October 1 2012 by Sam Lowe
Several years ago, maybe even longer ago than that, I never had to worry about how to pack pills, potions, capsules, cure-alls and other forms of medicine while preparing for a trip. But now that I have inadvertently become an elder(ly), I am forced to readjust my pre-trip packing routines as they apply to health matters.
One of my first decisions was to purchase a plastic pill box with several (but never enough) compartments marked with the days of the week on the lids. For normal pill-popping, this would have sufficed, but when I reached that point (as so many of us do) where I began counting meds in double figures, the little squares were no longer large enough to hold a full vacation supply.
Naturally, rather than go buy another box, I tried to jam all my pills into the too-small space. I always stored the box in my camera bag, which is never out of my sight during any trip but had to rethink those procedures after a near-disastrous episode. After successfully passing through the airport security, all the lids flipped open and all the pills made their way to the far corners of the bag where they hid amongst the M&Ms I sometimes carry in case the airline doesn't offer any form of sustenance. To prevent that from reoccurring, I now wrap a piece of paper around the box and affix it with a rubber band.
On a more serious note, perhaps the most important med-packing tip to remember is this: Never put your prescribed medications in your checked luggage. If your suitcase doesn't show up in some far-away land, you can always buy new clothing. But trying to find a pharmacist (or chemist, as they are frequently called) in an unfamiliar city or country can lead to problems. Taking your written prescription with you is a good idea if you're traveling to a place where they speak your language. But you're in for a big headache if you speak only English and the pharmacist speaks only Farsi.
Also, if possible, keep you prescription drugs in the original containers. This will be a major help should you need a refill or require a doctor's attention. It also helps speed up your time in the security check lines.
Equally important, go on line and determine what - and how much - you can and can't bring on board in your carry-on luggage as opposed to what has to go into the checked suitcases. It'll save you a lot of anguish if you're confronted by a curious TSA scrutinizer.