Illustration of Passport and medication package next to bold text reading "How To Travel With Meds"

The Best Way to Travel With Meds (When Flying)

If you’re someone who relies on daily medication, traveling can be a bit stressful. Your things are displaced, your schedule is off, your routine is altered–when and how you take your medicine can be upended completely by your travel plans if you don’t prepare carefully. 

Here are a few things to know about traveling with your medication. 

  1. Keep your prescriptions with you in your carry-on bag. 

Whether you’re a person who refuses to check a bag or a person who enjoys hassle-free boarding and deboarding, it’s essential to keep all of your medication in a small bag that’s going to stay with you, USA TODAY reports. A purse, a fanny pack, a laptop bag. Even packing them in a smaller carry-on suitcase is risky because often airlines check those bags at the gate if overheard storage is limited. So keep them close and secure. 

  1. You can bring your liquid medication on board. 

The TSA won’t allow liquids in excess of 3.4 ounces through security checkpoints–but there’s an exception for medicine, according to the TSA’s website. It’s not necessary to store your liquid meds in a plastic bag, but you should be prepared to open the bottle and for TSA officers to ask questions and screen your medication. 

  1. Know how your medication is affected by different climates.

Some medications can affect how your body internalizes and processes heat, according to Inside Climate News. If you’re heading to a tropical climate or someplace else that’s dramatically different in climate from where you live, make sure to talk to your doctor about how your medication could be affected, or how you yourself may fare in those environments, depending on your condition. 

  1. Check in with the foreign embassy. 

There are lots of things to get in order when you’re traveling internationally. Money, visas, passports, time zones. The one we don’t think about too much is whether our medication is controlled in another country. 

The CDC recommends being in touch with the embassy of the place you’re visiting to be sure you and your medications will be safe. For example, some countries only allow 30-day supplies. Common medications that are illegal in other places include Sudafed, codeine, Benadryl, Adderall and Ritalin, and Ambien, among others. 

  1. Keep your medicines in their issued containers.

It is not illegal to travel with medicine that isn’t stored in its original container. However, some states have different rules about labeling, and some countries do require you to have your medications formally labeled, according to the New York Times. If you’re traveling internationally, it’s a good (and maybe sometimes requisite) idea to get a note from your doctor or care provider detailing the nature of your condition and the medications you require for treatment.