Posted on 19-June-2019   by Imogen Jones

Advice: Travelling with sharps

Advice Travelling with sharps - family at airport

One of the most frequently asked questions of our Customer Service Team is about travelling, particularly abroad, with syringes and needles. While this is not our area of expertise, we have gathered together some resources and advice which may help people with diabetes, and other medical conditions which require the use of sharps, understand the rules and guidance.

The latest official guidelines from GOV.UK (June 2019) on essential medical supplies in hand luggage states that you’ll need a letter from your doctor explaining what they’re for if you need to carry medicines and medical equipment such as needles or syringes. Read on for more information.

Forward planning is key

Health experts advise preparing for a trip four to six weeks before you travel. Planning ahead is key to having a great time away and dealing with any potential problems.

Air travel with diabetes

Carry your diabetes ID & bring a letter from your GP explaining your need to carry syringes or injection devices, insulin and any other medication.

Carry all your diabetes medicines as hand luggage in case your checked-in bags go missing or your medicines are damaged in the baggage hold.

Check before you travel

Contact your airline several weeks before travelling to discuss medical devices you intend to take on board the aircraft, such as a pump or glucose monitor.

Different countries have different rules and regulations about the types of medicine they allow to be taken into the country and the maximum quantity you can take in. Check the rules for all the countries you’re going to, including countries that you’re just passing through.

Source: NHS – travelling with medicines click here and travelling with diabetes click here.

At the airport

Heightened airport security means that it’s really important that you plan ahead to avoid running into any last-minute problems.

The British Diabetic Association website, operating as Diabetes UK, says passengers are permitted to carry essential medical equipment through airport security, though all medication and equipment must be supported by documentation from a relevantly qualified medical professional.

It also advises buying travel insurance and applying for the free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if you are travelling to a European Union member country. This will ensure that you have easy access to healthcare in that country.

Source: Diabetes UK – Click here to read its Travelling & diabetes webpage.

So, will I be allowed on the plane with my insulin and syringes/needles?

With a doctor’s letter in hand, there should be no problem boarding with your insulin according to However, it is worth checking the airline policy before you travel and phoning them up to make sure if you are concerned. It also says that cabin crew may request medication be handed over for storage during the flight.

Source: – Click here to read its Air Travel and Insulin guide.

If you have any other tips or useful sources of information on this issue, we’d love to hear from you. Telephone: 01865 371841 or email:

Imogen is the Product Manager for our SHARPSGUARD® range, and our Marketing Manager for the UK & Ireland.