When it comes to travelling with insulin, the one thing we need to sort before we start planning anything else is how to make sure our insulin is cool whilst travelling. Insulin is the drug that keeps us alive and helps us regulate our blood sugar to ensure we enjoy traveling, so without ensuring it stays at the required temperature, our insulin will die.
Insulin, like other medications to treat chronic illnesses, are sensitive to heat and need to be stored at a temperature of between 2 to 8-degree °C
So, a good quality insulin travel case is the way to achieve this.
I’ve spoken lots of times about ways to keep our insulin cold when travelling, but I’ve mainly put my focus on Frio bags.
I still believe Frio bags are fantastic, but I thought I’d venture out on the internet and search for other varieties of diabetic coolers for insulin that may be on the market.
Low and behold, I found a few other products, so here is a complete comparison of all the insulin travel cases I found on the web and the benefits of each!
PSSST, do don't go travelling without medical ID!
It’s an insulin travel case that basically promotes a unique range of cooler bags that help keep your contents cold for up to 8 hours.
They are described as durable, collapsible, easily stored, re-usable and environmentally friendly.
The front page recommends them for packed lunches etc, but I thought, wouldn’t it work for insulin for shorter duration's?? I did some digging.
They do have a ‘Medical wallet’ specifically designed for holding medication.
They do both a large one, which looks as though it could hold around three-four insulin pens, so around 5-6 insulin vials. The smaller bag seems as though it would hold around two insulin pens and around 4 vials.
The bags are advertised as a short-term solution to keeping your insulin cool, and I would agree with that.
The insulin travel cooler lasts up to 8 hours which is perfect if you’re heading out for the day in the sunshine, at the beach, or even take a long car journey.
As long as your travel duration doesn’t exceed the 8 hours, then this is a good product for those “in-between” moments of travelling.
If however, you are taking 12-hour bus journeys or your insulin won’t be in a fridge for a full 24 hours, then it’s probably best to consider an additional product for those times.
I haven’t tested this product first hand, so I cannot vouch for its effectiveness, but if you have then let us know in the comments what you thought.
Maybe I’ll get a chance to try it on my travels and let you guys know how it works.
These guys are an Australian company, but these products are available in the USA, Canada and further afield.
This insulin cooling case is actually pretty cool! The guys at 4AllFamily have sent me one to try out. This is basically an insulin cooling device that is in the form of a stainless steel cup.
What I actually love is that it looks like a coffee cup, so doesn't look "medical" which is something I always try to avoid when choosing insulin cooling cases.
It actually works in two ways: Firstly there is the Biogel bottle, which you can refrigerate for 6-8 hours in advance then pop it in your cooling case along with your insulin and cover it up! OR, when you have access to electricity, you can put the insulin into your vacuum
bottle and cover it with the black cooling cap. You then connect it power with the USB (have it on 30 minutes before you put your insulin in).
This combination of two ways to keep your insulin cool from one device means it's a perfect travel companion. You're able to keep your insulin cool when you don't have access to a fridge, THEN when you reach electricity, you can switch to the USB.
I think that's really cool!
The next insulin travel case I want to look at is Medicool.
Medicool actually is a website that houses a whole host of different insulin travel coolers and cases, so I’ll go through the ones I discovered on my searches and weigh up the pros and cons for traveling with type 1 diabetes.
Not only is this insulin travel case fully insulated, but it comes with an electronic temperature display that reads the outside temperature! How cool is that? Pretty cool I thought. This product can keep your insulin cool for up to thirty hours, and it has the ability to carry needles, syringes and other medications you may require. It includes a re-freezable gel pack, meaning it can be reused, and a shoulder strap, which I guess is convenient if you want to hold it in your shoulder.
They are activated via water and are great for keeping insulin safe when it’s not being refrigerated.
But honestly, I think this is a pretty decent product, and perhaps I’ll get the chance to try them someday, but they are essentially the same as Frio bags, but Frio bags stay cooler for longer, which suits me better when I am travelling long-term, but these are a great choice if you are heading off on holiday!
This is probably the least favourite of the insulin travel cases I’ve come across, not because I don’t think it’s useful, but I don’t think it’s a good choice for travelling with type 1 diabetes.
But, let's consider and look at the details.
