The Dos and Donts for Traveling with Medication

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Posted on 05/04/2019

As a full service travel agency in Denham Falls, Louisiana, we have many travelers who need medication for ailes like diabetes, blood pressure etc. But are they allowed on an airplane and if so, do you pack them or carry them on?

If you are traveling domestically, getting your pills through security and on the plane with you isn’t all that complicated, thankfully. If you need your pills enough to take them on a trip with you, it seems obvious that they will be coming with you in your carry on. Can you imagine that while the rest of the family is enjoying the beach on Maui, you are stuck in a pharmacy waiting to hear if your doctor is back from lunch to ok a renewal for your lost pain meds? No way! Those pills aren’t leaving your side, right? After countless coast to coast trips through the years I now have my pill packing system down pat. Deciding which shoes to limit myself to is enormously more complicated than packing my medications. This is in part due to very reasonable TSA requirements regarding personal medication. Let’s hope it stays that way, as matching limited shoes to necessary outfits is all the packing stress I want to tackle.

You are basically allowed any of the medications that you regularly take as long as you, A:bring only reasonable quantities for your trip and B:have all of your meds either screened or hand inspected.If for some reason you are worried about your pills being x-rayed you must request from a TSA officer that your meds be hand inspected BEFORE they go on the belt to be screened. But beware:if you request this you must be prepared to unpack them all yourself for the security people and repack them all again. They won’t be handling your pills, you will.

By now we are all familiar with the 3.4-ounce restriction on liquids but for prescription liquids, you are not limited to hand carrying that amount. TSA is generous with amounts of liquid or gels you have been prescribed. However, I’d like to spare you, my fellow traveler, an awkward situation and inform you that you must let the nice TSA officer know that you are carrying the larger amount of said liquids BEFORE they screen your bag. Ahhemm….cough cough. Otherwise they will hold your personal liquid meds up for ALL to see and shout in a loud voice, “Whose is this?” And then you will get to explain to all of humanity traveling at the same time of day as you why you are taking that medication. Just trust me on this one. (wink)

When it comes to amounts of hard pills though, as long as the amounts are reasonable for the trip it is doubtful you will have any trouble getting your meds through security. At last check there aren’t even any strict rules on having all of them in their original containers, but they should be clearly labeled.And if you are worried about anything looking questionable because your pill bottle is just too big to pack just bring a copy of the prescription and/or a note from your doctor explaining why you need it. This, by the way, is good practice if you are traveling internationally. Before going to another country it is always recommended that you call the embassy of that country, here in the US, and find out any specific restrictions they may have about traveling with medications. For instance, some countries have strict policies about amounts of narcotic pain medicines you are allowed to carry in.When traveling internationally, a simple phone call could save you a nightmare coming true.

Besides the obvious questions about getting your meds legally and safely through security you may wish to consider how to pack your pills so that they are convenient for you once you reach your destination. One packing method I have used is a folding toiletries bag that is divided into pockets or that contains elastic loops that can be hung in a closet or on the back of a door. One bottle or container to each pocket or loop. Especially if the individual pockets are made of clear vinyl or plastic you won’t have to rummage through things but everything is available at a glance.Whatever organizing method you prefer just be sure to pack a little more than is necessary for your stay to cover yourself in case of any trip extension.

Whatever method works for you, don’t let the fact that you need to take medications slow you down in life’s adventures.Do a little planning, pack your meds and the rest of your things and travel on! If you're still looking to book that great getaway or need some inspiration, please give us a call and let's talk. We're a full service travel agency in Denham Falls, Louisiana and ready to plan your trip.

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