Traveling with Medications

People with illnesses or conditions that require medication, such as heart disease, diabetes, or mental illnesses may face unique challenges when traveling abroad. Involving your doctor, loved ones and available University and official resources in planning and preparing for your trip will be essential to having a successful experience.

General advice

  • Make sure your prescription or over the counter medication is not considered an illegal narcotic. Check with the foreign country’s embassy here in the U.S. to make sure your medications are not considered illegal narcotics, how you need to transport them, and whether you’ll be able to carry the amount you need for your trip. Be aware that narcotics and medicines to treat mental health issues (such as anxiety, depression and ADHD) may draw more scrutiny.
  • Carry your medications in the original containers, which should have the prescription from your doctor, the brand and generic name of the product, the dosage form and strength, and how often it is used printed on the bottle or package. If medications or devices are not in their original containers, you should have a copy of your prescription or letter from your doctor. In the event that you require medical attention, treatment could be delayed or made more difficult without sufficient information about your medication.
  • Travel with no more than personal use quantities for the duration of your trip (generally no more than a 90 day supply).
  • If appropriate, wear a medical alert bracelet or other medical jewelry.
  • Talk to your doctor 3 months to 6 weeks in advance about your travel and request advice on things such as:
    • How to handle emergencies related to your current health.
    • When is it okay to change dosage or medication, to avoid unwanted effects away from home.
    • How to adjust intake of your medication to account for time zone changes.
    • Drug-food interactions to be aware of, as your diet may change.
    • Common vaccinations required or recommended for your destination, to ensure they can be taken safely with your current medication.
    • What medications to take for common traveler illnesses such as traveler’s diarrhea.
  • Pack a travel health kit that includes anything you need to manage your health, as well as other items necessary to ensure a safe and healthy trip!

You may also find useful the following University resources:


The risk information in this post is retrieved from official sources such as the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, International SOS and other sources as listed in the post. It provides general guidance for UT Dallas travelers. Please note the published date of this post,  and go to the direct sources listed in the post for the most up-to-date information.  The information in this post may change without prior notice.

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