It’s Travel Tip Tuesday! At some point you will likely need to travel with a prescription, or maybe just some ibuprofen and melatonin for the flight. This post was the brainchild of my older brother, Jared. He called me up one day and said, “Have you ever done a post about what to do with medicine when you travel?”
While I think I’ve mentioned it a time or two, I think it’s a big enough concern for some travelers to warrant its own post. So here is a list of some things to keep in mind when you travel with meds.
1. Check with TSA
No matter your opinion of TSA, you are at their mercy when you travel. If you have to travel with medication, be it liquid, pill, requires refrigeration, etc., you can find most of the medical information you need here on their website. If you’re still not sure, they do this awesome thing on Twitter. Just tweet your question with @AskTSA, and you will receive a tweet back with you answer shortly!
2. Check with Your Pharmacist
They are the experts! Stop in before your next trip and see what they have to say about traveling with your prescription. My friend Paige is a pharmacist, and her number one pointer is that most people don’t know they can get a “vacation override” for a long trip or to reorder a prescription you forgot at home. This only works for travel within the US, though, not internationally! If you do need to see a doctor in a different country to fill a prescription, be aware that your prescription may have a different name in that country. Know what’s been going into your body!
My cousin Jeff, also a pharmacist, says his number one tip is to pack your prescriptions in your carry-on, not your checked luggage. He also says to bring a written prescription from your doctor, even for glasses and contacts, just in case. Not sure if your prescription is allowable in the country you’re visiting? Most up-to-date guide books like Eyewitness Travel and others will address that information.
3. Only Pack What You Need
This goes along with basic packing guidelines, but it’s worth mentioning here, too. I have an old medicine container that I use to pack only as many vitamins, ibuprofen, melatonin, etc., that I’ll need for my trip. But be careful about this because some countries have severe penalties for bringing drugs into their countries. You don’t need to take all your pills or capsules, but you should take what you need in the original containers so they are identifiable. But again, only take what you’ll need. What if you take it all and then you lose them? Then you’re out of medicine for your trip AND when you get back home. No good!
4. Pack It in Your Carry-on
I do not check a bag, nor do I recommend that anyone else check a bag either. But if you do have to check a bag, make sure your medicine is in your carry-on. If your luggage gets lost, which still happens even in the 21st century, you’re out of luck and out of meds! Also no good! If you have a medication that needs to stay cold, ask a flight attendant if they can keep it in their fridge. Also, remember that the overhead bins are often cold in flight, so that should help.
5. Put it Away Quickly
I once had to bring a prescription with me that needed to stay at room temperature or below. We planned on going to our accommodation to put our luggage away, but plans changed at the last minute and we ended up being out and about all day–with our bags in the hot car! Luckily, I was able to call my insurance company and get a vacation override for a replacement! I just needed to call my pharmacy at home and give them permission to release my prescription to a local pharmacy near where we were staying. Crisis averted! If this happens to you, just be sure to have your prescription transferred back to your pharmacy at home in time for your next pick-up.
Have you had an interesting medicine and traveling experience? What did you do about it?