Many seniors have to take medication regularly to maintain their lifestyles. However, this can cause some problems when traveling.

Here are some helpful hints:

1) When traveling by plane, always carry your medication on board with you.

Luggage gets lost. Don’t let your vacation be wrecked by a lost suitcase with your medication in it. Carry your medication with you. For men, you may be able to put them in a shirt or suit pocket. For ladies, you can put them in a purse. If you carry a lot, there are small fashionable handbags/pouches for women and men.

2) Never leave your medication in your car, especially your trunk or glove compartment.

Medication is often heat sensitive and can overheat and degrade. Try and carry it with you or leave it in your room in a safe place. This may not always be possible. If you are in a car try to park on a side street for a short period of time, and then make sure your medication is hidden under a seat, out of direct sunlight.

The same is true if it is extremely cold outside, though in cold weather, sunlight in the car may lessen the impact of the cold.

3) Be aware of international travel considerations

Traveling outside the United States can open one up to diseases no longer common in the USA, such as malaria or typhoid. One should talk to their doctor; and check U.S. government websites such as Travel Advisories from the U.S. State Department.

Persons who are planning to travel to other countries often ask their health care providers for information about preventive interventions. Nonspecialists can provide information and care to healthy adults traveling to common destinations by following protocols … New England Journal of Medicine

Be aware of the medical conditions related to the country where you are traveling. If you have any questions always talk with your doctor to avoid any problems.

4) The legality of medication when crossing borders

There are medicines which are acceptable outside the USA which can get you in trouble when crossing the border back into the United States. It is best not to try and sneak them in. Check online with the U.S, State Department to find out what is legal and how to do it.

And it works both ways, so be careful when bringing medication into another country. It is best to declare them with official documentation.

Keep copies of your original prescriptions, if you can. Better yet, obtain a letter on official letterhead from your physician that lists the medicines you need and why they were prescribed. Ideally, you would get this translated to the language of your destination country, so it’s easy to read.

For some medication and specialized equipment used to administer them, some countries require documents to be submitted to government officials well in advance of your arrival. Ms. Harmon, for example, was questioned at the Singapore airport once for entering with an EpiPen, but she had prior authorization allowing its transport. – NY Times

And do not think that it is only exotic medication. Sometimes even over-the-counter medications can cause problems.

Travelers often pack medications when they go abroad, but some popular prescription and over-the-counter ones Americans use for things like pain relief, better sleep, allergies and even the common cold are illegal in some countries. – NY Times


New England Journal of Medicine
Medical Considerations before International Travel

NY Times
How to Make Sure You Travel with Medication Legally

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (Click Medication option for a list of instructions)
Prohibited and Restricted Items

Travel Advisores: U.S. State Department