Prescription medication, vitamins, supplements

Photo by Laurynas Mereckas on Unsplash

As the holiday season kicks into full gear and travel plans begin to take shape, it’s important to remember one crucial aspect of those preparations:  understanding how to travel with your prescription medications. Let’s look at some important tips to remember so you travel safely and legally and prevent unnecessary complications during your trips out of town.

Tip #1: Keep Your Meds With You While Flying

You can bring most medications in your checked luggage or carry-on when flying. However, keeping them in your carry-on is generally safer to avoid the risk of lost luggage. Remember, losing your luggage could mean losing vital medications without a fast way of replacing them.

Always label your medications clearly to expedite the airport security process. Declaring that you’re carrying medications is not typically required for domestic flights within the U.S. unless they’re in liquid form. For international travel, check with the U.S. embassy of your destination country for specific rules and regulations.

Tip #2: Bring More Medication Than You Should Need

To avoid running out of medication while traveling, pack more than you think you’ll need. A good rule of thumb is to bring twice the amount but no more than a 90-day supply for longer trips.

However, be aware that some countries have restrictions on the amount of medication you can bring from international destinations. Always verify these details with the country’s embassy before departure.

Man reaching for prescription from medicine cabinet
(© Burlingham –

Tip #3: Properly Store Your Meds For The Trip

Extreme temperatures can compromise the effectiveness of medications. Always pack temperature-sensitive medicines in your carry-on. Use insulated cases for refrigerated medications and ensure any ice packs are solid when passing through security.

Keep medications in their original packaging to maintain proper storage conditions. If you notice any changes in the appearance or smell of your prescriptions, do not use them and seek a local pharmacy for a refill.

Tip #4: If Kids Need Medications, Practice Traveling With Them

When traveling with children who require medication, preparation is key. Consider doing a trial run with a shorter trip to fine-tune your routine.

Teach your child what they need to know about their medications, and plan for how you will interact with airport security if they use medical devices like insulin pumps. Keep their medications easily accessible, especially rescue medications like inhalers or Epipens.

Mother holding asthma inhaler for daughter
Mother holding asthma inhaler for daughter (© Prostock-studio –

Tip #5: Talk To Your Doctor Before You Travel

Before embarking on your journey, consult with your healthcare provider. They can provide valuable advice tailored to your specific medical needs and travel plans. They can also provide the necessary documentation and prescriptions to ensure you have enough medication for your trip.

Traveling with prescription medications requires careful planning and awareness of the local laws and guidelines of both your home country and destination. By staying informed and prepared, you can ensure you’ll have a safe and enjoyable trip without the stress of medication-related issues. Safe travels!

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About Alexander Olumese, PharmD

Alexander Olumese is a DMV-based registered pharmacist and medical writer. He has over 10 years of experience with community and hospital pharmacies, as well as over 3 years within the pharmaceutical industry as a medical writer within medical affairs. He has a background in a variety of therapeutic areas. However, he specializes in cardiovascular disease, oncology, pain medicine, and infectious disease.

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