Taking regular and prescribed medication can add a whole new level of stress and anxiety to travelling – what if the airline loses your luggage with your medication inside? What if disrupting your routine affects your health? Are you even allowed to travel with ‘drugs’?
Don’t panic – thousands of people travel with medication every day, so as long as you’re prepared there shouldn’t be an issue. Below we’ve written a quick guide to help anyone travelling with and managing medication whilst abroad.
When Booking your Trip
Different countries have different rules on what counts as a ‘controlled substance’, how much is allowed and how it needs to be declared, so it important that you check before booking your trip (even if you’re only passing through the country).
To be sure, the best thing to do is contact the UK embassy for the country you’re visiting, as they should be able to advise on the exact rules and regulations. Remember, even over the counter medicines form the UK could be banned abroad.
Before you leave
About two months before you’re due to depart make sure you visit your GP, they can tell you whether you need any additional jabs or medication for your trip, and how those and the trip in general may affect your health and regular prescription.
You may also need to travel with a letter from your GP detailing your treatment and the necessity of the medicines, but this will depend on your destination as above. You should also ensure you have an original copy of your prescriptions (plus back up photocopies, just in case).
Again, you should always check your airline’s regulations on travelling with medication before you leave home, but broadly speaking you should always carry any medication or medical equipment (including needles, pumps etc.) in their original and correctly labelled packaging.
Always keep a supply of medication in your hand luggage (just in case the airlines loses your luggage), and then a backup supply in your case (along with another copy of your prescription).
Check that your medication won’t expire during your trip, and whether it needs any special preparations, for example some medicines need to be kept at room temperature or refrigerated, which may mean to you need to store it using a cool bag, ice pack, thermos or insulated patch.
Travel Insurance with medical conditions
The final thing to remember is to invest in quality travel insurance before you leave home. As you are taking regular medication you will most likely need to complete a medical screening to ensure you are covered for your exiting medical conditions.
If you don’t declare everything to your insurer and then face a reoccurrence, flare up or related condition you could find that they won’t cover the cost of your treatment, leaving you severely out of pocket.
Top tips for your managing your medicine supply whilst travelling
- Make sure you have enough. Think about taking enough medicine with you to last double the length of your trip.
- Travelling can be a lot of packing and unpacking. It’s always safest to have a medicine supply in your checked bag on planes as well as your carry on.
- Keep medicine is properly labelled bottles. Your pharmacist will be able to give you an extra labelled bottle if you request one nicely.
- Check before you travel for controlled substances/medicines which may not be allowed into certain countries.
- Pill boxes are great to take abroad, they make sure you don’t miss out a day or forget to take your medicine when you are travelling. They are available in shops and online (buy one that suits your schedule)
Visit Holidaysafe.co.uk for more tips and over 65s travel insurance.