin wouldn’t last the night, to the hot climates of Cambodia and Vietnam to the Atacama desert were I didn’t think it would last an hour. 

Knowing how to keep insulin cold while traveling is essential, and I can honestly say that if I didn’t have my Frio bags to regulate the temperature, I would have little, if not no insulin left.

I have spoken before about why I think Frio is perfect and essential for diabetics, but I thought I'd update you on various situations where my Frio bags have been put into action and managed to keep my insulin cool.

Interested in a quick buy? You can find a range of Frio bags here on Amazon.

Frio bags
Note: Some posts may contain affiliate links. Read more in our Privacy Policy. Learn more about how we create and update content in our Publishing Guidelines.

How do you keep insulin cold without a fridge?

It is COLD at the bottom of the world- Ushuaia, and travelling in Patagonia hasn’t always left me with access to fridges to keep my insulin cooler- especially when camping outside or day tripping it to the Perito Moreno Glacier!

It has been my Frio bags that have kept my insulin at fridge temperature so it hasn’t died. I hiked up my first glacier in Ushuaia, and it was absolutely freezing, I actually thought the Frio bags wouldn’t be able to handle this kind of cold, so was prepared to hold a insulin funeral- however, she never failed me!

When you are backpacking, or even roadtripping with diabetes, you will always be presented with moment that you won't have access to a fridge. This could be for a day, or even a couple of days. When I was roadtripping through Switzerland and Austria, it was extremely cold and I had no fridge for my insulin. I kept my insulin in my Frio bag then stored it in an environment where it wasn't exposed to extreme temperatures.

Read Also: The Best Insulin Cooling Cases

Diabetic monitor in Ushuaia, Patagonia

How do you keep insulin cold without electricity, and in the heat?

Keeping insulin cold in the heat can be a challenge if you don't have an icepack, fridge or something like a frio bag. Managing your diabetes in the heat is already a challenge, so don't complicate your insulin too.

When I was in backpacking South America I visited the Amazon Rainforest, The Atacama Desert, and in Asia I was constantly in soaring hot temperatures that risked not only hypos, but my insulin dying in the heat.

If you don't have access to a fridge, or freezer bag with ice packs, then your Frio bag is going to be best bet, or any other medication cooler. Keeping your insulin cool in these bags is perfect for day trips, or if you're camping out for a night etc. It's always important to carry extra insulin out with you in case of an emergency, but it's just as important to ensure it's kept cool.

If you don't want to use a Frio bag, or you simply can't afford one, then buy an cheap cooling bag (like a lunch box) and cheap ice blocks that you freeze in the fridge. If you are only heading out for a day trip, then this is a solution for keeping your insulin cold in the heat.

Cazzy in Atacama desert

How do you keep insulin cold while camping?

Torres del Paine goes from sunny, to windy, to cold too...if you are lucky..snow! So, naturally insulin stops working at a certain temperature and even freezes- this was a definite possibility with -4 temperatures, so it was my trusted Frio that helped regulate the temperate of my insulin here and it worked, no insulin died!

Be aware, I have been using these Frio bags on all my trips away. That's 7 months in total for South America and Asia. NONE of my insulin has died ever, and that's even when it's been out of the fridge over the recommended amount of time. That is a true testament to their ability to succeed in keeping your insulin working- and giving you one less thing to worry about when on an adventure! 

I brought 25 bottles of insulin with me to both South America and Asia and I typically overestimated on purpose. Remember insulin companies state that insulin dies when out of the fridge after 28 days- well Frio has completely stopped that from happening, as I have not a single issue with dead insulin yet.

I don’t like having to fuss around my type one diabetes; I like to get what needs doing sorted, and enjoy my adventures. Knowing I haven’t had to worry about my insulin, terrified if it’s not in a fridge it will die, has completely taken the stress out of that aspect of this trip.

I have been using insulin coolers for when I travel ever since my first trip away to Paris; then to Bangladesh, to Thailand, & Rome.

Remember to check out my guide on Insulin Travel Cases.

