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How do you organize your Rx?

I take a few pills in the morning and then some vitamins/supplements in the evening. I'm trying to figure out what to bring and how to organize them. I will be gone for 30 days so i can't just fill up one of the plastic pill compartments.

Do you bring your meds in their original containers and then bring an extra pill compartment to organize them on the road? Or just keep them in the original containers? Or something else?

Posted by
380 posts

My prescription meds travel in their original container. My gummy supplements are in small ziplocks. The labels for the gummies are easily cut off from their original, rather large containers so I’ve snipped off the label and put it in the ziploc too. I bring a small weekly organizer that I load upon arrival. It is large enough for the Rx meds only. I put the gummies for the week in a separate baggie when I load the Rx organizer.

Posted by
2549 posts

I mostly have supplements. I have separated morning and night into separate baggies. As long as you can visually distinguish your pills/supplements I found that works well. I have put a few that look too much alike in small containers which I have labeled. I have tended to leave my one prescription in a separate container because they are very small. My goal is to have everything take up as little space as possible.

I have tried pill organizers but don’t like them.

Posted by
347 posts

For an upcoming trip I put them in a pharmacy pill bottle, then "stacked" the 3 original labels on the bottle. Sometimes I use a plastic baggie, but on long trips some of the pills can break-up more than if they were in a pill bottle. How ever you carry them, have a list from the pharmacy or pharmacy-printed labels for each Rx.

For supplements, which are usually larger I put them in a plastic baggie.

I also arrange them so I have the fewest containers to open each day. For example, for a 60 day drip, 30 of each type in each bag.

I do not bring a weekly pill container, so being out of my routine, I sometimes miss taking them. So, I might carry them with me or have a daily phone reminder.

Posted by
2 posts

It’s always a good idea when passing through borders and customs checks that you carry your meds in their original bottles WITH the prescription labels from the pharmacy including your name that they can use to verify against your passport. Customs inspectors are more likely to take a disapproving view towards a bunch of pills that are just thrown together in a baggie which could be any sort of recreational drugs.

99 times out of a 100 it’s not a big deal but there have been several borders I always worried about.

Posted by
683 posts

I take several prescription/supplement pills every day, both AM and PM. For trips I use small baggies (from a craft store like Michael's), one for each day's AM or PM pills. Then while traveling I can just empty out a single baggie at a time and take them all very quickly, vs. fussing with opening several containers twice a day. I keep all the AM baggies in a regular-size ziplock bag, and all the PM in another.

This strategy admits the possibility that some zealous TSA (etc.) agent might want to know just what is in the baggies; so I carry all the labels with me (both Rx and non-Rx), as others have recommended, along with photos of each pill next to its label (the photos are stored on the phone). So far this documentation has not been needed.

Posted by
11348 posts

We use baggies and pour our RXs into them. We know how to ID each pill. We have traveled abroad several times all over the world for six weeks and these baggies are easier to pack. There has never been any need to have them in containers from the pharmacy. I print out a list of our RXs from our MD’s website in their non brand names that are understood in other countries.

Posted by
5884 posts

I get my pharmacist to print out the same labels that go on the medication container. I put them on ziplocks and dump the meds in the baggie. I put the morning ziplock with the evening ziplock and any other bags (like motrin) in a bubble wrap type envelope to keep them from being crushed. I don't take any medications that would cause any issue, but when I traveled with my daughter who takes adderall, I double check that the medication is legal in the country we are visiting.

Posted by
302 posts

Like almost everyone else I use little baggies but I am adding my post since it sounds like we have about the same amount with which to contend. A great tip I got here was to use the tiny resealable clear bags you can find near the pharmacy in places like Target. (I have been reusing them for several years, since I am really careful of my environmental impact.)
I have a regimen of vitamins that is am/pm with another mid- day tablet. Counting out 3-4 weeks is a chore but I focus on the trip!
A bunch of little baggies becomes an issue for packing light. I either contain them all in a larger ziplock or else scatter them throughout the carryon (in shoes, etc). I like the portability of just taking 3 pouches out with me daily. Once empty I once again just tuck them under the lining or wherever.
Also like others I keep a copy of the labels/ingredients in case I am asked.
For OTC first aid needs (Tylenol, anti diarrhea, sinus headaches) I put just the blister pack in my first aid kit. I have small travel sizes of Neosporin, etc that have to go in the 3-1-1 bag.

