If you are traveling with medication, you will need to take some extra precautions than normal.
This is especially true if you are a solo traveller going abroad because the risks are higher. The last thing you want is to find yourself in the middle of nowhere, alone and unable to speak the local language. Worse still you could be involved in an emergency or accident, and unable to get hold of the right medication.
Don’t worry. Solo travel with medication doesn’t have to be difficult, you just need to prepare in advance.
Here are 6 do’s and don’ts for you to consider if you are traveling with medication:
Tips When Traveling With Medication
1. DO check your medication is available in the destination country
Not all medications are created equal. Your medication may be widely available in your home country but that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to get it in Bolivia.
Before travelling, you should always do a little homework to ensure that any medication you need is available in the country where you’ll be travelling.
Since many pharmaceutical companies rebrand or rename their products in different markets, your medication may have a different name, packaging or branding where you’re heading. In some countries, counterfeit medication is also not uncommon so double-check that you can get your hands on the real thing.
2. DO ensure the local doctor will understand your prescription
If you are going to a country that has a different language, then make sure you have a written translation of all your medication, as well as any generic alternatives and dosage requirements.
An easy way to do this is to have it saved on your phone or in your wallet so that it is with you at all times. A lot of medications have a globally recognised name but there are still many drugs that don’t.
This is especially important if you’re a solo traveller in case you’re involved in an accident or an emergency. Medical staff will need to know if you are taking any medication so it’s worth having this information somewhere that is easily accessible.
3. DO check that all your medication is legal abroad
The pharmaceutical industry is complicated and even more complex are the various laws that regulate it.
Just because a medication is available over-the-counter at home, it doesn’t mean that will be the case in the country you’re visiting. So, make sure you investigate the local laws before packing your medication.
Do this for dietary supplements, over-the-counter medications, prescription medicine and any herbal or homeopathic products you take.
4. DON’T forget to carry your prescription or doctor’s letter with you
It goes without saying but many anxious travellers often have to carry their prescription with them.
This may not be an issue if you are roaming around South East Asia where many prescription meds are freely available over-the-counter but if you are travelling to say the United States, you may have a problem getting the medication you need without your prescription.
Save yourself the hassle and the expense by packing your prescription and getting it translated into the local language if need be.
5. DON’T forget to label and organise your medication adequately
Organising your medication can be complicated especially if you’re dealing with an assortment of pills and tablets of varying size and colours.
The last thing you want is to be held up at customs because you are carrying a bunch of unlabelled medications.
Another problematic situation you could encounter if you don’t organise your meds is finding yourself in an emergency situation where you need a certain dosage and you or the person trying to help you can’t locate the required medication. Avoid these nightmares by taking the time to organise your meds before you travel.
6. DON’T put your medication in your checked luggage
Travel is unpredictable. Lost bags and delayed flights are not uncommon so it may very well happen to you.
The last thing you want is to be stuck in an airport without your medication just when you need to take your dosage.
Do yourself a favour and put all your required medication in your carry-on bag so that you have them with you at all times. You should also have all the relevant prescriptions and doctor’s letters with you too.
Have you ever had any experience – good or bad – of travelling with medication? Please share in the comments below.