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Traveling Europe with Prescription Drugs

We had originally planned to bring our prescriptions in a weekly pill organizer and leave the bottles (10) at home but I read that you need to travel with them in the original prescription containers. Another friend that travels frequently to Europe just takes them in an organizer and has no problems. Any suggestions?

Posted by
354 posts

Husband and I have been traveling with them in zip lock bags or pill a day containerd for years and never had an issue. Some folks print off copies of their prescriptions to take along but we never have

Posted by
3961 posts

We have been using a pill organizer for years. I also bring extra labeled in a zip lock bag. We both only have a couple of meds to take. We also bring a pharmacy print out of our meds. I also take a screenshot to have on my phone. Never had a problem.

Posted by
674 posts

I don’t have a recommendation as to how to handle this but I will relate the situation that I faced in March of 2020.

I had only brought with me enough medication in pill organizers to cover me for just a few days beyond my scheduled trip when the U.S. closed its borders due to the pandemic. I was in Morocco and was faced with an extended stay. Well off to the pharmacy I went with essentially nothing (but the pills on hand and my head knowledge of what they were) to try and obtain more.

Having at least a copy of the prescriptions (i.e. labels from the bottles) would have made the process easier. I still use the pill organizers but now I carry extras in the original containers too.

Posted by
1625 posts

As long as you are not carrying narcotics or any schedule controlled substances (example: Xanax), you should be fine with whatever organizational system you come up with. I just used small snack size baggies with the days meds, then all of those go in a bigger baggie, they can just be stuffed wherever and are small. That was the system that took up the least amount of space, I could pretty much just stuff them in my little side pocket inside my suitcase. A Note: if you are taking a flight that would correspond with the normal time you take your meds, make sure to pack that single dose in your carry on.

Posted by
1881 posts

I, too, use organizers and snack baggies for my daily pills. I also print off my medication list from my healthplan which tells dosage, etc. and since most are generic I don't have to worry about a script that only has a brand name.

Posted by
18826 posts

Do be aware that the advice you are getting is more or less what I did advice. You would be hard pressed to find a source, government or otherwise that will suggest its a good idea to bring your meds in anything but the original prescription bottles.

Posted by
5060 posts

We 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
377 posts

I take the original bottles and plenty extra in case the unforeseen happens an I am unable to return home for a few weeks.

Posted by
8879 posts

I keep them in a zipped travel bag I got at REI.

Always travel with meds in their original labeled plastic containers. Doesn’t weigh much and its the last thing I pack.

I keep a list of the meds on my iphone in the notes application. Also have a printed copy that goes into my travel folder.

Never had a problem.

Posted by
4478 posts

I use organizers and have a photo of the bottles on my phone.

Posted by
11368 posts

Along with all the pills in baggies, I print out our medication lists from our doctor’s website.

Posted by
15703 posts

its not a good idea to bring your meds in anything but the original prescription bottles.

Not every country gives medication in prescription bottles. Some get blister packs. Others get pill envelopes. Etc, etc, etc.

Posted by
5137 posts

Not every country gives medication in prescription bottles. Some get
blister packs. Others get pill envelopes. Etc, etc, etc

Since you are being literal, perhaps we could just amend the statement to the 'original container as dispensed'. But I believe the original statement is what appears (paraphrased) in the advice given by the State dept. And the Canada govt travel site. European countries, for the most part don't seem too concerned about meds for personal use. But show up with a baggie full of self labeled pills in some other countries, and you could absolutely count on a lengthy conversation with a government officer.

A Note: if you are taking a flight that would correspond with the
normal time you take your meds, make sure to pack that single dose in
your carry on

I also wanted to comment on this, from Letizia. ALL of your meds should be in your carry on or your personal item when flying. You should NEVER put prescription meds in your checked bags, in case they are delayed or lost.

Posted by
18826 posts

I gave the answer i gave because I am not prepared to be personally responsible for the results of any other answer. I carry 6 meds including one not approved for use in the EU and one that requires carrying syringes. What do I do? Not material to the question.

Posted by
1625 posts

CJean- I agree one of the things that stays with you at all times are your meds BUT do you really want to be digging in your carry on for your pills or have the one single dose needed inflight conveniently in one baggie that is easily accessible? I just pack the one dose of X number of pills separate from my main stash, in the front pocket of my carry on.

Posted by
1808 posts

I take pictures of the original bottles and keep on my phone if using a pill a day organizer. Never had issues at all anyhow. Thousands of people travel daily with medications. Even a 90 supply doesn't raise an eyebrow.

Posted by
768 posts

Most of our Rx's are 90 day supplies in unnecessarily large containers with way too much empty space. It seems ludicrous carrying these "original" bottles especially now that more space is also needed for test kits, masks, etc. My partner and I have never taken these original containers with us aside from my ambien....and even that is has gone to 90 day supplies in bottles that have too much wasted space. We've tried getting 30 day supplies for travel with somewhat smaller bottles but still way too much wasted empty space. The improvement was minimal and didn't justify losing the bulk 90 day savings. I suppose people could get different packaging options outside their paid plans if they are willing to pay for it.

(EDIT) A paper copy of the prescription arrives with our mail orders. We take that along with us and also snap a pic of the bottle with it's associated paper. The doctor gets me a smaller ambien Rx at the local pharmacy and I don't mind taking that small bottle with me. The doctor has indicated which of our medicines cannot have missed dosages...only one can have a few missed days.

Posted by
1259 posts

Depending totally one’s health situation and caregivers, talking to your prescribing doctors about your trip may surprise you. Some non-critical and lifestyle meds can take a two- to four-week vacation without complications or side effects. You also can probably get along just fine for a few weeks without a collection of OTC meds and feel-good supplements. To find out, wean yourself off of them for the month before you depart.

Posted by
15703 posts

The reason they say bring your medications in your original container is because they want to see that prescription label.

I put many of my prescriptions into small ziploc bags writing the name of the prescription on the bag. I have a copy of the prescription label and my labels have a description of the pill.

Posted by
612 posts

In my last 3 trips what I have done is carry my prescriptions in separate baggies for the time that I will be traveling plus 10 more in case of COVID. I make a photo copy of the prescription labels (the pharmacy can print extras for you), scan the copy and email it to myself and my phone. Haven't had problems yet.

Posted by
294 posts

Does anyone use Rx blister packs when traveling?
The Rx label is on the card.
You can cut off the used rows as you go to reduce bulk.
If you prefer a 7-day organizer, you could use a Sharpie to write the day of the week on the blister pack card.
Just a thought.