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Traveling with Prescription Medicines

January 7, 2020

By: Jody Moss


Man at security checkpoint in the airport.

When you’re on vacation, the last thing you want to deal with is an emergency when you realize you forgot to pack your medication and have to get a prescription from an unknown pharmacy. You want to relax and enjoy your time away. That’s why it pays to do a little research and planning before heading to the airport, especially if traveling out of the country.

Here are some tips for traveling with medications:

  1. Make sure you have enough medication for the entire trip, plus a little extra in case an issue arises that delays your trip home.
  2. Keep your medication in the original packing to reduce the chance of any delays or issues, or to help a medical provider at your destination know what drugs you’re taking in case you have an accident during your trip.
  3. Pack your medications in your carry-on baggage in case your checked luggage gets lost or you find yourself stuck on the plane for some reason.
  4. Make sure the medications you are taking with you are allowed at your destination. Not all drugs are allowed in every country.
  5. Speaking of prescriptions, if you wear prescription glasses, take an extra pair in case you damage or lose your original pair.

For more information on traveling with prescription medications, watch this informative video from the U.S. Federal and Drug Administration.
YouTube Video: Traveling with Prescription Medications


7 Safety Tips for Senior Travelers

INDEPENDENT TRAVELER Road Sign that says "Thank you. Have a safe journey."

You don’t have to stop traveling just because you’re getting older. If anything, it’s when you are older that travel means more; a lifetime of knowledge allows you to fully appreciate the new experiences you’re having. And, if not for travel, what did you work so hard for all those years? But being older does often mean that you can’t travel the way you used to. We’re not talking about upgrading from a hostel to a proper hotel. What we’re referring to are physical limitations you might need to work around, as well as the fact that as an older individual you’ve suddenly become numero uno on a thief’s hit list. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your belongings. reached out to two experts on boomer and senior travel for advice on what older travelers can do to stay safe away from home.

Liz Dahl is the co-founder of Boomer Travel Patrol, a boomer-centric website featuring expert advice from a variety of writers. Steve Hanson is senior editor of Senior Travel Expert, which provides tips for seniors who like to travel independently.

Here is their advice, along with a few of our favorite tips from the AARP.

  1. Get Insurance While travel insurance is important for people of any age, it truly is essential for older travelers who are more at risk of falling and hurting themselves, getting sick, or needing extra medication if their travel is interrupted or delayed. “Nothing is worse than to be in a foreign land and find yourself in a situation where you have fallen or run out of medication and not knowing what to do or if you’ll be covered,” Dahl said. She added that insurance usually costs an extra $100 – $200, not a lot to guarantee that you’ll be covered if something goes wrong.
  2. Don’t Advertise Your Absence Though travelers assume hotels are safe places, the truth is that people with bad intentions can come and go quite easily in most hotels. But a few tactics can help older travelers, who are often seen as better targets, protect their belongings. One tip Dahl offers is this: Don’t put the “clean my room” sign on your hotel door. “Those signs are an open invitation to let people know that the room is empty,” she said. Thieves know that travelers usually leave their passports, extra money and jewelry in their rooms, and they know how to jimmy open locks. You don’t want to advertise that you’re not there. Instead, call the front desk on the way out and let them know you’ll be leaving and that they can send someone up to clean the room. A few other hotel tips recommended by AARP include engaging the security chain on your door whenever you’re in the room, asking for a room near the elevator (more foot traffic will deter thieves) and staying away from groundfloor rooms where window entry is possible.
  3. Watch What You Eat Like it or not, older folks tend to have more sensitive tummies and are frequently on restricted diets. It’s understandable to want to forget those facts while away from home, but doing so could have undesirable side effects. Forget the days you could eat a plateful of heavy bratwurst in Germany or spicy vindaloo in India. Unless you want to spend more time in your hotel room than out and about, you’ll probably want to keep the heavy, spicy or cheesy items to a minimum. Also, Dahl points out that some medications don’t interact well with certain foods. For instance, you don’t want to eat bananas if you’re on an ACE inhibitor. If you are taking any medication, call your doctor before you leave for a trip to find out if certain foods popular in your destination are off limits.
  4. Mind Your Meds Speaking of medicine, Hanson says senior travelers need to take as much care with their medications as they do their money and passports. Don’t pack them in checked luggage, and don’t leave them lying in the open in your hotel room. And always make sure you’ve got enough medicine to last you an extra day or two, just in case your flight home is delayed. Hanson also advises keeping a paper with the names of any essential medicines you take and their dosages so you can try to replace them if needed. If you take a brand-name medication, write down the generic name too. Even better: Try to find out the name of the medication in the language of the destination you’re traveling to.
  5. Keep the Bling to a Minimum One of the perks about getting older is that you can afford things you may not have been able to when you were younger. But carrying items like nice jewelry, gold watches and fancy cameras makes you a target for thieves, especially as many ne’er-do-wells believe — rightly or wrongly — that older travelers are less aware of their surroundings, more unsteady on their feet and basically all around easier targets. This applies to carrying cash as well. Hanson told, “Seniors are more likely to carry cash around … and more likely to have expensive jewelry and watches than younger travelers.” Unless you’re going to Richard Branson’s Necker Island, you might want to consider leaving the bling at home. And remember, a small compact camera or even a smartphone will take pretty good photos nowadays.
  6. Keep Others in the Loop If you’re going to be traveling solo, AARP recommends that you keep others apprised of your daily itinerary, including your innkeeper or hotel concierge. Tell them where you’re going and when you expect to be back; then stick to your schedule. Keep a cell phone on you at all times.
  7. Stay Safe on Your Feet Beyond wearing comfortable shoes in order to get through full days of walking and touring, wearing flats will also help older travelers to stay steady on their feet. Heels, even small ones, can make you more prone to spraining an ankle or falling, Dahl said, especially if you have any balance issues. Flats will help you stay comfortable and balanced. “They don’t have to be ugly, just flat,” Dahl added.


