Travel Health & Fitness

Traveling with Prescription Medications

We live in a fast paced world, and people are traveling now more than ever. Whether your trip is for business or for pleasure, most of us will spend at least a few days outside of our home towns each year; some of us even spend most of the year away from home. We always do our best to be prepared; we try not to forget our toothbrushes and our passports, but sometimes we can forget those small but vitally important things that can ruin your trip if they are absent. Prescription medications are one of the most important things not to forget!

Out of Town and Out of Meds: What Do You Do If You Forgot To Bring Your Prescription?

Flying with Prescription Drugs in Checked Luggage or Carry-On

First of all, let’s assume you haven’t forgotten about your medications. You may be wondering how to travel with them. Can i take medicine on a plane? Can I take them across state lines or internationally? Can I fly with prescription drugs? If so, can the pills be in my checked luggage or do I need to keep them with me?

In most cases, the answer is yes you can travel with them, according to the TSA. It’s not hard to follow the laws when bringing prescription drugs on a plane. You don’t need to tell the airline or TSA agents that you have them, either. The one exception is if you have liquid medications. In that case, they are subject to a limit of 3.4 ounces in reasonable quantities for your flight. Anything over that amount needs to be placed in your checked luggage. Also, if you are bringing liquid medication in your carry-on luggage, you need to tell the TSA agent when you start the screening process.

Having the medication with you in your carry-on is the best option, when allowed, because if your luggage gets lost you may have to go a long time without your treatment. You also have easier access to it in case of a flight delay where you’ve already checked your bags before getting notice of the delay. Basically, the easier you can get to your medicine, the better.

For instance forgetting to bring your medication, or a prescription for it (just a tiny piece of paper!), can cause you a lot of inconvenience when you are on your trip, especially if you are gone for more than a few days.

When possible, keep the medication in the prescription bottles that it came in. TSA does not require this, but some states do. So whenever possible, travel with pills in their original packaging that shows the prescription label with your name.

Click here to read up about prescription drugs and travel on the TSA.gov website.

What if You Forget Your Medication or Don’t Have Enough for Your Trip?

You are usually only allowed to bring a certain amount of pills with you when you are traveling. If you plan to be away for some time, having your prescription with you is the only way that you can get more meds easily. Also if you forget the actual medication, you may need to get more while you’re out of town. For this reason, it’s a good idea to think ahead of time about whether you’ll need a copy of your actual prescription with you.

But, what do you do if you have forgotten your prescription? If you find yourself in a situation where you have run out of medication and you don’t have a prescription with you, you have a few options.

You could contact your doctor for a new copy of your prescription.

You could try to contact your doctor and have them fax or email you a new prescription.

This may work in some instances, but depending on the country or state you are in, a copy of a prescription may not cut it. Often the only prescription that will be accepted is the original signed prescription of your doctor, and even then it might be a hassle confirming that it is an authentic prescription.

You could attempt to get the medication without a prescription.

Some countries are more lenient when it comes to medications. Sometimes you can simply tell them that you have a prescription and the pharmacist will take your word for it. In countries where there aren’t many laws against buying prescription medication without a prescription, this can be done. However, the danger is that you may not be getting what you think you are getting. Often, fewer laws also means that there are fewer safeguards. Many of the medications that are sold in foreign pharmacies may be replicas, and there can be many dangers of generic medications in countries that don’t have strict laws regarding pharmaceuticals.

You could buy your meds through a legitimate online pharmacy.

Many people are distrustful of online pharmacies because of all the fake ones that sell generic medications and scam people. However, a good online pharmacy can save you tons of time, hassle, and even money. If you already have a good online pharmacy that you trust, you can easily order whatever meds you need and have them shipped to your address abroad. You can usually get these medications in a little less than a week, and some online pharmacies even offer overnight delivery. Also, in some countries, ordering online may be much cheaper than buying your medication at a local pharmacy, even if you do have a prescription with you.

What Else to Consider When Traveling with Medication

Keep in mind that prescription drugs aren’t the only thing to think about. Some countries may have more stringent laws even for over-the-counter drugs. And if you want to travel with marijuana or even just CBD-based products, there’s a whole new can of worms to consider. Just because your state allows medical marijuana use, doesn’t mean it’s legal even just one state over. Make sure to keep your cannabis card with you and obey not only your home state laws, but the laws of the state(s) where you will be traveling through and to.

Hopefully you’ll never find yourself out of town and out of medication without a plan. But if it happens to you, these are some of the options you can try. However, the best thing that you can do is to be prepared. Check with your doctor before you do any traveling and call the consulate of the country that you are going to ask about traveling with meds and how easy it is to refill a prescription.

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