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Traveling with Medication

I did a search and most strings are several months old so I'll start it anew: I take a number of prescription meds and supplements (10 all together). Some I only take once or twice a week or at different times so I use a pill box to keep them straight. My plan is to load my pill box with what I need and rubber-band a list of the meds, supplements, dosage, etc. and carry it on. None are liquid but the supplements (fish oil, multi-vitamin, etc.) are HUGE if I have to bring the bottle. Any thoughts?

Posted by
505 posts


For the prescription meds, I would strongly suggest keeping them in the original container. If you do happen do get searched in customs or in security - especially outside the US - they need to see the original prescription. Also, if anything happens to you, having the pills in the original bottles with the labels makes it MUCH easier any medical personnel to sort out your medications.

You might also want to have the other pills in labeled containers so you can prove what they are - remember that what is non-prescription in one country isn't always non-prescription in another country. The liquids have to be in quantities under 100ml if you are bringing them on the plane unless they are prescription.

Finally, if the prescription meds are important, it's a good idea to have the generic name in case you need to get them in Europe and the name brand isn't available or familiar to the pharmacists here.


Posted by
190 posts

I, too, carry a lot of supplements (I'm vegan) and two meds. I have never had a problem with customs or security. I carry all in a pill box by type and ask my doctor to write subscriptions for the meds in case I lose them. Then I keep the scripts in my money belt. I carry extra meds in my backpackand a two-day supply in my money belt. Security has never paid the least attention to the pills, even though they have checked through my carry-on more than once.

I don't know if they realize the fish oil is liquid, but I have that and flax seed oil. I never take the bottles.

Posted by
1158 posts

I would put afew fish oil pills together with a few vitamins in one smaller bottle.
Fish oil is liquid, I would check with TSA about that.
I think there are some regulations about prescription meds on board.

Posted by
808 posts

Here's where I take off my pill box style F/A hat (kidding) and put on my EMS...
Do a search in the upper right hand box. Information posted on this topic will still be relevant.
This is an important topic. I'm glad you asked. I will briefly summarize...
-Keep all meds in their originally labeled containers. If the bottle is too large, ask your Pharmacist to fill your prescription in two smaller bottles. that way you have two smaller sets incase you lose one.
-Keep your meds in your carry-on in a clear zip loc type bag.

First Responders ie: Flight Attendants, EMS etc will want to see what you are taking.
-Never remove your meds from their original containers! The label contains vital potentially life saving information called the 5 rights.
The 5 Rights are:
-Right Person
-Right Medication
-Right Dose
-Right Time
-Right Method

Removing it takes away a lot of vital information that we are trained to look for.
Your plan is not a good one, I'm afraid.

Posted by
808 posts

A pill box with various pills tells us nothing. A hand written list is not credable. We won't play guessing games.
It's just not safe to administer something unknown.

Speak to your Pharmacist. They can assist you. Some will even blister pack your meds and affix labels for you and print up a medication list/summary. Mine does for me.
Don't forget to carry an extra copy of your prescriptions with generic names.

While vitamins and suppliments are often in large bottles: don't combine them. Some people do but that's not such a good idea, either. Customs may find that questionable and a hassle in the making. Try to find travel sizes, if you can.

That's my advise not just as an In Charge Flight Attendant but as EMS...If in doubt, just ask your Pharmacist or any other health care provider...

Just FYI...Fish oil pills are not considered to be liquids as was raised in an earlier post. Pas de probleme!

Posted by
6898 posts

Boy is the flight attendant above right on target. My wife and I had a long Europe trip last year and thus, we carried a large quantity of our prescriptions. We placed them in plastic ziplock bags and carried them on. We pulled them out along with our 1-quart liquids and nary a problem anywhere during the trip. At one location, TSA yelled out "Prescriptions - OK" and that was it. I too had my Omega 3 capsules. No problem.

Posted by
180 posts

From my experience, it is best to keep all of your medication and supplements in original containers and in a large ziploc style bag. I always travel with a big bag that includes homeopathic and perscription.

Once you get to security, take out your bag and ask the security staff to screen that bag by hand letting them know it is a combination of medications and supplements. The screeners are happy to accomidate - even at Heathrow.


Posted by
9363 posts

I don't take prescriptions, but I've traveled all over with my vitamins and supplements, labeled or unlabeled, and no one has ever asked about them. If I was carrying prescriptions, I would keep them in their original container but otherwise they don't seem to cause any concern.

Posted by
11503 posts

Look I have to travel with two class three restricted drugs for one of my boys. They stay in the bottles, with label on , and I bring a doctor note with generic name and dosaging instruction. I also bring the amount I need times two, which would for a 14 day trip I brought 28 pills, which I kept SEPERATE so if I lost one I would have the other, plus I had the rest at home with my hubby packaged and ready to be sent ( shipped ) if needed overnight.Couln't take chances . I also kept an emergency two day stash seperate from other two stashes. I did this after getting off plane though. .
Putting your meds into unmarked packages is not safe, as Flightattend pointed out med personal may not be able to tell you have certain conditions just be looking at a bunch of pills thrown in loose together, the prescrition jar gives the correct name and strenght of dose. Information anyone treating you needs to have accurately.