How can I safely and efficiently transport my medication?

2023-02-08 01:44:14 - Drany Macley Drany Macley, the senior editor of, brings extensive journalism background and over eight years of experience in travel writing and editing to the site, offering practical insights and first-hand knowledge through articles on innovative hotels, backed by a BA in Journalism from Ithaca College.

Important lessons:

  • Most medications are permitted on airplanes. Although there are a few notable exceptions

  • If you need to bring medication on your trip, pack more than you think you'll need. However, depending on your ultimate destination, there may be limitations.

  • The laws on what kinds of medications you can bring into each country vary widely. Learn the laws of the country you're visiting before you go.

Overhead shot of packing a suitcase. The suitcase is full of clothes, face masks, and sunglasses. There are hats, shoes, and other miscellaneous things to pack surrounding the suitcase on the floor. image by nikkimeel/iStock/Getty Images

As COVID-19-related travel restrictions are lifted, more and more people will be hitting the road this summer. One-third of those surveyed said they were planning trips within the United States as well as abroad.  

No one knows more than you do how stressful it can be to figure out how to transport your medications for an upcoming trip. Some 58% of American tourists take at least one medication regularly, according to a recent study. When flying or otherwise traveling, it can be challenging and confusing to figure out what medication restrictions apply.  

We'll answer some of the most frequently asked questions about taking medications on the road. We'll also go over what you can do to make sure your trip goes off without a hitch.

1. Can I bring any type of medication on the plane?

Generally, passengers may bring any necessary medications onto a flight. We'll get into the few exceptions below. Your choice of checked or hand-carried luggage is acceptable.  

However, there is always the chance of a holdup or misplaced luggage. Therefore, the most secure place to keep your medication is in your carry-on bag. If you need to bring along some extra supplies, just pack them in your checked bags.

Medications should be packed in a separate container and labeled clearly if carried on. The airport screening procedure will be aided by this.

For domestic trips within the United States S Unless the medication is a liquid, you do not need to declare it.  

The laws you must follow when you travel abroad will vary from country to country. Get in Touch With the U S consular office of the country you will be visiting Even if you're not sure whether or not you need to report your medication, you should.  

Some information about various medications is provided below.

If you can, please bring your medications in their original containers. Make sure you have a prescription or a note from your doctor if you're going to be carrying them around in a pill case. You should research any prerequisites in advance, as some locations may have strict policies.


As a general rule, you must adhere to the "3-1-1 rule" when packing liquids in your carry-on. According to this regulation, 3 any quantity under 4 ounces that will fit into a quart bag  

There is no 3-1-1 rule for liquid medications. However, if you're dealing with more than 3 If you have a liquid medication that is larger than 4 ounces, you must tell the TSA screener at the outset of the screening process.  


Injectable medications (such as an insulin pen or Epipen) are permitted in checked baggage. Diabetic medications and insulin syringes fall under the same category. If you have diabetes, inform the TSA agent and label these items accordingly.

Needles for injectable medications are permitted in checked baggage. However, this is conditional on your having your injectable medication on hand. You should bring a small sharps container to dispose of needles and other sharp objects if you plan to administer medication on the plane.  

Inhalers are allowed on planes, but passengers must declare them during security screening. While labels aren't required, they can speed up inspections at checkpoints.  


Opioid pain relievers and other controlled substances are examples of medications that can be misused or become addictive. Therefore, there is tighter control over them.  

Medications that require a doctor's prescription are allowed in the cabin. Bring a note from your doctor describing the drug and its intended use.  

There may be regulations at your destination. Be sure to double-check this in advance and coordinate with the U. S diplomacy (if relevant)  

However, you are allowed to bring in cannabinoids (substances found in cannabis) products if they are FDA-approved (like Epidiolex) or contain less than 0. 3% Cannabidiol (THC)

Second, how much of each medication should I bring?

Preparation is key when traveling with medications. Predicting how much medication you'll need to ensure you never run out is an important part of this preparation.   

