If you're traveling internationally, it's important to be prepared for any situation that may arise. This includes bringing your medications with you. Whether you're traveling for business or pleasure, it's always a good idea to have a plan in case of an emergency.
In this blog post, we'll discuss some tips on traveling with medication internationally. We'll cover everything from preparation to necessary documentation for prescription medications. We'll also give you some helpful tips on how to stay safe while traveling.
So, whether you're just starting to plan your trip or you're already on the road, read on for information that will help make your journey smoother!
Preparing for international travels with medication
When traveling with prescription medication, it's important to be prepared for any situation that may arise. This includes packing your medications properly in your carry-on luggage and making sure you have the necessary documentation. Preparation is key.
Here are a few quick things to keep in mind when preparing for international travel with prescription medications:
- Make sure you have enough of your prescription to last the entire trip. It's also a good idea to bring an extra dose or two of your prescription drugs just in case.
- Pack all of your medications in their original containers, and make sure they're clearly labeled.
- If you're traveling with liquid medication, make sure such medications are packed in a sturdy container and are clearly labeled. You may also need to show proof that the liquid is for medical treatment (for example, by showing your prescription or prescribed medicines).
- Necessary documentation to travel with medication internationally: Be prepared! Before traveling abroad, make sure you have all of your necessary paperwork.
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Regulated medicines and illegal substances
Every country has its own set of rules about certain medicines and it's best to do your research on that.
Some foreign countries don't allow certain prescription drugs and medical equipment that are legal in other countries. They might be illegal abroad. It's important to know what your destination country does or doesn't allow before traveling there with your prescription medication and prescription bottles. The embassy of your country of destination may be able to provide you with further information.
If you are traveling with a controlled substance, such as pain relief medication, anxiety disorder medications, sinus medications, nitroglycerin tablets, and vitamins, you will need to bring your prescription with you. If these medically necessary liquids don't have any prescriptions then avoid taking them with you. However, TSA (transportation security administration) policy allows you to carry vitamins in solid pill form with you.
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Necessary documentation to travel with medicine
Some countries require that you have a medical document from your doctor stating why you need the medication and how much is needed while traveling abroad. This can also be used as proof if customs agents ask about it at any point during the screening checkpoint process! If needed.
In some cases, you may also be asked to provide additional documentation. This could include a letter from your prescribing doctor explaining why you're taking the medication and what it's for.
When traveling abroad there may also be language barriers in some countries, so take your prescriptions in English or in the language of your destination if needed and possible. If you have originals, make copies and bring them with you on your phone. Believe me, this will save you a lot of time.
Her's a shortlist of the documentation you can take with you;
- A letter from your doctor stating why you're taking the medication and what it's for. (Preferably in English)
- Your prescriptions
- Copies of your prescriptions in case they get lost or stolen.
- Documentation from your pharmacy about the dosage and how long you've been taking the medication.
- Medical Health Card
Packing medication for international travels
When packing your medications for international travel, it's important to pack them in a way that will keep them safe and secure. Here are a few tips:
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How much medicine can you travel with?
TSA (transportation security administration) allows traveling with reasonable quantities of medication, medical supplies, and controlled substances for your personal needs.
You are permitted to travel with liquid medications in excess of the normal limit. Most of the time a carry-on bag's liquids limit is 3.4 ounces per item and some countries limit max of 30-days supply.
Try to inform the airport personnel that you are carrying medically required liquids and confirm that this is medication or other medically necessary liquids. Pack these items separately from all other luggage so they can be screened easily! If traveling by air, TSA recommends traveling with a valid doctor's note stating what type of medicine was prescribed (if traveling abroad).
How to pack medication for travel?
Pack all of your medications in their original containers. This will help customs agents quickly identify what the medication is if they need to.
If you're traveling with liquid medication, make sure you place medically required liquids in a sturdy container, clearly label it (preferably in labeled containers), and pack in your carry-on never your checked luggage. You may also need to show proof that the liquid is actually medication (for example, by showing your prescription).
A few tips on packing your medication for traveling:
- Never pack your liquid medication in your checked luggage. Always your carry-on.
- Pack all of your medications in their original containers.
- Clearly label your medication.
- When carrying medication in breakable containers use proper protection like the 4AllFamily Protection Sleeves or Insulin/Medication Coolers.
- Always pack extra supplies just in case something happens during travel like flight delays or other unexpected circumstances!
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While traveling with medications
When you travel with medications it's always good to keep a few things in mind. Here are some extra traveling tips for traveling with medications;
Adjusting to time zones changes
Time zone changes can be a challenge when traveling with medications.
If you're on a medication that needs to be taken at a specific time, try to adjust your schedule according to the new time zone before leaving. This will help reduce any chances of forgetting or running out of medication while traveling.
When you are using an insulin pump make sure that you change the time zone on your pump.
- Set an alarm to regulate your dosage time
- Take note of the timezone change before leaving and plan accordingly!
- Use a dual clock on your smartphone; one for your hometown and one for your destination's time.
- List down the timetable of your medication dosages on your laptop or smartphone.
- Ask your partner, friend, or family member (if you are not traveling alone) to remind you after intervals about your medications.
Keeping your medication safe during travels
Do not keep your medication all in one place in case a bag gets lost. Separate them into several bags and keep your medication in a bag that is easy to reach. Never pack it away or leave it behind if you need to quickly access them for any reason!
If your medication is temperature-sensitive, like insulin, Ozempic, Mounjaro, Wegovy, Saxenda, Humira, Enbrel, and many others, it's important to keep it cool during your travels. Make sure to use an insulated medication cooler like our 4AllFamily Medication cooler.
If traveling with syringes or other sharp objects put them in a hard-sided container and pack them in your checked luggage.
Related article: How to Travel with Refrigerated Medications?
Buying medications at your destination
Make sure to have enough medication for the duration of your trip, plus an extra day just in case something happens. It's not always easy to buy medications at your traveling destination because of different regulations per country. They may not be in stock at that moment, and if they are, they may not fulfill the required standards.
- Buying traveling insurance from your insurance company in case of a medical emergency abroad is a must-have. Always have your travel insurance details with you, along with the contact information necessary.
- Only buy over-the-counter medications from licensed pharmacists and obtain a receipt.
- If the active ingredient is different, ask the pharmacist whether the drug contains the same ones you are taking.
- Always and only buy over-the-counter medications that are in their original and unopened packaging.
- Take a good look at the product you receive. Any small detail that is different or other questionable packaging mistakes may indicate a fraudulent or false item.
- Medicines have an expiration date, so always check the expiration date before buying.
If you are not sure that you bought the correct medication don't doubt to get a second opinion from another pharmacist or send photos to your doctor to make sure you have the correct medication.
Related article: Safety Tips for Traveling with Mild or Severe Asthma.
Traveling with medication can be a challenge, but by following the proper tips and preparing in advance you can make the process much smoother. Make sure to pack all of your medications securely and in their original containers, and always carry an extra supply just in case something goes wrong. Keep in mind any time zone changes that may occur, and be sure to adjust your schedule accordingly.
Finally, if you're traveling to a country where you cannot purchase your regular medication, be sure to research local pharmacies ahead of time so you have a plan B in place.