It is important to have all of your medications with you when you travel. Understanding the TSA rules and other information on keeping your prescriptions safe will help you be at ease for your next trip.
I take about ten prescriptions and three OTC (Over the Counter) medications on a daily basis. Since I travel a great deal, I’ve come up with a routine that I follow when I pack so that everything arrives with me at my destination and that going through the security line at the airport is not stressful.
- Lists – Make a list of your medications and keep it updated. Include brand names if you use generics, doses and frequency. Add your doctors’ information, pharmacy phone number, medical conditions and emergency contacts. Use this list as a checklist when you pack and carry one with you when you travel.
- TSA Rules – Stay updated on the Transportation Safety Administration’s Permitted and Prohibited Items List. I always take a quick look at their site before I fly just in case something has changed that involves medications, especially those in liquid form. You can also sign up to be notified by email for changes. Follow the 3-1-1 for Carry-Ons, but keep all of your medicines in a separate bag. If you have a liquid medicine that is over the 3 oz. limit, pack that alone and bring along a doctor’s prescription. Although a prescription isn’t necessary, it saves time by providing the information in a more legitimate way than explaining it to the TSA screener.
- Original Bottles – Be sure that your medicine is in its original bottle or container. This goes for both prescription and OTC’s. I suggest this for any type of travel because of legal consequences and in case of needing extra medication.
- Extra Medicine – Pack a few extra days of medicine. You may decide to stay longer that you planned, travel on to another destination, or be delayed.
- Carry-On – If you are flying, always pack your medications in your carry-on. Don’t take the chance of your luggage getting lost.
- Type of Baggage – Insulated bags (lunch bags make a good choice) are necessary for any medication that must be refrigerated. Keep in mind the chance of delays and consider adding a freezer pack. Small sized bags, like cosmetic bags, can be used for your other medication. Keep all liquids in plastic bags even if you are not flying just in case there is a leak. Be sure that the luggage you chose is sturdy to protect your bottles and containers of medicine.
- Food and Water – Many medications must be taken with food, so pack some snacks. Water is often the best liquid to drink with prescription medicines. Although water bottles are prohibited through the screening area at the airport, you can purchase water before you board the plane. But, if you have a medical issue that requires the need for water, the TSA’s Disabilities and Medical Conditions program and allows this exception: “Liquids including water, juice, or liquid nutrition or gels for passengers with a disability or medical condition”. Make the decision if you want to go through the hassle of explaining your need for water to a Screener though. It may take up more time than it’s worth. When traveling by other means, if possible, a cooler filled with water, juices, and healthy snacks will make your trip more enjoyable and even save you money.
- Safety – Read the information on your prescription containers to see if heat, humidity or other conditions can cause damage to your medicines. Don’t leave your medicine overnight in your car or directly in the sun.
Reminders – When you are traveling, it is easy to forget to take your medication at the correct time. Set your cell phone alarm or use a pill box reminder. Packing medications for travel can be accomplished quickly if you have a routine to follow.
Connie Roberts is a professional blogger who makes it her mission to advocate for people with medical issues. Travel with a disability is not a struggle, but an opportunity to see the world and let others see that it’s possible and a lot of fun. Tweet with her @ConnieFoggles.