The Medicool Insulin Protector Case can keep your insulin cool for up to 12 hours, so it’s definitely a good choice for a long road trip or flights or even a long day out at the beach. The problem is, it only holds up to two bottles of insulin, which really means, it’s not suitable for long-haul trips.
Two bottles of insulin would typically last me, around 20 days, give or take, which of course is fine for a 2 week holiday, the only problem is, that leaves me no room for spares, and it’s imperative that you take spares with you whilst travelling with insulin.
However, if you are on a short-term trip, then maybe this is the choice for you. It also comes with two cooler packs so you can refrigerate one whilst using the other. You can get it here.
MediFridge is an insulin travel case that really is a complete all-in-one package, but it does have its drawbacks.
The MediFridge is basically an insulin travel case that’s a portable fridge.
It uses a Peltier Effect to create cold with moving parts or gas and the latest version of the fridge has been adapted perfectly for most heat-sensitive medication, including insulin. It’s a little pricey, coming in at a whopping £83, and it’s also bulky- ie not good for a backpacker.
I can’t find any information on how much insulin it will hold...but since it’s a mini fridge, I am going to assume a decent amount.
The company who produced this fridge are French and they also produce a range of other insulin travel coolers that keep your insulin cool and I’ve picked out my favourite.
UPDATE 2018: It seems these are no longer stocked anywhere online, so cannot provide links to purchase.
This product keeps your insulin cool for 12, 24 or 36 hours, (depending on which version you buy), but it can be reactivated for another 24 hours, and so on so forth.
The thing I really like about this product is that it has the space to organize around three weeks supply of your medication….which is a really great amount. Therefore, for example, if I am heading off on a trip to live in Austria for a month, (which I did), then it will keep my insulin cool until I arrive there and transfer it to a fridge, and it will have the amount of insulin I need!
However, it is an expensive choice coming in at 65 euro. But as far as insulin travel cases go, I’d say this doesn’t seem like a bad one.
They also offer a range of small cool bags for medication too, which means you can find something to suit you. But, it doesn’t have a wide range of colours and looks a little clinical. (I’m not sure if you have realised but I don’t like things looking clinical!)
Last, but by no means least, I’ll give a review of Frio. As you might well know, this is my product of choice and I have used it for 4 years now, (the same bags), and I have never had any insulin die. I think this reflects just how well they work. For me, they work even better than they actually recommend!
If you haven’t already checked out my other babblings about Frio, then you might not know that Frio bags are a device that keeps your insulin at the required temperature when you don’t have access to a fridge, so either flying, camping, hiking, etc.
I personally think Frio is the most reasonably priced for the style, quality and use you get from them!
Plus, you can shop around on Amazon, and other outlets to compare prices to find a cost that suits you- either way, you're still getting a Frio bag!
I’ve purchased one of mine direct of Frio, one off Amazon, and another I was given to review by Frio themselves (Thank you!) I used them before I got given one to review (it was their newest design), so that doesn’t make me biased BTW! :P
I really can’t give any major cons to the Frio bags, because it’s the thing I use every time I am travelling, so if I thought there were any major concerns I wouldn’t use it! They also have their newer Insulin Travel Case which has multiple compartments to hold all your Frio wallets, diabetic supplies and a sharps bin.
They are have a beautiful range of wallets that are fashionable and stunning! Check out mine here.
You can get an exclusive 20% off when you purchase the eBook or course.
This isn't a insulin travel case, rather it's a sensor that helps you track whether your insulin is at the required level to stay alive. It's a really cool sensor you pop into your fridge, or beside your insulin, or inside your chosen insulin cooling wallet and it can test if you insulin is too cold, too warm, or just right!
This is a perfect device for travelling to destinations that are known for their heat or cold and great for if you are backpacking and using dodgy hostel fridges. It tracks your insulin via an app on your phone and right now you can get a generous 20% off a sensor when you purchase our eBook or course. The sensor battery lasts for nine months, and it can be replaced so can be used for as long as you need it!
I have completed a full review on this product here. If you would like to purchase one, you can do so below:
So there you have it, my guide to the best insulin travel cases I could find on the market in 2019. Comment below if you use any of the products above, OR if you know of any other insulin cooling cases that I can add to the list!
Happy Travels, and as always, Dream big, and travel far!