7 Tips for Traveling with Medications
Traveling can make taking your medications harder. Whether you’re going on vacation or a business trip, you need to plan ahead to make sure you have access to your medications while you’re away from home. Here are some tips from experts to help you travel safely with your prescriptions.
1. Make Sure You Have Enough Medication to Last Throughout the Trip
Plan ahead and make sure you have enough of your prescription to last the entire trip, plus a few extra days in case of delays. There are several ways you can obtain an extra supply1:
- You can try to refill your prescription early. Many insurance plans have a “vacation override” that allows you to get an early refill for travel.
- If your Rx is unable to be filled early, ask your doctor to give you a medication order (paper copy of your prescription) that you can take with you on your trip.
- Alternatively, if your prescription runs out while you’re on your trip, you can transfer it to a nearby pharmacy (if traveling within the U.S.) and pick up your medication there. If you have trouble transferring it, ask your doctor to call it in instead.
2. Ask Your Doctor About Adjusting Your Medication Schedule Prior to Traveling
If you’ll be traveling to a different time zone, this can potentially disrupt your medication schedule. Talk to your doctor about how you should manage the time zone differences. WebMD suggests setting an alarm on your phone that will keep you on track2, but be sure to have a discussion with your primary care provider about the best way to stay on your medication schedule while traveling.
3. Know the TSA Rules to Avoid Delays at Airport Security
You are allowed to fly with your medications, but here are several points to keep in mind from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)3.
- There is no limit on the amount of medications in solid or pill form as long as your medications are screened at the security checkpoint.
- Usually, medication is screened by X-ray, but you can request a visual inspection instead.
- Tell the TSA officers if you have medications in liquid form. The 3.4 oz limit for liquids doesn’t apply to liquid medications. You are allowed to take a reasonable amount for the flight.
- While the TSA doesn’t require you to keep medications in the original prescription bottle, some states have laws about labeling Rx medications. Check the laws for whatever state you are traveling to.
- It is recommended that you keep your medication in your carry-on bag, but you are also permitted to keep it in your checked baggage.
4. Make Sure Your Medications Are Allowed in Foreign Countries
Your prescription may be illegal in certain countries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)4. If you’re planning international travel, research the laws in your destination country and make sure your medication is allowed. Keep in mind that some countries may only allow you to bring in a 30-day supply. You may also be required to bring a copy of your prescription or a medical certificate. Since you may not be able to obtain a refill of your prescription in a foreign country, it’s important to bring enough of your medication to last your entire trip plus a few extra days.
5. Protect Medications from Extreme Temperatures
WebMD cautions against exposing prescription medications to extreme temperatures. This can impact the medicine’s effectiveness. Instead of storing prescriptions in your checked baggage (if you’re flying) or the trunk or glove box (if driving), keep them near your seat or in a carry-on bag. If your prescription needs to be refrigerated, WebMD recommends storing it in an insulated lunch box with a freezer pack2.
6. Keep Your Medications Organized
Staying organized is essential, especially when you take multiple medications. Bring an organization tool like a pill box to help you remember to take your medicine on time. It can also be helpful to create a list of all your prescriptions along with instructions on how to take them.
7. Know How to Get an Emergency Supply of Your Medications
In an urgent situation, you may be able to get an emergency supply of your medication. The American Medical Association released guidelines for pharmacists when deciding whether to dispense an emergency supply of a medication5. These include:
- The pharmacist determines that not refilling the prescription might result in an interruption of the patient’s treatment that could cause the patient harm.
- The pharmacist is unable to readily obtain refill authorization from the patient’s doctor or prior authorization from their health insurance plan.
- The pharmacist should only dispense enough medication to maintain the patient’s treatment until their doctor can be reached for authorization.
- The pharmacist should notify the patient of any cost-sharing responsibilities before dispensing the emergency supply.
Keep in mind that when you obtain an emergency supply of medication, your health insurance might not cover the cost, especially if you are waiting on prior authorization from your plan. If that happens, you can look for other ways to help you pay for your medication, such as a prescription discount card.
Plus: Stop Overpaying for Prescriptions
America’s Pharmacy offers a free Rx discount card that can be used at thousands of pharmacies across the United States. You can download an Rx savings card and search for free Rx coupons on our website or get the free Rx savings app to find prescription discounts wherever you are.