Traveling with medications, the stress-free way

Learn how to manage your medication while traveling.

If you think ahead, arranging your medications when you’re away from home will keep your eyes on the sights instead of looking for the nearest pharmacy. With these suggestions to follow, you can ensure that you’re prepared to stay healthy while on your travels — and you’ll know what to do if you run out of your medication.

Make sure you refill before leaving.

Take note of everything you bring and determine if you’ve got enough to last through your journey. If necessary, replenish prior to leaving. Be sure to take note of the over-the-counter medicines you frequently use or other items you’ll need (like the syringes to use to use insulin).

The insurance company will usually provide you with the “vacation override,” which will allow your pharmacist to refill your prescriptions earlier so you don’t have to be running out. Keep your medication in their original containers, with the labels indicating what they are and why they were prescribed to you.

Plan for any special situations

Do you have any prescriptions that require you to be kept cool? Make sure to call each place you’ll be staying to check sure that they have refrigerators accessible. In the event that they don’t, take an empty cooler that has chilled packs of insulin or any other medications that require chilled.

Make a list of all your medicines

If you’re taking a lot of prescriptions, you might want to bring an official note from your physician that outlines the medications prescribed to you and the ailments they treat. It is a good idea to double-check the same if carrying medicines that are classified as controlled substances, for instance, prescription painkillers.

Make sure to keep your medications in your carry-on

If you’re flying, put your medication in your carry-on baggage or in your purse. If you’re driving, keep track of the location you packed them to ensure they’re within reach.

Make sure to use your medication as usual during your travels. Make reminders on your smartphone in case you need to. Avoiding missing doses can help you remain healthy, particularly when you are on the road for a long time.

Did you keep that list of prescriptions in the doctor’s prescription? Keep it in your bag also in the event that security at the airport or customs officer wants you to describe the medication you’re taking with you.

What do you do if you are unable to take your medication

If you have lost your medication, Do not panic. In many locations, they can be changed the next day. Here’s how to get them replaced.

  • If you’re located in the United States, find an area pharmacy, then contact your local pharmacy. They will typically transfer your prescriptions to they can refill them as usual. It is possible to contact your insurance company to inform them that you were unable to get your prescriptions while you traveled.
  • If you live in Canada, Europe, or the United Kingdom, ask your pharmacist in the area what you should do. Your physician at home may be required to send an email or fax in a new prescription, and a doctor in your area will need to sign off on it prior to the pharmacy being able to provide you with your medication.
  • In Mexico and other Caribbean destinations, the majority of prescription medications are available from pharmacists without prescription. Therefore, bring your list of medicines to a trusted local pharmacy suggested by the hotel.

If you’re having difficulty getting your medications replaced and this is affecting your safety or health, take a trip to an urgent care center or contact your health care provider at home.

Are international prescriptions are they safe?

In almost all destinations you’ll be traveling, prescription and non-prescription drugs sold or dispensable by pharmacists are safe to use.

“But medications you get in other countries may have different names and dosage strengths, so you may need to take more or fewer pills or take your medication in a different way than usual,” says Joe LoBrutto, PharmD, Geisinger Pharmacy manager.

Speak to your pharmacist and ensure that you are aware of the exact medication you’re receiving and the best way to use it. When you’re back home, visit the pharmacy in your area and get new prescriptions filled, and you’ll be able to return to your regular medication regimen.


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