Blood glucose monitor camping

How to keep insulin cold when flying

Many people have asked me how to keep insulin cool on a plane as well. With a vast amount of experience of plane travel I can tell you the key is the same as anywhere else, use a Frio bag or similar insulin travel case. Just activate them in cold water and your insulin pens and cartridges will stay at a cool temperature on the plane for any length of flight!

It is so important that you keep your insulin in your hand luggage NOT the hold luggage. It's exposed to extreme temperatures down there and will freeze.

All of the information here is the same for anyone looking to keep their insulin cold on holiday. You don’t have to be backpacking for a year to use this advice. The bags work just as well if you want to spend 2 weeks lying beside a pool in 35 degree heat ... which right now I would really love to do!

If you don't use Frio, you can use another medicine cooler for air travel, such as those provided by MediCool. I've done a whole post on various insulin travel cases you can use on your trip, but the majority of fellow type 1 diabetes agree that Frio is the best.

For more information on flying and diabetes, check out this post


Keeping the rest of my diabetes equipment cold when travelling

Equipment-wise, you can place your Frio bags in a diabetic travel case, and Myabetic actually does one that has a built in compartment for your Frio bag! How perfect is that? I recently received one and they fit perfectly and are great for city breaks. I took mine on my last city break to Torino.

With regards to keeping your diabetic equipment cold, Frio also make an insulin pump cover that keeps your medical device at the right temperature but with your handsets, the plane temperature won’t affect your diabetic devices negatively! These cases can be used to store anything including insulin syringes and insulin pump accessories.

Frio is now definitely my go-to choice. I will never stop using them; they are the best investment I have made to my travels and diabetes.

Insulin pump in the Atacama desert

Remember the great things about Frio are.....

  • It keeps insulin cool and safe! 18-26 degrees is the required temperate for in-use insulin, so it’s perfect for keeping your insulin cold when it’s not in a fridge!
  • Its stylish and compact - They come in a range of colours, and a new colour, TEAL! My favourite is red. They have a variety of sizes and styles so you have a Frio bag to fit every occasion.
  • The Wallet can be reactivated and used for subsequent periods of 45 hours minimum for up to 28 days- however I have used mine for 3.5 months at a time and never had any problems.
  • You simply activate them with cold water- no complications there; and last up to 12 months minimum or even longer depending on how you care for them and how frequent- my oldest Frio bag is 3 years old and still going strong!

So once again, THANK YOU FRIO.

MedAngel One

Med angel one
This is the little sensor!

I just discovered this awesome sensor recently and it's the perfect addition to your Frio bag or insulin cooling wallet. It's a simple sensor you pop into your insulin cooling wallet, or hotel/hotel/airbnb fridge to check whether you insulin is at the right temperature throughout the day. It will keep you informed via an app on your phone and warn you if your insulin is in danger!

It's perfect for days out in hot destinations, skiing or hiking in cold climates and more. The great thing is that the sensor battery lasts nine months, and it's replaceable, so it's a real investment for your health! You can get 20% off when you purchase our NEW ebook OR course!

You can use the 20% off code on both website!

Other Diabetic Coolers for your insulin

I've used Frio as my solution for best way to keep insulin cool while traveling because it's the only product I've tried and tested. However, there are other similar products on offer such as, Fridge-to-Go and Medicool. Check out my review of other insulin travel cases to help you when travelling the world with t1d.

Let me know your own experiences or ask any more questions below :)

For an exclusive guide on travelling with diabetes, including, tips, resources, professional statements and exclusive discounts, then download the E-book today and get your exclusive discount with Frio, Medangel and Medicool amongst others!

Use code LAUNCH25 for 25% off!

Please note that this isn't a sponsored post. I know I've mentioned Frio a lot, but only simply because I use it religiously and it works. I travel 10 months out of the year, each year, so they must be doing something right if they have continued to keep my insulin cold while travelling.

Disclaimer: Fully research your destination prior to travel, or any products prior to purchase. We can accept no responsibility for anything you experience as a result of the information found on this website. Some posts may contain affiliate links, which means we receive a small commission for some purchases, at no additional expense to you. Read more here
Some images courtesy of Deposit Photos.
Tinggly badge
Other posts
Country Guides
Destination Guides

Leave a comment

Let us know what you think!