Traveling With Meds?


Tips for Traveling With Prescription Medications

The season of travel is upon us. All across the country, folks are packing their bags and heading to airports to give their distant relatives a ring as the holidays arrive.

Most of us don’t mind flying, but nobody can argue that getting through airport security can be a hassle. With all the rules they have about carry-ons, it’s natural to be confused about what’s allowed and what isn’t.

Can you carry your medications with you on your flight? The answer is yes, but with a few caveats.

Here are rules for traveling with your prescription or OTC meds:

  • Solids and Pills: Solid medications (like pills) are typically fine to carry with you after having your bag checked at the airport scanner.
  • Liquid/Aerosols/Gels: Although most liquids held within carry-ons must be in containers less than 3.4 oz and should fit inside a quart-sized resealable bag, medications are exempt from this rule. If a medication is necessary, you’re free to bring it. This also applies to other medically-necessary liquids, such as baby formula or insulin.
  • Medical Accessories: Accessories like needles, syringes, IV bags, etc. are allowed to be included in your carry-on, but they’ll likely undergo visual screening by airport security.

Other Travel Tips

To expedite the security screening (and help ensure that everyone makes their flight!) keep these tips in mind as well:

  • Label all medications and store them in a separate bag so that airport security can examine them all at once.
  • Declare your medications to security so they know what to expect when examining your bag.
  • Pack enough medication in your carry-on to last you several days. In the unlikely event that your checked bag gets lost, you’ll want to make sure you have enough medication to last until you can get to a local pharmacy. If traveling in inclement weather, be aware that your checked bags (and medications) will be exposed to the cold.

Generally, airport security is lenient with necessary medication. Remember—keep everything properly labeled, and comply with all inspection requests asked of you by security to ensure a safe and speedy inspection before your trip.