Tips for Traveling with Medication

Nov 22, 2013



An individual that takes medications on a regular basis knows just how important it is to always be prepared; having the correct medications in the right amounts so that the regimen can be maintained is vital to staying healthy and symptom free. When travelling to a foreign country, this becomes even more important. It may be difficult, if not impossible, to go to a local pharmacy and get a prescription refilled and, with US currency running lower in value compared to many foreign currencies, the price of a refill could be expensive. There are also real risks when purchasing medications in other countries as counterfeit medications are sometimes sold and could cause serious harm if taken.

Organizing a health travel kit


Recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), a health travel kit is an excellent way to for a traveler to prepare for an international trip.  Assembling a health travel kit should begin with the common over-the-counter medications that may be needed. It is not necessary to pack a medicine-cabinet’s worth of pills and treatments, but packing a few medications that may be useful for a particular vacation destination or type of itinerary may prove beneficial.

A pain reliever, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, should be the first thing added to the health travel kit.  Whether relieving a headache, sore limbs from walking or to ease an ill-timed fever, a pain reliever may be the most likely medication to be used during the trip. 

Digestive problems can be an issue when travelling internationally. The changes in diet, a decrease in fluid consumption and exposure to food-borne bacteria can cause a host of problems, including constipation, diarrhea, nausea and other stomach discomforts.  Packing a mild bisacodyl-based laxative or a stool softener is advisable, as well as an anti-diarrheal medication.


Minor cuts, scrapes and abrasions can occur anywhere, even when on vacation, so packing an antibacterial cream or ointment, as well as some basic bandages and tape, will ensure that wounds can be properly treated and infections prevented.

Other medications that could be included are: an antihistamine; medication to treat motion sickness; and an antifungal cream or powder. 

In addition, the health travel kit will include any prescription medications being taken by the traveler.

Managing prescription medications while travelling

A visit to the doctor is a good idea before taking an international trip, not only to ensure that the journey is being made in good health but also to ensure that an ample supply of any necessary prescription medications is on-hand. The doctor will also be able to advise scheduling changes for taking medications as time-zones change during the trip. Some destination countries may entail very specific risks to the traveler’s health; for example, many tropical countries have a high risk of exposure to malaria, so the doctor may want to prescribe an anti-malarial drug as a precaution.

Another option for buying medications is to purchase refills through an online pharmacy. A Canadian Pharmacy offers a wide variety of prescription medications for a lower price than most brick-and-mortar pharmacies. They also work closely with the customer’s doctor so a prescription may be easily refilled; most will ship a 90-day supply direct-to-home, some as quickly as overnight.

Tags: Travel Tips