Getting ready for a trip — short or extended — always brings a lot of planning demands, and it’s not difficult to overlook some of the daily tasks that, while vitally important, are taken for granted. Staying on a proper medication schedule while traveling is one such example. Packing everything for easy accessibility, changes in normal daily routines and foreign physical environments are all challenges that must be dealt with to make sure that you’re not inviting problems when you’re on the road. Don’t let your dream vacation become more of a nightmare trip because of medicine mistakes!
Here are some essential tips. First, carry meds on a flight if at all possible rather than packing them away and finding out something that you depend on goes to Detroit when your destination is Dallas! Be certain that you have all your prescriptions and instructions written down somewhere with you, along with insurance cards and your main physician’s contact information just in case something does happen and you have to order new medications from a different location. Also, write down the generic name of the drugs you are prescribed because medications in different regions may or may not be called by the same brand name or have thesame availability.
If you have liquid or other medication that needs refrigeration, an insulated lunch bag along with a freezer pack is the way to go. The normal acceptable standard for liquid medicine in a carry-on is only 3.4 ounces, but if you tell the TSA officers ahead of time, they’ll most likely allow you to carry them on. But you must tell them before you get to the security checkpoint — and they do reserve the right to x-ray the medicine.
Another thing that is incumbent upon you to check is the law on controlled substances in other countries if you are traveling abroad. You cannot assume that the U.S. rules always match up with other countries.
A very useful strategy is to check with your pharmacist at home about packing your medications in ‘multi-dose’ packages. This means that your multiple medications will be packed together by the time and days that you have to take them rather than everything separated by type of medication alone. This will make it much easier and more convenient to keep on schedule with your various prescriptions.
Finally, be cognizant of traveling through various time zones. It can cause confusion when times change and you’re trying to calculate the times you need to take your next dosages. There are helpful apps on your smartphone to help you with these issues — not to mention some good old-fashioned pen and pad note-keeping to help keep things straight. Simple documentation may be the best advice of all. We all think we’ll stay on top of everything that is as straightforward as when we have to take our medications, but traveling in and of itself creates disruptions in our routines (by design) and each change ratchets up the possibility of a med error occurring. So document the times you’ve taken your prescriptions, and chart the course going forward. Do these things and you’ll make sure your trip isn’t complicated by medication problems. Safe travels!
When traveling, there are still other items that you can pack that will help you on your travels. Find out more about how the Focus Glass can help you.