Pack more medicine than you think you'll need to avoid this. Unless you're going on an extremely long trip, you shouldn't need more than 90 days' worth.

Traveling internationally? Check with the country's embassy for specific rules and regulations. As a general rule, you can't bring more than a few days' worth of medication into some countries.  

What good does it do if you don't have any more pills?

Before you leave, make sure you have a refill on your prescription. If you run out of your medication, you can get a replacement this way. If this occurs during a trip to the United S and you need a new prescription but don't have one on hand, make an appointment with your doctor right away.

If you need to reorder your medication immediately but can't get in touch with your doctor, you can always visit your neighborhood pharmacy. For some medications, they may be able to provide you with a 30-day supply. Yet, this may vary from state to state.

Your prescription may not be valid in another country, so be sure to bring extra medication if you need any while traveling. The U.S. embassy can put you in touch with local doctors and pharmacies if you unexpectedly run out of your prescribed medication. Never risk your health by purchasing drugs from unknown sources.

Thirdly, what is the ideal temperature range for storing my medications?

Medication efficacy can be compromised by high temperatures. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that they are stored safely.

Medications that must be kept cool, such as insulin, should be brought on the plane in a carry-on. In this way, they won't freeze in your suitcase. Medications that need to be kept cool should be transported in insulated cases. If you plan on bringing ice packs through security, you should make sure they are completely frozen. You can help ensure the proper storage of your medications by always storing them in their original packaging.  

Do not take any medication that changes appearance or smell while you are away. It's possible this means it's broken. If this occurs, you can take your extra prescription to the pharmacy for a refill.

4. How can I ensure my child's medication is safe during travel?

A little preparation can go a long way toward guaranteeing your child's safe and enjoyable vacation if he or she regularly takes medication.  

Before committing to a longer trip, it could be beneficial to take a shorter one as a trial run. How you use this information to prepare will depend on your situation. Make sure your kid knows everything they need to know about carrying their medication while flying.

You should also prepare for airport screening. Insulin pumps and intravenous (IV) pumps, among other medical devices, are permitted on flights. Get to the airport early and tell the TSA agent screening your child if he or she uses any of these.  

Be sure they can easily access their medication throughout the trip. This is crucial if they rely on emergency medications, like an inhaler or Epipen, to get through an emergency situation.  

5. What are the most frequently broken regulations regarding the transportation of medication?

Medication laws vary from country to country. And the most confusing part of any trip is the foreign part. This is because regulations in various countries can vary. It is recommended that you always contact the U.S. S embassy or go to their website to see if there are any new updates Here are some cliches that you should try to avoid at all costs:

  • Bringing Too Much Medication on a Plane It is possible that you will encounter medication limits in some countries. This is especially true of illegal drugs. There's a chance you'll only be given enough medication to last a few days.

  • Contaminating your trip with illegal drugs Even though they have been approved by the FDA, some countries prohibit their use. Pseudoephedrine and other stimulants, including ADHD medications (like Adderall), are prohibited in Japan.

  • The improper transport of controlled substances It is necessary to have a prescription from your doctor, preferably translated into the local language, in order to purchase medication abroad. Countries such as g , Japan) necessitate an application to bring your medications with you in advance.  

  • Within U.S. travel with medical marijuana S Although some states have legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes, federal law still prohibits this. Therefore, it is illegal to transport across state lines.

Bringing medications on a trip requires some forethought, but it need not be stressful.  

There are many places to find the rules that apply to your destination, which can vary.  

Make sure to check in with your airline and the TSA before you fly with any medications. It is recommended that U.S. travelers get in touch with the U.S. embassy or consulate in their country of destination S consulate to ensure compliance with all regulations Be sure to double-check your findings by consulting multiple sources.

GoodRx Health adheres to stringent sourcing policies and only uses data from trusted primary sources like hospitals, universities, government agencies, and scholarly journals. Read our editorial guidelines to find out how we keep our reporting objective, detailed, and accurate.

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