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Taking Medication on Holiday

Advice for Travellers with Pre-existing Medical Conditions

If you have pre-existing medical condition, such as asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure or heart problems, it is very likely that you will have to take prescription medication with you when you go on holiday abroad.

Having a pre-existing medical condition and having to carry prescription medication with you shouldn’t stop you from enjoying a holiday abroad, but it does mean that you might have to take some extra steps to ensure your medication is kept safe and that you are allowed carry it with you.

You might be concerned that enhanced airport security measures concerning the quantities of liquids which you can carry aboard an aircraft will prevent you from taking your medication on flights. This needn't be a worry - if your medication is accompanied by the relevant documentation from your doctor then you are entitled to take it with you on board your flight.

Our Tips for Taking Prescription Medication on Holiday

• Take enough of your prescription medication to last your
whole trip and carry some spares in case of emergencies or you need to extend your stay.
• Always carry your medication in your hand luggage or on your person. Never put in your checked-in baggage in case your bag is lost or delayed by the airline.
• Be prepared to be questioned at airport security about the medication you are carrying
• Get a letter from your doctor outlining your entitlement to the prescription medication – Carry it with your medication at all times, you may need to show this at airport security.
• Always keep your medication in its proper packaging and keep a separate note of the name in case yours is lost or stolen and you need to purchase more while you are away
• Your prescription medication might be illegal in some countries. Visit the travel section of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website for details or contact the embassy in the country you are planning to visit to find out before you travel.
• There is a limit to the quantity of controlled drugs that you can carry with you abroad. If you need to take more than the authorised amount, you will need to contact the Home Office to apply for a licence. To find out if your medication is a controlled drug, visit
• Consider how hot or cold climates might affect your medication
• If you have diabetes, take a cool bag to store your insulin in if you are visiting a hot country
• Find out what your medicine is called in the country you are visiting so that you know what to ask for if you need to buy more. It might have a different name overseas
• Ask at your local pharmacy for brochures about taking medication abroad
• Buy travel insurance which covers the loss of prescription medication, so that you can make a claim to recoup the cost if you do have to buy replacement medication if yours is lost or stolen.

Your medication is an important part of your daily life at home, and it's equally important when you go on holiday, so it’s important to do some research and be prepared so that your holiday goes smoothly.

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