Travelling with medications (part 1)


Links updated January 2018

I’ll be taking a short trip overseas soon so the first thing I’m thinking about is organising my medications and all the things associated with taking medications into a foreign country.

Following is a list of essentials

*  a letter from your doctor or specialist; this letter should contain information about

your diagnosis/condition

a list of all the medications you take and their dosages

whether you need to carry ice packs to keep medications cool

any joint replacement surgery, plates, pins, nuts or bolts that might beep going through airport security

*  Copies of scripts of the medications you are carrying with you

*  Medications should remain in their original containers (including vitamins) with your name on the prescribing chemist’s label.

*  If travelling overseas, check to see if there are any restrictions on any of the medications you are travelling with.

carry all medications in your hand luggage


keeping medications cool

Sometimes I have to travel with medication in syringe form that is usually stored in the fridge.

I have an insulated bag that I keep my medication and ice pack in for travel. I also keep a copy of the script and a copy of a doctors letter in this bag which states I’ll be travelling with syringes and medication that needs to be kept cool.

Check with the company that manufactures your medication to see if they can provide you with a travelling kit.

It is also worth looking at the website of your local diabetes organisation. They usually sell a range of travel cooler bags and ice packs as well as different sized sharps containers. I had a quick browse at the cooler packs sold at Diabetes WA and NSW. Your local chemist can also supply you with small sharps containers suitable for travel.

I haven’t done a long haul trip (10-24 hours) in years. A couple of years ago I did a ten hour flight and was allowed to place my medication in the fridge on the plane. I still came prepared with ice packs though as many airlines won’t allow you to place your medication in the fridge. I have read on travel forums that a lot of travellers take ziplock plastic bags with them and ask for ice cubes during the flight.

If you have any tips for keeping your medications cool on long haul flights I would love to hear them.

going through airport security gates

Take your insulated bag out of your hand luggage, open the bag so your medication and ice pack are visible and pop them into a tub to go through the X-ray machine.

When you walk through the metal detectors, if you have any joint replacements you will  ‘beep’.  The security guard will pull you aside to investigate further.

At the domestic terminals in Perth and Sydney (from recent experience) this involves taking off your shoes and socks, being scanned and patted down. At the Perth Domestic Airport, I also had to lift my feet so the guard could check the bare soles of my feet. If you are unsteady balancing on one foot, make sure you ask to sit down for this process.

I suggest you wear shoes that are easy to get on and off when travelling through domestic airports in Australia. (I usually always wear sandals)

Since I wrote this post Perth Airport has undergone some massive renovations and upgrades and there have been major additions and upgrades in roads leading to the airport

Click here for information on security at the renovated Perth Airport. In this window Travellers with Specific Needs will be of particular interest if you are travelling with a chronic illness

Two topics useful to browse are Travelling with medicines and Travelling with reduced mobility or medical devices and aids



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