Traveling with medication might sound easy – just throw it in your suitcase and away you go, right? Wrong. There are a number of things you should be thinking about if you need your meds on vacation. Get it right and you’ll breeze through customs without a care in the world. Get it wrong and you could face stress, fines or even jail.
1. Make Sure It’s Legal Where You’re Going
Different countries have different policies on which pharmaceuticals they are prepared to allow into the country. You might think your meds are harmless enough but in some countries numerous prescription drugs and even over the counter medications are illegal.
Getting caught with these in your possession can lead to a variety of different scenarios. In most cases they will be confiscated but in a worst case scenario you could face jail time. Either way, there will be a nightmare at customs. Consult with your doctor before you travel to find out what you can and can’t take with you.
2. Make Sure You Have Enough
Running out of medication whilst on vacation could be a serious issue. While most developed countries will have pharmacies to hand where you may be able to get a prescription, there is no guarantee of this. Plus, it can be a pain dealing with foreign health services. I recommend avoiding all of that stress by stocking up and taking more than you need with you – just in case.
3. Make Sure You Tell Your Insurance Company
Failure to disclose a medical condition to your insurance company is a big no-no. It can completely invalidate your policy and leave you with some crippling medical bills. If you have a heart condition or have experienced a heart attack or stroke, and / or you are on chronic medication like Lopressor to treat high blood pressure, it is important to disclose these facts. In fact, this goes for all medical conditions, no matter how minor you think they are.
4. Make Sure You Can Transport It Safely
Consider how your medication needs to be stored before you set off on vacation. Insulin, for example, needs to be kept at room temperature. This means you should bring cool packs with you if you are traveling to a hot destination. Meanwhile, blister packs of pills can easily break in your back and caps can come off bottles despite the child safety lock. Keep all of your medications in a designated pouch to minimise breakages or spillages while you travel.
5. Make Sure You Have a Back Up Plan
If you lose your medication or run out while you are on vacation, you will thank yourself if you have a back up plan. Take a copy of your prescription with you on and write down the names of the medication you need before you leave. If worst comes to worst, hopefully you will be able to show the name to a local doctor and they will be able to help you out. You might also want to translate the phrase “I need this” into the local language before you go as well and write that down along with the medication name.