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Monday, January 1, 2018

Traveling with Medications Overseas

Did you know that over 2500 Americans are arrested every year overseas?  Usually these arrests are for drug-related charges. 


You probably don't want to be one of those arrests because of the medications you are bringing for personal use.



It is good to be prepared so let's review what you should do with your prescriptions when traveling overseas.

Whenever traveling overseas, we always recommend checking the US Department of State information first.


  1. US Department of State Traveler's Checklist
  2. US Department of State Smart Traveler app


There is a great deal of information available about how to prepare for you trip.  Here is the recommendation of our Department of State about your medications:

"Prescriptions – Get a letter from your doctor for medications you are bringing. Some countries have strict laws, even against over-the-counter medications, so check with the embassy of your destination before traveling."

Ok, this is possible and the best place to ask is your family physician but expect that he or she may charge you for a letter.

What else can you do?


1. Make a photo copy of your prescriptions
2. Ask the pharmacy for a printout of your prescriptions
3. Take the original bottles with only enough medication for you trip (Don't take a 3 month supply of any medication for example, if you are not staying that long.  This can be misconceived as selling medications by a foreign entity.  See Jailed in Egypt)
4. Ask your physician for a printout of your prescription medications on his/her letterhead

If you plan to stay for longer than one month and you are prescribed unusual injectable or controlled medications (insulin is not unusual), take a letter from your doctor explaining why you are prescribed this medication.

Always carry a medical summary:


Personal contacts to be notified in an emergency
Contact information of primary care providers
Current medical conditions
Current medications, dosages and schedule
Basic medical history
Travel itinerary — this is important for when you are traveling to multiple areas and may have contracted something from the previous location.
Insurance information, including traveler’s insurance. Be sure to keep this document in your wallet or on your person at all times. Ensure that the Medical ID app on your phone is updated and complete

RxTip: Check your overseas medical insurance coverage. If your US healthcare plan does not cover you overseas, consider purchasing supplemental insurance to cover medical costs or emergency evacuation. LuxuryTravelDocs post about Travel Insurance

For over the counter medications. Dose packs such as these are great for travel and camping. The foil packs are nice to protect them.



And of course...DO NOT EVER BRING MARIJUANA OVERSEAS!  In general it is illegal in other countries and this is the leading reason US Citizens are arrested overseas.



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