Travel has many glamorous elements. Lounging by a pool, visiting a far off exotic destination and taking a photo beside a monument you’ve always wanted to see in real life. Something far less glamorous is the preparation and in particular the ins and outs of travelling with medication. I never pictured myself travelling with a foam esky filled with dry ice. I am sure in my dreams it was a designer hand bag but alas real life is far more sobering.
I was recently asked by someone over on our Facebook page what they needed to do when travelling with medication. I figure it is something that most of our audience probably do and it got me wondering if you are doing it right?
There is plenty of information on the internet but there are a few basic rules to follow.
CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR
Before travelling you should visit your doctor and have a general check-up. Visit a couple of months before your departure so if you do need any medication prior to departure you have plenty of time.
At the appointment check if any vaccinations or medication is recommended for your destination.
Get prescriptions for your regular medication so you will have enough for your travel period.
Ask your doctor for a letter listing your regular medications and the conditions they cover.
Make sure you take slightly more medication than you need in case of delays.
We always travel with a general anti-biotic which we know we can take if we get a regular chest or throat infection.
We also travel with an anti-diarrhea medication.
TRAVELLING WITH YOUR MEDICATION
Keep all medication in its original packaging and labelling.
Travel with your medication in your hand luggage in case your checked luggage gets delayed or lost.
Keep your doctor’s letter listing your medication in your hand luggage as you may be asked for it by customs officers.
If you are travelling with liquid medication, ensure you follow the liquid limitations of the airlines. If in doubt, check with your airline.
When you approach security be organised if you don’t want to be ‘those’ people in the queue that everyone behind is cursing. We have any liquids and our esky with dry ice ready for inspection. It saves time if you have it ready to go and offer it to security for checking. In the US they queried our yoghurt but as it was a small tub and we had a reason for carrying it they allowed us to travel with it.
For more information about what to expect at screening and security check points you should read my blog here. It may be particularly helpful if preparing an anxious or non-verbal traveller.
MEDICATION WHICH REQUIRES REFRIGERATION
Most airlines do not have facilities to store medication in refrigeration.
We travel with medication which is usually kept in our freezer at home. We are able to travel with dry ice but we need to notify the airline in advance and notify them of what we will be carrying and the fact we will also be travelling with a small amount of yoghurt to administer the tablets. We purchase the dry ice the day before travel from BOC and store the medication and dry ice in a small foam esky for travel on the flight. Once we get to our destination we use the mini-bar fridge to store the meds and ask the hotel to freeze our ice bricks when they are needed on travel days.
Always carry some spare ice bricks or gel coolers in your checked luggage in case your ice bricks are confiscated at security.
TRAVELLING WITH MEDICAL OXYGEN
Each airline has information on their website regarding the requirements for people travelling with oxygen. Please check with the airline you are travelling with to see their particular requirements. As an example I am linking to Qantas to give you a general idea.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
For our Australian friends, check the Smart Traveller information regarding carrying medications here.
For our UK friends, the NHS site is a good place to start.
For our US friends, there is a great read on the TSA site here
If you live in a country not mentioned above check with your local government travel advisory site.
If in doubt, seek advice.
Check with the embassies of the countries you are visiting to ensure that the medication you are carrying is legal there.
This blog post has been created as a general guide only. Rules and regulations may change and it is essential to seek medical advice from your doctor and make enquiries with the appropriate authorities and airlines about travelling with medication.
I may have a foam esky rather than a designer hand bag flung across my arm but the travel memories are just as precious.
If you have any tips about travelling with medication we’d love you to share them.
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