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Bringing in Medication Through Airport Security – Everything You Need to Know

bringing in medication through airport security

Bringing in medication through airport security can oftentimes be an unpleasant experience. Sometimes, even when you think you’re fully prepared and equipped with the most advanced TSA approved bags for liquid medication, you may still face a couple of challenges passing through airport security.

Airport security comes with a myriad of regulations and requirements before you’re allowed to pass through. This is especially true when we talk about prescription medicine which is almost like going through the eye of a needle just to enter the airport. But worry not, because we’ve got you covered! While most people get by simply through bringing a handy airport medication bag, it’s never a bad idea to list down all you might ever need when faced with challenging situations such as these. Here’s everything you need to know when bringing medication through airport security:

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  1. Always bring your doctor’s prescription – Perhaps one, if not the most important thing you should always remember to bring when travelling with medication is your doctor’s prescription. The US State Department requires international travelers to present a copy of their doctor’s prescription every time they go through airport security. Several airport security check protocols often allow you to bring more than a month’s supply of medicine as long as it comes with a doctor’s note. Security personnel may consider it a red flag when travelers bring medication without a doctor’s note so make sure to stow your prescription note safely in your airport medication bag compartment so it’s always handy when needed. In addition, it’s also never a bad idea to keep your ID cards and other relevant medical records with you so you’re always prepared.
  2. Store your liquid medicine in a TSA approved airport liquid bag – One of the first things airport security checks notice is liquids. The liquids rule restricts travelers from bringing liquids onboard the plane. Regulations often allow 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) of liquid stored in a secure bag – with certain exceptions especially when it’s life-saving medicines. When bringing liquid medication, it’s always best to store it in a secure TSA approved bags for liquid medication designed specifically to prevent your medicines from spilling over while travelling. Airport liquid bags have specialized compartments that hold bottles and medicine containers in place preventing accidental spillovers even in the harshest of turbulence.
  3. Keep your prescription drugs in their original containers – While this is not a clear-cut requirement when passing through airport security, doctors often advice to keep prescription drugs in their original containers. Medicine bottles contain all the information you need when asked about its contents – including especially when its opioid pain management medication or narcotic drugs.
  4. Pack your medication bag in your carry-on – Life-saving medicines must always be stored in easily accessible places. And when traveling on board a plane, your carry-on is your kit to survival. Travelers ought to ensure their airport security bags which should contain their complete prescription medicines on their carry-on so they can take medication on time, everywhere – even while flying.
  5. Always bring extra doses – As mentioned earlier, security checks often allow bringing more than the prescribed doses of medicine recognizing the fact that emergency cases often warrant the need to have extra supply in case you get stranded, or if your medication isn’t available for purchase in the country of destination.
  6. Be cautious when bringing herbal medicine – Certain countries have strict regulatory protocols when handling herbal medicine. While these types of medicine often don’t have side effects and are absolutely safe for human intake, you may still get in trouble in airport security if your country of destination bans ingredients used in your herbal medication. Visit your destination country’s embassy website or directly contact the consulate for more information regarding herbal medicine regulations or even rules when transiting certain countries.
  7. Know all applicable laws when travelling abroad with medication – Whether traveling domestic or overseas, it should be second nature for you to read up on applicable laws when traveling with prescription medication. Make sure at least 4 hours before your flight that you print relevant clippings and excerpts from laws, regulations and policies concerning your condition and the specific type of prescription you bring with your airport medication bag.
  8. Be careful when traveling with prescribed narcotics – Pain management medication often involves narcotic prescriptions such as Oxycontin, Percocet, codeine or Vicodin. Narcotic drugs such as these are widely abused and airport security personnel can get suspicious if you can’t show any proper documentation to back you up. Certain regulations apply when bringing narcotic drugs abroad and to avoid violating TSA rules, it would prove helpful to always bring prescription medication.
  9. Get insured – It’s a horrifying prospect to be in a foreign country without access to prescribed medicines and free healthcare. To avoid these scenarios, it’s best to consider getting your own travel insurance especially when traveling abroad for extended periods of time. Several insurance providers have international coverage which can be handy and more affordable when you’re a frequent traveler.
  10. Check whether medicine is available in country of destination – Strategy is key when bringing medicines through airport security checks. Do your research and check whether your country or place of destination have pharmacies that sell the kind of medicine you need. Some over-the-country drugs for example like ibuprofen, NSAIDs, or pain relievers such as mefenamic acid are widely available in almost every part of the globe. Hence, there’s no need to pack extra doses of these types of medicine on your airport medication bag when you can readily buy them elsewhere.

On top of all these tips and tricks to smoothly pass-through airport security with your medication intact, it’s always important to plan ahead. Traveling abroad always has its own risks – risks which can only be mitigated by planning carefully way ahead of time, preparing all you need before you leave your house, and ensuring all bases are covered in terms of rules, policies and regulations you need to comply when bringing medication on your travels. So remember to keep calm, plan ahead, and safe travels!

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