Posted by
606 posts

I use mini ziploc bags that I bought from the Joann Fabrics craft section — I think they are 2.5 x 3 inches.
AND now I take an extra 2 weeks’ worth just in case my return home is delayed by a positive COVID test.

Posted by
10324 posts

I’m halfway through a 6 week trip. I take 3 prescriptions and have others things such as calcium and vitamin D3 that my doctor wants me to take. I’ve taken my original containers in the past, but it would take up too much room now, so I have small heavy duty ziplock bags, such as you would find at a craft store. I think I bought mine at REI years ago. I have each one labeled. This is for my prescription meds. I have a small pill box marked with the days of the week and I refill it as needed. At a drug store I bought little ziplock bags meant to package up your meds for one day at a time. In those I packed a weeks worth of each thing and labeled the bags. I have enough of everything for 9 weeks in case we get delayed for some reason. We flew into Frankfurt and no one ever looked at our bags there. I’ve flown many times and no one at my departure airports have looked either.

Posted by
770 posts

Together with my husband, we carry 4 supplements and 15 medications (one of which has to be kept on ice and administered subcutaneously for added excitement). TAP asked to see the doctor’s letter for the chilled one, but perhaps carrying it in its cooler separately, pushing me over the carry on limit, rather than the tiny needles, arose their suspicions. Who knows. Even with the letter, that took 20 minutes as more than one person insisted on my taking the whole thing apart. I used to carry everything in snack sized baggies, but even that was awkward, added weight, was and space consuming. But I was never inspected or ask to explain myself. Now I mix mine all together into large morning and evening Rx bottles, and the same with his. If we carried individual bottles, it would fill a carry on. (We don’t pack the RS way, although I long for the day.). For the past 5 years, I’ve not had a problem, but somehow I’m a little nervous about our trip this month to the Netherlands and Malta. The thought of all those bottles is off-putting at best, and I’d look like a walking pharmacy. Would that draw extra attention? Maybe. Perhaps all the COVID hoopla will sufficiently distract officials. But considering how many people carry bottles I probably should reconsider my plan. It comes down to answering the question, “what is your risk-level tolerance?” Just another one of the joys of traveling.

Posted by
4171 posts

I have a spreadsheet that I use every day at home to keep track of what I take when. I only take 3 prescriptions and 2 supplements, but they must be taken spread out through the day and not too close to each other. Neither little baggies nor weekly pill containers would work for me.

I keep my prescription pills in their original bottles. I get 90 day supplies through home delivery. At present, they come in bottles way too big for the contents, so I combine the bottles and mark how many are in each one. That cuts down the number of bottles dramatically. I take enough for the trip, plus a cushion in case I get stuck in Europe for some reason.

Each morning I take the first 2 pills of the day and put the 6 that remain in a tiny travel jar. I put that, my folded up spread sheet and a pencil in a quart size Ziploc bag. I carry that with me in my little cross-body travel purse so that I can take the pills when I'm supposed to and write the time I took them on the spreadsheet. It would be much easier if I had morning and evening pills that I could throw down all at once.

The spreadsheet has columns for other health related items. For example, when I got a watch that has a step counter, I added a column for the number of steps each day. It will be fun to actually see how much I walk on my trip to Ireland and Wales this summer.

Posted by
94 posts

I do a similar process as those who use the small baggies from the pharmacy pill box section of the store. I only take a blood pressure pill that is very small. I do, however, take a lot of vitamins particularly those that support the immune system.

