Time zone change

6 posts, 4 contributors

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Annette Bell DAFNE Graduate
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals
60 posts

I am travelling to New Zealand next February, a 29 hour total flightime, and across several time zones. I am wondering what to do about timings of my BI doses. I am using Levemir, 8 units a.m. and 6 units p.m. Can anyone advise me on this please?

Sharon doodle DAFNE Graduate
Cumbria Diabetes
15 posts

Could you keep your BI doses on your uk time, or thereabouts? I'm not sure what the health professionals would say....discuss it with your specialist nurse, I'm sure they will be asked this a lot?

Annette Bell DAFNE Graduate
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals
60 posts

I don't think that'd work as both doses are different & I'd be doing daytime things in the day so my night dose wouldn't be sufficient etc. Unfortunately I no longer live in a DAFNE area, so my diabetes nurse knows nothing about DAFNE. I'm pretty much on my own. Am hoping a DAFNE HCP might see this & help! Thanks anyway!

Warwick DAFNE Graduate
Diabetes Australia-Vic, Melbourne, Victoria
390 posts

Hi Annette,

There are a couple of good websites with detail about this here which may be helpful:



Realistically, it will be a bit hit and miss. Although I live in Australia, I travel to New Zealand a couple of times per year (my home land). Although the two hour time difference doesn't affect me too much, the flights always do. Part of that is travelling with small children - hypos galore followed by highs from guessing badly the carb content of the airline meals.

Some things I recommend:

The Frio travel wallet: http://www.diabetesfrio.com/frio-wallets/cat_3.html?ccUser= It keeps insulin cold, even on hot airline flights. I use these for about 9 months of the year. All it needs is to be dipped in water about once per week.

Make sure you have enough insulin in your hand luggage to last an extra week in case your hold luggage gets lost. You would be able to get replacement insulin in New Zealand, but you'll need to see a doctor for a prescription first. Ditto for carrying extra insulin in the hold luggage in case you lose your hand luggage.

Get a letter from your GP to show a local GP in NZ if you run out of insulin for any reason. Prescriptions are fairly cheap in NZ (for locals, not sure about tourist visitors). Needles are about $25 per box of 100, so if you can get them cheaper in the UK (They are free here in Australia), then bring them with you.

Have fun. NZ is a great country (although I am naturally biased), and you shouldn't have any issue with being diabetic there.


michaelj DAFNE Graduate
South East Kent PCT
39 posts

I spent 3 weeks in New Zealand Jan 2014 and had no problems with this. If your flight goes late evening as mine did you can take your basal at your usual time in the evening. The first leg depending on where you stop ( mine was Malaysia) takes about 12 hrs so your am units could be done on the aircraft.There will be a stop for some time before the next flight. You can work this out from your air tickets. Second leg is usually 10 hours so you may have to be a little flexible about timing you next dose. I find if you keep to UK time for the first 24 hrs this will help with your timings, as New Zealand is 24 hrs in front of us and when you get there you can do a simple swop.
I take my basal in one go and just break it down to half dose for the first 12 hours and then started on NZ time. Would agree with Warwick about stocking up with insulin and and other bits. Make sure you have plenty of test strips as you will probably be testing a lot more than usual.. Frio wallets are fine for insulin but NZ can get quite hot, and some test strips can be affected by temperature, so check the box and if needed, get a small cool bag for them. I personally always take twice as much medication as I would normally need to make sure I don't run out. New Zealand is pretty much up to speed on diabetic issues, they use the same insulin's as we do. run Daphne courses and do have a diabetic association, so life out there is not normally a problem. I even found a diabetic drop in shop in the town of Blenheim and chatted for a while to a very nice lady about diabetes in New Zealand. They are having pretty much the same problems with this disease as the UK
Have a great time and enjoy yourself. It's a fantastic country.

Annette Bell DAFNE Graduate
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals
60 posts

Thanks everyone. I already have Frio wallets for my insulin as we holiday in Greece a lot, & these seem to work well. I've not, so far, had any issues with my test strips being affected by high temperatures so hopefully will be ok. We are staying with son & daughter-in-law & new(ish) granddaughter so I'm sure they'll know where I can get medical help if I need it. New Zealand is 12-13 hours ahead of us, not 24, which makes it a bit more complicated. We've looked at our flight times and I think I can more or less stay with my normal doses at normal times until we get there, & just postpone my first morning dose as we arrive at about midnight. This might mean high BG for the first day, but I'm sure with adjustments I can sort it. Thanks for all your suggestions & encouragement. If anyone has any more advice it will be gratefully received!