Tips for traveling with medications

A woman packs her suitcase for travel.

Any travel involves some level of planning and preparation — from what to pack and where to stay to all the logistics in between.

But if you’re one of the more than 55% of Americans who take prescription medications regularly,1 that preparation should also include making sure you have the medications you need and knowing how to travel safely with them.

Before you hit the road or board a plane, here are five questions to discuss with your pharmacist.

1. How can I safely store my medications?

Be sure to store your medications similarly to how you do at home. If your medications require refrigeration, such as insulin, there are a number of travel storage devices available that can help keep them safe. It’s also important to keep your medications safe from extreme temperatures for extended periods of time, and keep liquid medications stored in an upright position whenever possible.

2. What’s the best place to pack my medications?

Luggage can get lost and emergencies happen, so prescription medications should be kept in carry-on bags while in transit. Remember to keep any urgent medications, such as rescue inhalers or nitroglycerin tablets, with you at all times in case you need them.

If your carry-on is taken at the airport gate due to overhead storage issues or weight/size restrictions, be strategic. Work with the flight attendants and prioritize keeping medications with you that are vital to your health.

3. How much of my medication should I pack?

It’s a good idea to pack a full supply of your medication, plus extra in case you experience travel delays. Keep all medication together and in the original containers to prevent anyone from mistaking them for other substances.

4. What if I need to refill a prescription while on vacation?

Today’s pharmacist is just a click or phone call away, 24/7, and can help fill prescriptions at the nearest pharmacy or have it delivered to a hotel and/or vacation site. You may also want to be proactive and keep a copy of your prescriptions with you for emergency refills.

5. What if I forget to take a dose of my medication?

Even if you’re completely organized with your medication regimen, traveling can throw off your normal schedule and routine. Set reminders on your phone so you stay on track. The Express Scripts® mobile app can help with that, too.

If you miss a dose and are unsure about what to do or are experiencing any side effects, call your doctor or pharmacist immediately.


Remember, pharmacists are available 24/7 through Express Scripts® Pharmacy if you have any questions about your medications before or during your travels.

With a little bit of planning, you can feel your best and focus on enjoying your trip. Safe travels!

Susan smiles in her white lab coat.

By Susan Peppers, RPh
VP, Pharmacy Practice
Express Scripts® Pharmacy

1 Consumer Reports: Consumer Reports Examines: Do Americans Take Too Many Prescription Medications? (August 3, 2017):

Posted date: October 01, 2021

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