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How to manage your medication while travelling

About PossesstheWorld

We are Possess the World, a couple of empty nesters travelling the world slowly, avoiding tour groups and having our gap years a bit late; we hope to inspire you to do the same. You can read about us on our blog


Follow these 13 handy tips to ensure you have no medication hiccups while overseas.

Travellers of all ages may need to manage medications while travelling, but it's more relevant to the over-40s -- especially those of us with chronic conditions that must be managed in order to keep us fit, healthy and on the road.

You want to ensure your medications are well-managed while overseas.

You want to ensure your medications are well-managed while overseas.

Chronic conditions include diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, vascular disease, arthritis, and airways diseases such as emphysema, COPD and asthma.

Read more from Possess The World: How to travel with a chronic disease

13 top tips for managing medications on the road

  • Always see your doctor/health care professional when you are planning your travel. Inform them of where, how long and what you intend to do on your trip.
  • Have a full check up BEFORE you leave and get any ongoing issues treated.
  • Ensure that you have a supply of medication to get you through your entire trip.
  • Ensure that prescription medication is in its original packaging.
  • Ensure that your name is printed on the packaging and that it matches the prescription.
  • Take a copy of the prescription with you.
  • Check with the embassy of the country you are travelling to that the medication you are taking is legal and for any restrictions or regulations that may apply (you can usually do this on the internet).
  •  Check your government's regulations on travelling with medications. For example, in Australia, you can't take prescription medications out of the country that are not for YOUR use.
  • Know and use trusted sources for advice about your medications.
  •  Non-prescription medications -- such as common pain relief medications paracetamol, aspirin and ibuprofen -- may not be available easily in other countries. A small supply in original packaging should not be an issue, but always check before you travel. Some countries do not allow the importation of codeine.
  • Discuss your travel, prescription and non-prescription medications with your dispensing pharmacist. They may be able to arrange more medication if you are travelling abroad for an extended trip (our pharmacist in Australia was able to organise up to six months' supply).
  • Carry at least some medication in your hand luggage to avoid being stranded without it. We usually have a week's supply in our carry-on luggage.
  • Get a letter from your healthcare professional detailing: your medical history; the names of you medications, doseage and frequency taken; when you started the medication and how long you should take it for; any other treatment you've had; any previous allergies or reactions to medication.
  • Useful sources of information

    Please note: you should discuss these sources of information with your healthcare professional during your pre-travel consultation. They may find it useful to know where you get information and explain anything you don’t understand.

    The Australian Travel Doctor website is a private company that has information on vaccinations, travel tips and medication management relevant to Australian travellers.

    The National Health Service (UK)  has travel tips for those managing chronic conditions while travelling, including fact sheets that you can download to take with you.

    The NPS Medicinewise site is an Australian not-for-profit that publishes information about chronic conditions, medications and management for both health professionals and patients. The information is easy to understand way and there is a smartphone app you can download for medication management. 

    If you would like more tips and tricks for preparing for travel, check out the health section on the Possess the World Travel BlogIf you found this information useful please share on the social media of your choice. You can follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

    If you would like to discuss this information or give us feedback please contact us

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