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Traveling with Your Medicines

Before you leave home, plan for transporting your meds with you.

Whether you travel for business or pleasure, it’s not the delayed flight or traffic jam that can spoil your trip. It’s forgetting to pack your medications, losing them, not having enough with you or needing over-the-counter medications when traveling that can be a royal pain, and a threat to your health.

In a study of AARP members, three out of four people (72%) have taken a trip at least 50 miles or more from their home involving an overnight stay. Before you hit the road, consider AARP’s top five tips for how to travel safely with your medicines.

  1. Carry a Personal Medication Record with You
    Keeping a list or record of all the medications you take, including over-the-counter drugs and the conditions they treat, is especially important in the event you need medical attention while away from home. Also, it’s important to carry this information with you in case your medicine gets lost or stolen and you need to replace it.
  2. Pack Your Medicines in Your Carry-on Bag
    Getting separated from your luggage can be a drag. But it can turn into a matter of life or death when critical medications are in that lost suitcase. Pack your medicine in a carry-on bag. Also, it’s a good idea to keep the medication in the original containers. This makes it easier for customs officials to inspect. And if you have a medical emergency, it is easier to determine what medications you have been taking.
  3. Bring More than You Need
    In the event your travel arrangements change, it is a good idea to carry an extra week’s supply of your medications.
  4. Consider Storage
    If your medicine needs to be stored and kept cool, take a small insulated container, such as a lunch pack, with you.
  5. Do Your Research, Be Prepared
    Some countries have different regulations about the types of medicines that can be brought in. Some over-the-counter drugs may be considered a controlled substance in other countries—for example, medicines containing the painkiller codeine. Contact the appropriate embassy before you travel to check whether your medication is acceptable. If you take narcotic prescription drugs or travel with needles, ask your doctor to provide you with a letter explaining the reason why you have those drugs and paraphernalia. This is especially helpful with customs officials.

Traveling can be wonderful or stressful, depending on how prepared you are. So aim to have the most positive experience you can. Share this list of tips with friends and family, and they’re sure to have an enjoyable trip.

Ticket, suitcase, and medications—check!

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