I snap a picture on my phone of each bottle with the pill in front of the label. For the blood pressure medicine I remove the label and stick it on one of the bags. So far, for many years, no one has ever inspected my quart-sized baggie of daily med/vitamins.

We primarily travel for 2-3 weeks (once 4 weeks, but this still didn't take up much space in my carryon).

Posted by
46 posts

I bring the original bottles with newly-filled 30 day supplies. I have paper copies of the prescriptions (scanned onto a single sheet of paper) & digital copies of them on all my devices. I have a weekly pill compartment container I fill up - the container with each day's supply can be popped out & carried separately. Also, it is a good idea to check with the embassies of wherever you are going whether your supplements are legal. I take melatonin. Some places I went to it was legal as over-the-counter & some places required a doctor's prescription for it.

Posted by
6774 posts

Thank you all SO MUCH - you all rock! This has given me some great ideas!

I take 4 pills in the morning and calcium, vit. D3 and a multi-vit in the evening, so that is a good idea about separating them and using ziplock baggies. It's also a great idea about taking photos of the bottles - I never thought about that. And thank you for the reminder that I may need to be prepared to stay an extra period of time (thank you, Covid)! I'm off to scout out some ziplock baggies now!

Posted by
4973 posts

Mardee, We also put our meds in ziplock bags with an extra Rx label attached. In addition, we carry a copy of the data sheet that comes with the meds just as a back up to prove what they are. We've traveled to many countries that way and never had a problem.

Posted by
1259 posts

You might be surprised at how few meds you need for 30 days. First, I confer with my docs on which pills, if any, I can do without for a few weeks (there's usually one or two). Then I eliminate all supplements and make some simple dietary adjustments. I prepackage everything into a stack of small, 7- or 14-day trays. I like the trays that have positive locking devices but I put a rubber band around it and place it in a ziplock anyway. For l30 days you can stack two of the 14-day trays and just bin one when it empties. Two small ziplocks, tucked can hold a few extras.

Posted by
6774 posts

TC, that's a good idea. I don't have the data sheets but I can always pull it up on MyChart if needed.

Bogiesan, I get what you're saying but I really don't feel comfortable stopping any meds (or the calcium and D3, (although I could get rid of the multi-vitamin, which is the biggest pill). Plus the 3 pills in the morning are all pretty small, so I don't think I'm going to save a lot of room by leaving them out. I doubt my doctor would agree anyway since two pills are for blood pressure and one is for thyroid.

Posted by
380 posts

and I also stuff cotton balls in the original Rx bottles to keep the pills from getting jostled. I use the cotton balls during the trip as needed so I might have jostled pills on the return trip but no biggie!

Posted by
12 posts

Since many people get prescription medications in a 90-day supply nowadays, it can be useful to save a recent empty bottle when you finish the supply. Load that with the amount needed for your trip - it's already labeled - and leave the rest at home in the current bottle.

From there you can bring an organizer and set it up once at your destination(s).

Posted by
97 posts

I take my prescription bottle with me. For my vitamins and supplements, I take a picture on my phone of all the bottles in a single picture. Then I have each pill in a small ziploc bag labelled with the exact dosage from the bottles so they can match up. I've never been asked to produce additional documentation but you never know.

Posted by
6774 posts

Great information from everyone! Thank you again! One more week till I start packing everything!

Posted by
471 posts

Long ago, I watched one of the Rick Steves' packing videos and the woman suggested just taking a picture of the prescription label. We're going for three weeks. Since I take one med/day and vitamins, it doesn't add up to much. However, I find I'm much more consistent if I have one day's pills together. For this trip, I bought a twice/day for a week pill carrier as I don't want to have a bunch of baggies. The AM side will have the first week's pills by day and the PM side will have two+ weeks stuffed in the slots. My vision is that at the end of the week, I'll sort out another week's worth of pills into the empty slots. With all the supply chain issues, I couldn't find exactly what I wanted but I'm going to see how this system works.