Traveling with Medication – What Should You Know

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When you’re taking medication for a longer period, things can get rough when you have to travel or want to go on a vacation abroad. Some people need prescription medicine access, and to travel, they must know how to carry that medication with them legally. There are some rules you have to follow, particularly considering there are certain guidelines that every country imposes on this matter.

For example, while you can take some over-the-counter medicine in the U.S., other countries like the UAE or the Philippines may have different laws in place. In the case of the UAE, for example, many travelers ended up going to jail due to the very strict narcotic laws. So, before traveling with CBD oil or anything you’re not sure of, you should find out if you’re allowed to do so or not. If you need to travel abroad with medication, this post will tell you everything you should know.

● It’s Best to Have an Official Prescription with You

When packing enough medicine to last you a month, it’s hardly probable to be stopped at customs or border control. So, usually, there is no need to worry about this aspect, or at least this is what Dr. Christopher C. Hollingsworth said, an MD and a general endovascular and general surgeon. At the same time, the doctor says that it’s still a good idea to have an official prescription available.

“In general, countries honor the rights of travelers to transport their prescribed medications with them,” says Dr. Hollingsworth. So, if you make sure to have enough proof of your medical condition, such as ID cards or some letters, there shouldn’t be any problems.

● Don’t Rely on Buying Medicine at the Destination

Many people may think that they will just purchase the medicine they need once they reach their destination. Well, you shouldn’t rely on this. Some medicine is not available in every country. Besides, even if you manage to find it, it may simply not meet the U.S. quality standards.

There are some things you should consider if you have to buy medicine in an emergency during your journey. Make sure to get in contact with the closest U.S. embassy or consulate, as they will allow you to connect with pharmacies and doctors. By doing so, you’ll be able to find some good and reliable medicine.

Also, talk to the pharmacist to find out if the medicine you want to buy contains the same ingredient as the one you take, and only go to licensed pharmacies. Never purchase medicine from open markets. Furthermore, always get a receipt. The medicine should be in the original packaging, and ensure the product is not counterfeit.

● Learn the Laws for Traveling with Medications

Before traveling with medication, you should learn the laws. For instance, you may need a note from the doctor if you take any unusual drug that contains narcotics. The note should mention why you need this drug. Also, you should have the medicine stored in the original labeled container together with a copy of a letter from your doctor.

● Plan Early

If you have to take medicine at certain times of the day and you go to a country with a completely different time zone, you should plan ahead. Aside from your day-to-day travel itinerary, you should also have a medical itinerary. You should find the best providers depending on what your medical needs are. Knowing the best providers in advance will help you a lot when you need to have a prescription refilled or anything of the sort.

● Talk to the Foreign Embassy in Advance

Prior to traveling to your desired vacation spot, you should check with the embassy to find out whether the medicine you need is permitted over there. If the medicine is not allowed, then you will have to speak to the health care provider regarding different destination options or medicine options. The doctor should also make a letter that includes your treatment plan and condition. Some countries may also allow a 30-day supply of some medicines as long as you have a medical certificate or a prescription with you.


It may be challenging to travel with medication, but as long as you take care of everything early on, there shouldn’t be any issues. Talk to an embassy and your doctor as soon as you can and find out whether you can travel with specific medication, whether you need a letter or official prescription, or whether you need to look for different medicine at the destination.