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Are you travelling abroad with medication?

So you've got the holiday booked, the time off work organised, the swimwear packed, the camera batteries charged, the pets sorted out, the medication...hold on...

If you're travelling abroad with a medical condition and need to take medication with you then we at Holiday Extras have set up this page as a helpful guide to answer any questions or concerns you may have before you travel - so that you can enjoy less hassle, more holiday!

Don't get caught out - plan ahead!

When it comes to making holiday preparations, making sure you are okay to travel with your medication needs to be somewhere near the top of your list. If you are prescribed medicine for a condition you have, talk to your doctor or practice nurse about your travel plans. Do this at least a month or so before your departure date and they may be able to help you if you need to make any special arrangements.

You will need to check the rules of the countries you are travelling to, including countries that you may just be passing through because different countries will have different regulations to be followed.

Check the rules and regulations:

  • Check the types of medicine they allow into their country
  • Check the maximum quantity you are permitted to take with you
  • Certain prescription drugs in the UK could be controlled elsewhere
  • Countries such as India, Turkey and Pakistan have a list of medicines not permitted into their country
  • Contact the embassy of the country you are visiting and check

Medication

Can you carry medication in your hand luggage?

Don't worry if you need to carry medication in your hand luggage. Be you a globetrotter, voyager or just a daytripper, flying with medication is okay if this is essential medication and this includes inhalers and dietary foodstuffs. Airport, port or customs officials may open containers to screen the liquids at a security point (this is just protocol and ensures the safety of yourself and other travellers).

Make sure that with your medical bag, or bag for your medicine, in your hand luggage you have brought any necessary supporting documentation for the prescription. This could be a letter from your local GP or a copy of your prescription letter. This same applies if you are going to carry tablets in your hand luggage.

There are instances where medicine, needed on the plane, is exempt from the maximum 100ml liquid restriction but this would require a letter from your medical practitioner and make sure you seek prior approval with the airport and airline before flying with medication.

If you need to you are also able to carry certain essential medical equipment in your hand luggage.

This includes:

  • Liquid medicines (that are essential)
  • Tablets and capsules
  • Hypodermic syringes
  • Inhalers
  • Cooling gel packs
  • CPAP and Tens machines

All of the above are also allowed in your hold luggage. If you need to carry an oxygen cylinder make sure you contact the airline and ask about this directly.

What are controlled medicines and can you travel abroad with them?

Controlled medicines are defined as prescribed medicines that contain drugs controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Legislation in the UK. If you are travelling abroad with this type of medication you may need a personal license and to follow specific requirements that apply, for instance, how you carry the controlled drugs and the information that you need to carry with you.

The reason there are stricter controls is because extra legal controls have been applied to these medicines for safekeeping and supply (import and export). Examples of these controlled medicines are strong painkillers like diamorphine, medicines that contain hormones, such as anabolic steroids and anti-anxiety medicines known as benzodiazepines. Remember to check with your GP and the YouGov websites to ensure you're compliant with all the up-to-date regulations.

As with other medication that you take abroad you need doctors notification to carry controlled medicines and if you need a personal license this can be issued by the Home Office. You can check a list of specific controlled drugs here.

Have you got your travel insurance booked yet - with pre-existing medical condition's declared?

So you have now had a read through of helpful tips when it comes to travelling abroad with medication but have you booked your travel insurance yet? If you have a pre-existing medical condition and need to book comprehensive holiday insurance at a great price, then book today with Holiday Extras by getting a quote. You will be taken through a discreet screening process which enables our team to tailor a policy that's specific to you - ensuring you have the right amount of cover for your trip. Please check out this travel insurance page for customers with pre-existing medical conditions for further details.

A few handy tips and reminders if you're travelling with medication:

  • Be sure to take the correct amount of medication needed for your trip
  • Bear in mind suitcases could be delayed or lost in transit so split medications between bags (including hand luggage) where possible
  • Try and keep the medicine and equipment in original packaging with clear labels
  • If you need to keep medication at a specific temperature consider using a thermos flask, or cool pack
  • Remember a letter from your GP for prescription medicines if this is an essential requirement
  • If you are taking medication abroad check restrictions for taking medicine out of the UK
  • Check the restrictions of the country you're travelling too
  • Check the type or amount of medication you can travel with.