Whether traveling for a long weekend getaway or an extended summer vacation, most of us will have our medications on our “to pack” list. But there’s more to packing your medicines than just throwing them in your luggage.
The last thing any traveler wants to worry about while on vacation is running out of their prescription medication and risk becoming sick from not having it.
With the proper planning and utilizing a few medication packing tips, you can feel confident that any medicines you may need during your time away from home are available when you need them. We put together this guide covering everything you need to know about traveling with prescription medications.
Speak to your doctor and pharmacist
Schedule an appointment with your physician/healthcare provider to get all required vaccines and medications at least 4 to 6 weeks before you leave on your trip.
Are you traveling for more than 30 days at a time? During your appointment, you should also talk to your doctor about having enough medication to last the duration of your trip. This may require you to check on your prescription coverage because some insurance companies won’t fill more than a 30-day supply without permission from a physician.
Double-check with your pharmacist about safely storing each medication you are traveling with. Do any of them require refrigeration? If so, you will need to put them in a mini cooler and ensure you have access to a fridge at your destination.
Know TSA rules and regulations
If you have traveled by air, you most likely know the rules set by the Transporation Security Administration (TSA) regarding what you can and cannot bring onto a plane.
All luggage, bags, and people must go through a security checkpoint before boarding an aircraft. However, knowing TSA’s regulations around packing medications and medical devices before you pack can help make the screening process more efficient and your travel experience at the airport easier.
Some important things to know:
- Pack your medications in your carry-on instead of your checked bag. If your luggage gets lost, you don’t want to be without your medicines.
- While there are restrictions on most liquids, gels, and aerosols, medications are an exception. You should still have your medications readily available in case they need to be screened.
- TSA officers may test liquids, gels, or aerosols, including medicines for explosives or prohibited items.
- You may bring freezer packs, IV bags, pumps, syringes, or other items needed to store and use medicines. However, you should inform the TSA agent at the beginning of the screening process that you are carrying medications and supplies for them.
- Keep medications in their original, labeled containers. Prescription labels should include your full name, prescribing physician’s name, generic and brand name, and exact dosage.
- Pack copies of all prescriptions, including the generic names for medicines.
Find out more information about traveling with medications and medical equipment.
Know about rules and regulations in other countries
Traveling abroad? It’s essential to check that all medications you are traveling with are legal in the country you’re visiting. Some medicines available over the counter or by prescription in the United States are illegal or controlled substances in other countries.
Check all your medications you intend to take on your trip with the country’s embassy before you go to make sure your medicines are legal there.
Organize a health kit
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends packing a travel health kit with prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, and other supplies that might be hard to find on your trip.
Some over-the-counter medications to consider packing are:
- Anti-diarrhea medication
- Anti-motion sickness medication
- Acetaminophen and/or ibuprofen
- Mild laxative or stool softener
- Cough medicine
- Cough drops
- Antifungal ointment
- Antibacterial ointments
While the general rule of thumb is to pack enough for your trip plus two days in case of delays, you should consider current Covid travel restrictions. In the event you test positive and have to quarantine before traveling home, you want to ensure you have enough medications and medical supplies.
Know dosage times and set alarm reminders
Many medications are time-sensitive and need to be taken at the same time every day. In addition, they should also be taken according to the time since your last dose, not the local time of day.
It’s often helpful to set alarm reminders in your smartphone, or other digital devices to when your doses are due each day. Just be sure your reminders are set for your destination’s timezone.
Check resources before you go and while away
With the Covid-19 pandemic transforming the way we travel, guidelines and recommendations are constantly being updated or changed. Make sure you are up-to-date on your destination’s most recent restrictions, as well as the process for coming back into the U.S. (if you are traveling out of the country)
It’s also important to know where to go online to find information should you run into an issue, get sick, need a refill, etc.
These are some organizations that are reliable, up-to-date, and resourceful:
- The CDC– offers details on travelers’ health, health information on individual countries, and traveling abroad with medicine.
- The U.S. Department of State– maintains a travel website that provides an updated profile about the status of every country in the world.
- International Association for Medical Assistance for Travelers (IAMAT)– includes resources to limit health-related issues for travelers.
- U.S. Embassies and Consulates– helps you find a U.S. embassy anywhere in the world where you can find a reliable doctor and pharmacy in that country.
Staying healthy while traveling is key to making the most out of your trip. By packing your medications and being prepared before you leave, you can save yourself a lot of time, stress, and money while you are away!
Are you starting to plan for your upcoming trip? Have your medications shipped right to your door with Quick RX!