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Traveling with Prescriptions: the Do’s and Don’ts

What’s your process when it comes to packing for a cruise vacation? Do you make a list and pack everything up a week in advance or do you throw together your suitcase mere hours before your flight is scheduled to take off? No matter what your personal packing strategy might be, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to packing your prescription drugs to ensure a smooth day of travel without any unexpected issues.

Can I Fly With Prescription Drugs?

Yes, you can fly with your prescription medications, even if they are in a liquid form. Another question people often ask is do my prescriptions need to be in the original bottle they came in from the pharmacy and the answer to that is no. Plenty of people use daily pill organizers both at home and on vacation to remember their daily medication schedule and those organizers are perfectly fine to take on the plane, including in your carry on. If you have a doctor’s note or proof of the prescription, it’s probably smart to bring that along, too, if you’re using a pill organizer. 

In fact, the best advice we have when it comes to traveling with prescriptions, is ALWAYS bring important medications with you in your carry on as opposed to packing them in your checked bag. You never know what might happen with flight delays and long layovers or even lost or damaged baggage so you could wind up in a situation where you’re separated from your luggage for a significant length of time. Keeping your medications in your carry on means always having them on hand just in case. If you’re at your destination, but a mix up by the airline sent your bag somewhere else, the health and wellness implications could be severe. If you’re cruising to somewhere in the Caribbean, for example, some medications may not be widely available like they are here in America during an emergency.

RELATED: Top 7 Things People Always Forget to Pack

Respect TSA Agents

TSA agents see millions of people come and go through our airports every year and they’ve been trained to spot things that appear abnormal. If you’re going through security and you’re asked about your prescription medications, be kind and cordial as TSA is just doing their job to make sure you and everyone else are safe. Explain what the medications are and you should have no problem getting them on the plane. If you’re not sure about a certain medication or medical device, you can always call TSA or your airline and inquire as to their policies.

Have you ever had a problem with prescription medications on a plane? Let us know in the comments below!

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2 Comments

  1. Re traveling with prescriptions. I tend to use original bottles but regardless, I always have a list dated which lists the medication(s), dose, what it is for, when I take it and the prescribing doctor. At the bottom of this page I lust the relevant doctors, their speciality and their phone. One never knows if one is going to need medical attention and what kind..and if you will be conscious so to have this list at the ready is incredibly helpful for TSA, the cruise line, doctor on board, whatever.

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  2. There is potentially erroneous information in this post. I am a physician and serve on multiple boards about prescribing and medication utilization so this is a subject I’m very familiar with. Although medications are sometimes organized in weekly pill boxes which can help with administration compliance and can be easily, some states have a specific law that controlled substances (narcotic pain medications and others) must remain in the original pharmacy containers with a legible and intact label (patient name, medication, instructions etc.). In many states it is a FELONY to transport controlled substances in anyway other than in the original pharmacy packaging. Pleas use caution if you use a pill organizer!

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