Pack enough medication when traveling

March 11, 2010

By Judy McEuen
Travel Writer
Troy Media

Judy McEuen
Judy McEuen

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, Mar. 11, 2010/ Troy Media/ — Pack light . . . carry-on only . . . that’s our mantra, right? OK, but pack enough medication. But what’s enough?

Even if you are on vacation, which usually puts you into a sort of carefree, fantasy type of frame of mind for the one or two or three weeks, don’t suspend medical reality. You may need your medications.

Because you can carry medications onto planes without worrying about putting them into that one-quart or one-liter zip-top plastic bag, you don’t need to worry about fitting them in there.

Hand-carry medically-necessary meds

Generally pills and even liquid or cream medications don’t take up all that much room but remember that medically-necessary medications should ALWAYS be hand carried, never sent in your checked luggage.

In the US, the Transportation Security Administration says you may carry “reasonable quantities” of medications as long as you declare them at the security screening.

So bringing your medication along should not be a problem, but that still begs the question: What is enough?

You should be comfortable if you take enough medication for seven days longer than you intend to stay on your trip. Always be prepared to be delayed for a few days getting home especially if you travel standby. The point is, however, even if you have firm dates for getting home from your vacation, you should be prepared for the unexpected.

You can wear the same clothes over and over again and you will always find places to eat if you get stuck somewhere, but you can’t always replace medications if you’re in an area that experiences flood or tsunami or hurricane or earthquake.

And while our pack light mantra states that if you forget it, you can probably get it there and is true if you get sranded in a major city, what if you get stranded out in the wilderness?

Think that won’t happen to you? Then you have never been on a wilderness vacations.

Recently, tourists were stranded in Machu Picchu when the Urubamba River (also known as the Rio Vilcanota) washed out the train tracks. Those trains are the only way in and out of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, so nearly two thousand tourists had to wait to be taken out by helicopter.

Medication doesn’t take up much room

While Aguas Calientes, the small town at the base of the Machu Picchu ruins, has tourist hotels and restaurants, you might have trouble getting extra medication there. The stranded tourists would have had one less thing to worry about if they had packed enough medication for a few extra days. A week worth of pills really doesn’t take up too much room.

The chances that you will actually get stranded somewhere are probably slim, but why take a chance with your health when there is such a simple precaution? Pack enough medication so that, if you get stuck somewhere, you can think of it as an adventure!

Channels: The Calgary Beacon, March 11, 2010

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