How to Travel on Airlines With Prescription Drugs and Vitamins
While vitamins and prescriptions might be high on your travel-packing checklist, getting them ready for airport security screenings should also be a priority. Prescription medications and other things you rely on daily belong in carry-on bags, in case checked bags don’t show up at the destination when you do. Vitamins and pills aren’t usually a concern at security checkpoints, but liquid vitamins and over-the-counter liquid meds require special packaging.
Vitamins and Prescription Pills
The Transportation Security Administration allows solid or gummy vitamins and prescription pills through security checkpoints without question, as long as the amount seems reasonable. Pack what you’ll need for the trip, plus a little extra in case of extended stays or flight cancellations. While agents probably won’t question huge bottles of vitamins, bringing mass quantities of prescriptions through the checkpoint may result in additional questioning and screening. Keeping prescription pills in their original containers is recommended, although not necessary, so the TSA knows what’s inside the packages.
While the Transportation Security Administration limits most liquids to containers that hold 3.4 ounces or less, the same ruling doesn’t apply to prescription medications. Prescription creams, gels, lotions and liquids are allowed in carry-on bags in larger amounts, as long as quantity seems “reasonable” for the excursion. In other words, take along enough medication to last the duration of the trip, or one container of each prescription.
Liquid over-the-counter vitamins such as liquid B12 energy boosters aren’t considered medically necessary by the TSA, so they’re limited to bottles holding 3.4 ounces or less. All liquid containers, other than those filled with prescription medication, must fit into one 1-quart-sized clear plastic bag. Take this plastic bag out of your carry-on luggage and place it in a bin separately at the security checkpoint. This helps speed up the screening process.
Prescription liquid containers don’t have to be placed in plastic bags, but it’s good idea to do so anyway, in case one leaks. Inform the TSA screening agent about prescription liquids, as these are subject to extra screenings.
While you may have no problem traveling to Canada with prescription pain medications, in some countries, this could be a major issue. Japan and some Middle Eastern countries allow foreign travelers to bring minimal amount of narcotics and even some over-the-counter drugs into the country. Each country has its own regulations. If traveling internationally, call the country’s embassy in the United States before your trip to find out if your specific drug is prohibited abroad. If you do travel with prescriptions, keep them in their original bottles and make sure the name on the bottle matches the name in your passport. If possible, take a picture of or otherwise carry proof of the original prescription, or ask for a note from your doctor explaining why the medicine is necessary.