Travelling with Meds: What to Know
For many people, access to their prescription medications is not a matter of mere convenience – it is an issue of vital importance. You might feel that medical reliance on a drug will complicate prospective travel plans, or that certain travel destinations can cause unwanted complications to arise. This doesn’t have to be the case.
Prescription drugs do not have to interfere with your travel plans. By following these simple steps for travelling with meds, you can be free to travel wherever and whenever you like without the fear of finding yourself thousands of miles from home without a much-needed medication.
Talk With Your Doctor
Before leaving, consult with your doctor about any precautions you may need to take regarding the environmental factors of your destination. If, for example, you are headed for a warm, sunny climate and your medication might cause photosensitivity, your doctor could recommend a high-SPF sunblock. Or, if your medication may cause dizziness and you’re headed to the mountains, your doctor could have some additional instructions to help you keep your feet on the ground.
Bring Extra Medication
It is also a good idea to talk with your doctor about increasing your prescription temporarily. As the old saying goes, “expect the unexpected”. Even if you may have enough of your medication to last through the days you plan to be away, it is possible that unforeseen circumstances might arise. When they do, it would be good to have extra doses of vital medications on-hand.
Flights can be delayed and storms may roll in suddenly. The last thing you want when your trip takes an unplanned extension is to run out of medication.
It would also be wise to ask your doctor for copies of your prescriptions – this way if your luggage disappears for whatever reason you can simply replace any medications which are lost.
Keep Your Medications On Hand
If you are flying, be sure to keep all of your prescription drugs in the original containers and pack them in your carry-on as opposed to your checked luggage.
The TSA does not forbid passengers from bringing liquid, gel or aerosol medications on board planes. If a liquid medication happens to pass the 3-ounce limit or for whatever reason does not fit into a one-quart zip-top bag, you will need to have these items specially inspected by a security officer, though you can still bring them on board once they have passed inspection.
Check the Customs Rules of Your Destination
If you will be traveling to another country, investigate their customs regulations before booking your trip. Some nations might have limitations on certain types or quantities of medications which can be brought into the country.
For example, some countries restrict self-administered injections. Even something seemingly simple like vitamin B12 injections to treat pernicious anemia might mean a trip to a local doctor’s office. Even if you secure a prescription for B12 injections in your homeland, you might not be able to use them while overseas.
This information can be most easily found by contacting the embassy of your destination country and verifying that your medications are legal under that country’s laws.
In addition, the U.S. State Department recommends that overseas travelers bring along a doctor’s note which explains the medical conditions which necessitate your medications. This letter should also include a list of your prescribed medications and the generic versions of those drugs.
If you follow these simple steps, traveling with medications is simple. A vacation is an opportunity for you to relax and have fun, and medical necessities don’t have to hamper your good time.
Lindsey is a seasoned traveler who enjoys sharing tips from her personal experiences. She experienced some medication drama on her last trip overseas!