If you take medications when you travel, here are five tips to help you have a much smoother and safer trip:
1. Pack You Medications In Your Carry On
Don’t ever put medications in your checked luggage. Keep them on you at all times until you reach your destination and make sure the prescriptions are in your name.
2. Bring More Than What You Think You’ll Need
This was true before the pandemic but with COVID-19, you never know if you will be able to get back home in time to renew prescriptions. So pack at least two to three weeks worth of extra meds just in case you test positive for COVID when trying to return to the USA. (You know the rule, right?)
3. Lock Them Up and Keep Them Safe
Don’t leave your medications out in the open in your hotel room for someone to steal. Take them with you when you leave your room, keep them safely packed away in your luggage or lock them in the safe.
4. Keep Medications in Their Original Bottles
Keep your medications in their original, labeled containers. If you don’t want to carry the oversized containers that many pills come in, ask your pharmacist to place your meds in the smallest container possible.
5. Take Photos of Prescription Labels
Photograph each prescription label and keep those photos on your phone. In 2014, my then-86-year-old dad met me in Barcelona to go on a Windstar Cruise on the Mediterranean. I gave him strict instructions regarding things to bring and at the top of the list was his medications, since he takes a lot. Sure enough, he forgot to pack them and sure enough, the pharmacy was closed. Before I had someone back home overnight his pills for a ridiculous amount of money, we went to a small pharmacy at our first port of call in Sete, France. Have you ever heard of the village? Neither had I. I didn’t think there was any chance the pharmacist would speak English, or would have the pills my dad needed or even agree to fill the prescriptions. Well, because I had photos of the prescription labels on my phone, the pharmacist, who spoke better English than me (not that difficult, I know), was able to fill them. And guess what? It cost far less than what the pills cost back home.
It’s important to remember, even when putting it in carry on bags, to have it all in one removable bag inside and everything together. You never know when your carry on won’t fit in the overhead, and you’ve got to be aware of having everything you do NOT want checked so you can easily and quickly remove it.