Keeping insulin cold/summer travel abroad

Hello all!
I’m a type 1 diabetic, use vials of insulin/injections and will be traveling for a month in Europe this summer. I’m concerned about keeping insulin cold- will get up to 100°! Some hotels will have mini fridges, but not all- and of course will have time between hotels when traveling from city to city. Any ideas/advice? Thanks in advance!!

Hello Jessicacarkin,

One of the possible clue is to use a good quality thermoflask. Put a few ice cubes in it & place the insulin pen/cartridge inside. Make sure insulin doesn’t touch the ice directly as to avoid its freezing. Depending upon the envoirnmental temperature, insulin may surive up to 13-15 hours or even more. I have been using this trick quite successfully over 4-5 years & noticed that even under 40 degree celcius, insulin surives 10 -11 hours then I need to replace ice cubes again as to go on again.

Have a nice trip & stay healthy!!!

Good Luck.
Munir Nara.
(Lahore 34C, 2053Hours)

Hi Jessicacarkin,

Frio packs are great for protecting insulin from high temps. They will safely keep your insulin at room temperature. Of course, if you want your insulin to last longer than 30 days and be able to bring unused insulin back home to put in the fridge, that will be the challenge. Munir Nara has an interesting idea! Also, do keep in mind that hotel fridges often freeze! If I am staying two nights in a hotel, I will put bottled water in the first night and keep my insulin in a cooler with ice in it (but NOT directly touching). IF the fridge didn’t freeze, it goes into the fridge the next night. Good luck!


hi @Jessicacarlin,

3 more thoughts, first, insulin will be fine for 30 days. I have never had a vial go bad from heat, sunlight could be a bigger factor. a simple thermos with cold water (not ice) will temper insulin for 10+ hours

also, insulin is generally available in the EU. many places will sell it without a script. look up each destination and see or plan how to get insulin if required. people tend to worry about temperature, but did you know that an insulin vial will break open 100% of the time if it is dropped in a hotel? don’t ask how I know =)

finally, enjoy your trip.

I’m also a fan of Frio packs. I use them any time I’m traveling and unsure if I’ll have a fridge available at night or if I’m traveling somewhere unusually warm. They just need to be soaked in water for a few minutes and they’re good to go, though if you have a refrigerator they last a little longer between soaking if you put them in the fridge overnight. For normal, every day life, though, my humalog is only refrigerated at night and I’ve never had a problem with it going bad. During the day it travels with me in a pack with my glucometer and other supplies. Even in the summer. As long as you’re refrigerating it or finding other ways to keep your insulin cool overnight, I’m willing to be you’ll be just fine. Researching the pharmacies where you’re traveling is a good back-up plan, though. And look up the alternative types of insulin and how you could substitute them if need be (novolog instead of humalog, for example).

Thank you so much. Didn’t know about hotel fridges potentially freezing insulin! Will definitely but a few frío cases before I leave. They always made me nervous, as I wondered how well they actually worked- but sounds like you all found them to be effective. So thank you! If it wasn’t super hot, wouldn’t be as nervous- but think it’s important to have them. Also got a physical prescription from my doctor for insulin to bring, just in case. Thanks again!!

Good day to Jessicacarlin & all friends on the forum!!!

Friends are talking about Frio Packs. Good to hear that but never heard of it before. The reason possibly might be these are not available here (in Pakistan), I had too much troubled when I had been put to insulin 5 years back from pills. The biggest problem perhaps had to secure insulin while travelling out of town to nearby cities. I searched madly but ended up to get insulin cooling pad (filled with glycol mostly), which work only for about an hour, under 40 degree celcius. Then I adopted the above stated trick to go well with insulin.

Can anyone here tell , how long Frio packs work correctly in keeping the insulin cool with respect to temperature gradient?
Actually, it remains too hot here most part of the year (excluding from NOV to FEB), eventually when mercury go beyond 45 then it’s really becomes hard to secure insulin properly if we donot get airconditioning within 2-3 hours from the start of the journey, even too often airconditioning of the automobiles / big coaches fail to work due to tremendous heat stress & scorching SUN.
So, may be FRIO could be a good choice /alternative here!!!
What are the shelf life of these Frio Packs?

Look forward to your kind support & assistance please.

KInd Regards,
Munir Nara
(Lahore 36C, humidity 37%, 2305 Hours)

I actually got a ChillMED bag for my travel to Russia from the US (leaving in about 1 week) and I’m excited to try it out. It has excellent reviews. I also got myself a Frio wallet. I hope this helps!

@Danichka1391, you need to be able to freeze the ice pack for things like the ChillMED, though right?

@Munirnara, the Frio packs ( last a couple days in between soakings. They’re not ice packs, so they don’t really keep the insulin cold, but they will keep it from getting warm. They’re ideal for situations in which you don’t have access to a fridge or freezer but can access cool water every few days. They’ll also wear out over time and need to be replaced, but I’ve had mine for several years now. The extra large one that I use almost every time I travel is starting to wear out, but is still usable. The little jelly crystal things that plump up in the water don’t get quite as plump as they used to, so it dries out faster than when I first got it. Here’s the link to their “About Frio” page for more info: It claims they work for up to 45 hours and in temperatures up to 120 degrees F/~48 degrees C. I have no idea if they’re available in Pakistan… I think the website only ships them within the US, but maybe they’d be available through another provider or shipper? If you can get a hold of one, it sounds like it might help you at least get from air-conditioned point A to air-conditioned point B worry free, even if vehicle air conditioning fails.

Hello Bsteingard & everyone here!!!

Good day to all of you !!!

Many thanks for providing such a vital & detail info on the FRIO. I have searched a lot since then & found that few online shopping sites are offering these FRIO, but cost is high, (in terms of US it is around 40-50 US), which is pretty high consdiering our currency. Anyway, I will love to find at least one of them for me as it looks so useful in managing the insulin affairs more effectively rather than to my own trick of using a good quality thermoflask with few ice cubes (generally less than 10 small ice cubes), to go well for atleast 8-10 hours even without airconditioning.

While gathering more info on FRIO, it has been found that FRIO works great provided humidity level is low as to allow effective evaporation but it doesn’t work properly if there is much humidity around.

Does anyone have any practical experience of using FRIO under severe humidity?

I shall really appreciate kind support & assistance from the forum please!!!

Kind Regards,
Munir Nara.
(Lahore 29C, humidity 51%, 2249 Hours)