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I have seen a few people say that they pack daily meds in small baggies to save room. I have also read that meds need to be in original bottles. Which works? I would like to NOT use prescription bottles but am concerned if there is not a prescription evident they will be suspect. Any recent travelers have any advice? Heading to UK in June and starting to plan packing.

Posted by
5145 posts

Your pharmacy may be able to print a label for each of your Rx meds that you could place on your bags. Can't hurt to ask.

However if you are travelling with a controlled drug, you should leave it in the original container.

Posted by
23473 posts

The probability of your medications being checked is close to zero if not zero when entering Europe. It is a customs issue and normally you just walk through the Green Door -- Nothing to Declare. However, getting back into the US can be another story. By that time, I down to just a hand full of pills left and have been asked about what medication am I carrying. The plastic bag with a label is acceptable to the US. They are looking for large quantities of pills. Half dozen is not a problem.

Posted by
11368 posts

We have traveled to countries all over the world including Europe. We have huge bottles from COSTCO. Baggies are what we use and we have never had any problems. We also print out a list of our Rxs from our doctor’s websit and take it along too..

Posted by
85 posts

I put mine into small ziplock bags, I carry the print out I get from the pharmacy which packs flat.
Never had a problem nor been questioned.

Posted by
1016 posts

You can peel off the label from your bottle and attach it to your small pill bags you can buy at any pharmacy. It will save a lot of room. I have never had any issues taking medication this way.

Posted by
776 posts

Depends on how much you need. I just dump all the AM pills into a couple of big Rx bottles and all the PM’s in a couple more. They all go in the carry on. The one I take 3-4 times a day I carry in a separate bottle just for convenience. Add hubby’s and so much for the RS packing style. Thank god my cooler and blue ice days are over. Our carry-on is essentially electronics, cords, and pills. TSA has been more concerned about putting the iPad, pocket change and phone through the X-Ray. 15-20 trips and I’ve never been questioned about all the pills. But, if you’re carrying a controlled medication, that should stay in the original bottle. Otherwise, I wouldn’t worry worry about it. I don’t use snack bags because of the waste they create and they weigh too much.

Posted by
932 posts

I travel with lots of pills, and I carry them in prefilled weekly dispensers sufficient for the trip. I quit worrying about being stopped or questioned about this years ago. It has never happened, and I don't think this is a high target thing in European airports. I have googled this topic and searched travel forums for years and have never read of anyone having a problem. I think it is a non-issue.

However, if you travel to Japan, read up on this issue because they prohibit many common Rx and over the counter meds being brought into the country.

Posted by
396 posts

I use a blow dryer to heat the glue on the RX bottle label to make it easy to pull off and then attach to a baggie. Many trips and zero issues. J

Posted by
18866 posts

A1 I take 2 pills for my heart, two for my kidneys, one for cholesterol (which if it had worked maybe I wouldn’t need some of the others) and two medications just for fun; then thanks to COVID, I take Zinc and Vitamin D (can’t hurt) and the usual multi-vitamin (silver of course).

A2 So that’s a lot of bottles, but the law of the country I travel most frequently says in no uncertain terms that the medications (not the vitamins) have to be in the original bottles; so, any other advice is advising law breaking.

A3 So, on a short trip I put them in tiny little zip lock bags (got them on Amazon) one bag for each morning and one for each evening and I will put a weeks’ worth in my “personal item” the rest in the carry-on; oh the ones just for fun and the one I have to inject goes in my carry on too along with the syringes (can’t picture the look on the other passengers if I were to pull out a syringe, fill it, then jab my leg in Economy Coach Class – maybe I should someday just for S&G’s).

A4 On longer trips (3 or more weeks), I still have a few morning and evening pouches for the travel time, but the rest are put in my carry on in the little pouches by medicine type, and I sort them when I need them.

A5 One of the drugs I take for my heart is not legal in Europe so that one worries me the most and I carry a week’s supply in a little tube on my keychain or on the strap of my “personal item”; and all but two of them I could get refilled in Europe for a fraction of the US cost, but that’s not legal either, so I would not advise that … but doctors to write the script are easy to find.

A6 Never in well over 100 flights to and from Europe or within Europe have I ever been questioned about medications by security or anyone else; but in random bag checks at the gates I have had to pull out the pouches twice that I can remember; again, no questions (dont know if it would do any good, but I do carry the prescriptions).

Posted by
15726 posts

I travel for three months at a time and take a few prescriptions. In fact, my little pharmacy weighs 2.5 pounds on departure.

Most of the pills I leave in the original pharmacy bottles. But two I put into ziploc bags due to size and amount. My pharmacy gives out paperwork on all of these pills. It includes a copy of the label that goes on the bottle. This label also has a description of the pill. I cut out this second label and place it with the medication.

Since none of narcotic, I'm not concerned.

Posted by
16 posts

I did find the small medication bags at Walmart so will use those and a printout of meds from the pharmacy and hope that works. Given your responses, I should be fine. Nothing is a controlled substance so shouldn't be an issue. Thanks for the tips, all!

Posted by
7031 posts

I originally packed mine in small ziplock bags but that drove me crazy so I bought a pill organizer in Nuremberg to use, and it's been great.

I did not bring labels with me, but I did take photos of them. And if push comes to shove, I can always pull them up on MyChart, so I'm not worried about it.

Posted by
10 posts

I remember advice somewhere that another advantage of having the prescription is that it's a head start if you lose your medication and have to get it replaced on the trip. (Of course, that assumes that you're not carrying the prescription in the same lost bag.)

Posted by
295 posts

My drugstore actually sells little pill bags with a place to label or write on them. They are basically tiny ziplocs. I put all of my non prescription stuff (vitamins, melatonin, supplements, ibuprofen, tylenol pm) in them and labeled them.

It was of no concern in Italy, France, or upon return through Chicago.

Posted by
2258 posts

Amazon carries the tiny little ziplocks as well.

As I have mentioned before, I don't bring any of the rx paperwork, but if needed I could either log onto my chart as someone else said or express scripts and get the information.

Posted by
7728 posts

I know this topic gets beat to death, but a couple salient comments:

"Original container" can be a bit misleading in the requirements, no one knows what original container you had, and packaging varies greatly, you can even get all of your meds packaged in dose units (Morning, Evening, etc.) as an original container. The point of this is that they should be identified. As long as the meds are in something reasonably organized and labeled, I doubt anyone would bat an eye.

Be careful with advice..."they never do what you want", they can check, though items for personal use are not a concern. Do be aware that some countries are very strict about it, Opioids and Opiates, as well as a number of pain meds are more of a concern, injectables will get specific scrutiny, more from security than customs.

Always, Always, have some separate record (label, digital document, etc.) of what you are taking, what it is for, dosing, etc. It will help if you are questioned, but really, your biggest risk is losing, dropping, having them stolen, running out if you are delayed, any number of reasons to need to get more there. Do not rely on your memory to know what you get, or to convince a Doctor that is what you need.

Posted by
16 posts

Thanks for the advice. I did find the small med bags at Walmart and was able to peel the prescriptions off my actual meds and tape them on the bags and then just labeled vitamins and such with a Sharpie. I hope that works!