Travelling abroad should be an exciting time, but for those with lots of medication to consider, it can be quite stressful. Keeping your medications organised, making sure you don’t run out and packing everything safely is quite an ordeal.
Even those who don’t take regular medication should think about packing some essential medicine for travel. This could help you avoid a late night search for a pharmacy to buy something as simple as paracetamol or antihistamines.
A travel medicine kit will ensure you always have what you need to hand. It’s particularly helpful during long journeys, as you might not have the opportunity to stop and purchase items.
We’re sharing our top pharmacist’s tips for preparing your essential medicine for travel. We’ll explore some items you should always take with you, and some additional considerations when travelling with prescription medication.
The pharmacist guide to medicine for travel
There are a few over the counter medications that should be in every travel bag. You don’t need to take a year’s supply, just enough for emergency use. You can then replenish your medicine bag in a local pharmacy.
Most tourist destinations will have pharmacies and most people will be able to find the basics with the help of a travel dictionary.
We recommend taking the following medications with you when travelling:
- Paracetamol – excellent for headaches and cold/flu symptoms.
- Ibuprofen – ideal for controlling inflammation from sprains or strains.
- Antihistamines – not just for seasonal allergies, but also great for mosquito bites.
- Antacids – overindulgence is common while on holiday and this will help control the consequences.
- Imodium – travellers’ belly can strike at any moment, and this will stop your plans from being derailed.
- Hydrocortisone cream – commonly used for eczema, but also great for mosquito bites.
- Rehydration sachets – ideal for preventing dehydration after an upset stomach.
- Probiotics – some need to be kept in the fridge, so look for a travel friendly probiotic to keep your gut healthy while travelling.
- Travel sickness medication – you never know travel sickness could strike, so don’t let it interrupt your plans.
You should also carry a small first aid kit if you are planning anything adventurous such as hiking. You don’t need a lot of items in your travel first aid kit, just enough to be able to stop a wound from bleeding or getting infected before you can seek medical help.
Add the following items to your travel first aid kit:
- Plasters in various sizes
- Individually sealed antiseptic wipes
- Crepe bandage
- Antibacterial cream
- Tweezers and scissors
Remember to put your first aid kit in your checked luggage if you are flying as you won’t be allowed to take tweezers or scissors on the plane.
Taking prescription medication abroad
If you have prescription medications, consider travelling with a pill organiser to keep everything in order. You’re more likely to forget medication when you’re relaxing on holiday, so a days of the week pill organiser will help keep you on track.
To avoid any problems at customs, don’t dispense your tablets until you arrive at your destination. Travel with your medication in marked boxes that clearly show your prescription details. It’s best to travel with your medication in your carry-on luggage in case you need to access it during the flight.
Keep all medication together and make a note if anything needs to be refrigerated when you arrive. If you are unsure how to take your medication, bring instructions with you. When you arrive at your destination, you can prepare your weekly pill organiser.
What if you run out of prescription medication on holiday?
If you run out of your prescription medication or misplace it, you could try visiting a local pharmacist. They may be able to help, or you may need to visit a local doctor for an emergency prescription. If you are struggling to find a pharmacist or aren’t sure of the name of your medication, call your usual GP for advice and support.
If you have travel insurance, you could also contact your insurance provider. They will direct you to a walk in clinic where you can get a replacement prescription.
If you need to stock up on medications before you travel, Live Well Nationwide can help. We offer a reliable online service with fast delivery and an extensive range of products.