9 Road Trip Tips For a Safe and Comfortable DriveWoman in the driver's seat of a car.

When you’re planning a road trip, make sure you account for these road trips tips so you can get to your destination safely and comfortably. You need to plan in advance for your road trip and we’re not just talking about packing. “Highway hypnosis” is quite common when travelers haven’t prepared for the endurance demands of an extended haul. In fact, more than 60 percent of drivers say they’ve gotten behind the wheel while drowsy, according to a survey by mattress retailer Sleepy’s. With that statistic in mind, you should take steps to prepare for long drives before you get behind the wheel—and to stay alert and energized throughout your trip. These tips for long drives will help you down the road.

  1. Get plenty of sleep before your drive Think about exhaustion before you begin your journey, not after. Get at least seven hours of sleep for two consecutive nights before the road trip to build up your energy reserves. It’s best to start in the morning after a good night’s sleep, not after a long, tiring day of work (unless you plan to stop). Take regular breaks along the way to stay fresh and alert, stopping roughly every 100 miles or two hours. “Also, try to avoid driving between 1 and 3 p.m., when the body’s temperature is lower and people are naturally drowsy,” says The Sleep Doctor, Dr. Michael Breus.
  2. Bring healthy road trip snacks Carrying along a variety of vitamin-packed, healthy foods will allow you to get by on smaller snacks throughout the long drive, while skipping the fastfood stops. “To stay alert, carrots and almonds are my favorite,” says blogger and travel expert Gretchen Breuner author of The RoadScholarz: Lessons from the Scenic Route.
  3. Stay hydrated Keep the water supply well-stocked for maximum energy. “A possible downside of this, of course, is that you’ll need to make more bathroom stops,” says Breuner, who traveled to 19 states with her family in an RV in three months.
  4. Plan your rest stops One of the most crucial tips for road trips is to get out of your car and stretch your legs every two hours or so, our experts suggest. Plan these stops into your long drive, whether they fall at mealtimes or can be timed to let you view interesting places.
  5. Chew gum The repetitive process increases circulation and alertness. “You don’t need the sugary kind to get the desired effect,” says Breus, who is a fellow of The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and author of Good Night: The Sleep Doctor’s 4-Week Program to Better Sleep and Better Health.
  6. Use energizing scents During long distance driving, Breus also recommends keeping a source of peppermint scent nearby. When you feel you need a boost, take a sniff. “It’s a pleasant, all-natural pick-me-up that has been shown to reduce fatigue and increase alertness,” he says.
  7. Sit up straight Make sure your seat is adjusted properly for your body, tilted for maximum blood flow. If you feel a driving “trance” coming on, sit up. “Take a deep breath and scan your body for tension,” says yoga teacher and wellness specialist Elaine Masters, author of Drivetime Yoga: Yoga Benefits in the Convenience of Your Car. “If your right hip is feeling sore, for example, lean to the other side.”
  8. Keep passengers entertained Long drives—especially with kids—can often lead to bickering. That kind of aggravation leads to driver fatigue. So make sure children are entertained with books, puzzles and other time-killing diversions. On the flip side, road trip games such as “find the license plate” are great for keeping everyone engaged with one another.
  9. Listen to audio books Audio books help keep the brain active, without creating a dangerous distraction. Breus recommends listening to humorous books or even comedy CDs. “Laughing,” he says, “will keep you awake.” These tips for long drives can help keep you and your car protected on the road.
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