How can I Safely Travel When I Take Daily Medication?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

When you travel with medications you take regularly, there are a few tips to help you do this safely. These can help you maintain your medication regimen and store meds in the proper manner. Further, they can help you deal with situations that might arise if meds get lost or stolen.

Precautions must be taken when traveling with medication.
Precautions must be taken when traveling with medication.

Usually it’s easiest to travel with medications when you are driving or are a car passenger. You should plan to keep medication secure and away from children. Also, make sure to note any specific storage recommendations for medication. If your meds needs refrigeration, you best bet is to bring along a cooler, or a small plug in refrigerator that works in your car. This may be a good idea even when you travel with medications that don’t need refrigeration. Cars can get notoriously warm, which may change or nullify the effects of your meds.

It is easiest to travel with medications when driving.
It is easiest to travel with medications when driving.

Don’t travel with medications packed in a cooler filled with ice. Most meds need to be kept dry in addition to being kept cool. Instead store meds in a cooler with packs of blue ice. Also consider keeping meds in airtight plastic bags so the bottles don’t get wet. You can even use a small lunch box with a built in cooler insert for this purpose, but if you are traveling with children you might want to avoid this. Be sure to tell young travel companions which lunchbox/cooler contains your meds and let them know it is off limits.

When you travel with medications by plane, it’s a good idea to keep at least a few doses with you. You can never tell when luggage might get lost, or when delays at the airport could leave you without a needed supply of medication. You normally can’t take refrigerated medications on a plane without pre-agreement with an airline.

Instead if you do need to refrigerate meds, either speak to the airline about this request, or alternately, contact a pharmacy where you will be staying in order to have a prescription ready for you at your destination. Most airlines now request that if you travel with medications in liquid or gel form that are larger than 3 ounces (88.7 ml), you must declare these to security before boarding a plane.

When you travel with medications, there is always concern that medications might be lost or stolen. In this case, the most important thing is being able to get access to replacement medications. If traveling within your country, check with your health insurance company about pharmacies in your health plan in the areas you plan to travel. It can be helpful to use pharmacies to fill your prescriptions that are fairly large and likely to be found elsewhere. Instead of using a small local drugstore, consider using a Walgreen’s or Wal-Mart, or other such stores, since these are easier to find.

In addition to these security measures when you travel with medications be sure to bring some important information with you including:

  • Your health insurance card
  • The phone number of your doctor
  • A back up written prescription for any medications

Be aware that when you travel with medications that are of the pain reliever or sedative type, these are the mostly likely targets of theft. As well, medications for erectile dysfunction are commonly stolen. You might want to keep these types of medications with you instead of leaving them in a hotel room or commonly accessible at a campground. Any medications that might need to be taken on an emergency basis like an asthma inhaler should be kept with you at all times.

It's useful to keep a few doses of medication on hand in case it gets lost during travel.
It's useful to keep a few doses of medication on hand in case it gets lost during travel.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments


sunflower34- You should not experience any problems. However, I would not advise taking the medication directly before, during or after the flight. The elevation could cause the medication to have a different effect on the body.

Also, you don't want to be too tired when you travel. Even if you want to sleep on the plan, just try falling asleep naturally. You don't want to risk being too drowsy on the airplane.


Are there are any problems associated with airplane travel and taking sleep medication?

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