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The answer to this question can’t be answered with a simple “yes” or “no”; the circumstances and illnesses of the individual determine whether or not they should travel with all their medications as does the length of time they will be traveling.

The Hypochondriac

One also has to consider that any prescription drug prescribed to that person must be kept in the vial in which it belongs in.  

There are people who are physically in perfect condition, however, in their mind they believe they have some type of illness or condition thus they have a vitamin, mineral, or pill for every symptom they perceive as being a sign of illness.  These are the people who unnecessarily travel with a large sum of medications in which they really don’t need; medications that have not been prescribed by a physician.  In this case, the minimum is best; a daily vitamin, acetaminophen, and maybe some antacid should cover their needs; the term “less is more” fits well within this scenario. 

Prescription Medications

When planning to travel it is best if you have a talk with your physician concerning which medications he or she thinks you should most certainly take with you when you travel.  Such medications would be those that treat and help maintain:

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Diabetes
  • Heart conditions
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Migraines

Any ailment that is being controlled and maintained by a medication should always be taken with you when you travel; no matter how long you are going to be traveling. You should not only have these medications on hand, but you should also have a list of these medications along with the name, address, and phone number of your physician should you need to seek medical attention while you are traveling.  Having this information easily on hand can save you a great deal of time as well as the health care provider you are seeing when you are out of town. 

Many people, while at home, will put their medications in pill boxes for each day of the week.  While this is a good habit to go by, you should always have the original pill bottle the prescription came in. 

Too Many Pills

If you keep certain over the counter medications on hand such as allergy medications, muscle rub pain relievers, wart removers, etc, you certainly do not need to bring such items with you when you travel.  These over the counter medications can be found in any town at any pharmacy or grocery store.  There really is no need to carry these with you.  Just because you have them readily available for use at home doesn’t mean you need to pack them for your trip; the rule is, if you can buy it on the road, leave it at home. 

There are, however, exceptions to this rule.  If your trip involves camping in a secluded area and a pharmacy is not within decent driving distance, you may want to consider packing such items as allergy medication and pain relievers.  Be selective in what you take with you according to the destination you are going and how long you will be gone. 

Traveling by Air

If you are taking a trip and traveling by way of aircraft, you should inquire with the airline how medications are to be packed.  Airlines have very strict rules about what you carry onto an airplane so it is very important that the medications that you must have (prescription medications) be carried in the original pill bottle they came in.  This is particularly important if you are traveling out of the country.  You should certainly be aware of the guidelines pertaining to prescription medications and understand that you will most likely need to show proof that these medications are intended for the treatment of an illness.  It may be wise to have a copy of your medical records to carry with you just in case there is any confusion when reaching your destination.  The laws and rules may be very different than what they are in your homeland; that is why it is so very important to inquire about the rules and laws of the country you are going to visit and what type of documentation you will need to prove the need for such medications.

Best Rule to go by when traveling

If you are planning a trip and you just aren’t sure if you need to take a certain medication or not, just make a check list to determine if it’s needed or not.  Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I need this medication to control or maintain my health?

If you answer “yes” you need to take this medication with you.

  • Do I take this medication daily because it was prescribed by my physician?

If you answered “yes” you need to take this medication with you.

  • When was the last time I took this medication?

If you don’t recall the last time you took it or if you haven’t taken if very often, you should leave it at home.

  • What am I taking this medication for?

If you answer this question for any other reason than “because my doctor prescribed it to me”, you should leave it at home.

Far too many people get in the habit of taking medications they really don’t need; it just becomes a ritual they do every day.  Vitamins are good; everybody should be taking some kind of vitamin but taking ten different vitamins a day can be just a bit too much.  There comes a time when you need to realize that the less we depend upon over the counter medications to relieve symptoms that most likely will go away by themselves, the sooner you can break free of being burdened by having to take a handful of medications every day.  All a person needs is what the body needs to maintain and work correctly.  Sometimes physicians see fit to prescribe medications that our bodies need; sometimes we just think we need certain medications when actually what we need is supplied to us in the healthy foods we eat. 

  • Photo by shutterstock.com
  • www.everydayhealth.com/healthy-travel/traveling-with-medications.aspx
  • travel.state.gov/travel/tips/tips_1232.html
  • arthritis.about.com/od/travel/a/medication_tips.htm

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