Traveling with Medications

Not all medicines are created equal and not all destinations have the same rules.  Here’s a rough guide on how to travel with medications without facing too much trouble.


** It should be noted that this is general advice only and you should seek information from the relevant authorities before travel to ensure you have minimal issues. **



Before you travel it is wise to be prepared.  How long are you going away for?  Will you have enough of your medicines to get you by and some reserves in case there are any mishaps?  Talk to your doctors well before travel and they will be able to assist with your prescriptions.  Most pharmacies will allow certain medications to be dispensed so you’ll have enough to travel with.

Another wise idea (and a requirement in some destinations) is to have your doctor write a letter listing your medicines, dosages and purposes which you should keep with your travel documents.

Also now is the time to do some research.  Some countries will not allow in certain drugs no matter why you need them even if they’re just over the counter in another country.

If you’re using off brand named drugs will they be state their contents on the label?  If not, save yourself the trouble and get the generic brand.


Ready to Travel

Be 100% sure to have your paperwork in order should it be required.  Have letters and prescriptions available for any authorities that wish to see them.  Also check that all of your documents are valid and the medications are current and in your name.  Even if you’re prescribed the same drug as your partner, if it’s someone elses name on the box you’re likely to get in all sorts of trouble.

I always recommend keeping life critical drugs on your person when traveling.  Whether you keep a small bag on your person or keep the medication in your pocket.  What would happen if there was an emergency and your flight had to be evacuated in a hurry.  Could you survive without your medication?  Would you be able to get replacement medication in your destination?


During Travel

Now that you’re all prepared and have followed the rules to get to your destination, don’t forget to declare that you are carrying medications/drugs.  Even if you’ve overlooked something you’ll normally be OK if you’ve declared that you’re carrying.  This way the customs personnel at your destination will be able to check what you’re carrying and alert you to any issues.  Again it is very important to ensure that everything you’re carrying is valid, in your name and not expired.  It’s absolute best practice to keep your medications in their original packaging with your name clearly printed on it.

Once you reach your destination and have made it to your hotel or wherever, ensure you store your medications correctly.  Remember that some medications that require refrigeration cannot be put back into the fridge after they’ve been taken out for an extended period of time.


On The Way Home

When you’re heading back home remember to keep your letters and prescriptions handy.  Many people try to smuggle drugs into countries, often by disguising them as real medications so don’t be surprised if your medications are scrutinised on the way home.  Also remember to include them on your incoming passenger card.


Other Things to Consider

  • Be sure to have travel insurance when you’re traveling.  Make sure the insurer is aware of all of your conditions.  They will often refuse cover if you have not made them aware or have lied so it’s really in your best interests not to do this.  You don’t want to be stuck in another country with a major medical mishap with no options.
  • Keep your medications in your carry on.  The hold in most aircraft is not pressurised and can become very cold when cruising through the skies.  This may reek havoc on your medications.
  • Do not take risks.  Research before you travel and always declare.
  • Keep the number of your doctor handy when traveling in case you get into trouble and need medication advice.



Thanks for reading.  As I said before, take this all with a grain of salt.  It has helped me out in the past but I always research before I travel so I have all the information I need to make smart choices.




comments left so far. Please leave a comment below. Did I mention that I love your feedback?

Posted in General Interest, General Interest: Travel.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *