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Reporting a Medication Error

Forgetting Your Medicines Can Spoil a Vacation

Published January 11, 2023

Many people visit family and friends or take a much needed vacation when needed. If you are traveling far from home and plan to spend a few days with relatives or friends on vacation, it is important to plan ahead. Make a list of all the items you need while you are away. And don’t forget to include your medicines, especially your prescription medicines.

It is important to store your medicine safely and securely, avoid extreme temperatures, and bring enough medicine for a few extra days in case your return gets delayed. But what should you do if you forget to bring your medicines with you? Your health could be at risk if you miss or skip doses of your medicine.

Here’s what you can do: To avoid problems with your medicines while traveling, plan ahead and consider the following recommendations:

  • Before leaving, update your medicine list with your healthcare provider, and include the name, address, and phone number of your local pharmacy.
  • Take your list of medicines with you and keep it in a safe place that is separate from the medicines. Your list should include prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, vitamins, herbals, and supplements that you normally take. There are apps that you can download on your phone for free to manage your list of medicines. Make note of any allergies and reactions you have to medicines. Keep your doctor’s name and phone number as well as your pharmacy’s number on hand (add them to your contact numbers in your phone).
  • If traveling by air, keep your medicines in your carry-on rather than checked-in baggage.
  • Keep your medicines in their original containers, in a water-resistant bag away from extreme temperatures.
  • Store your medicines up and away and out of reach and sight from children. Do not store in diaper bags, children’s backpacks, or other bags/suitcases that children will have access to or use.
  • If you forgot to bring your medicines, most prescriptions can be transferred between pharmacies. Take your medicine list and your pharmacy information to a pharmacy near where you are staying, so the pharmacist can contact your pharmacy to transfer your prescription to replace the medicines you forgot or lost.
  • If you are traveling outside of the United States, you will likely need new prescriptions to replace lost or forgotten medicines. Take your medicine list to a local doctor to make this easier.

Remember that some medicines have different names in different countries. More confusing still, occasionally a foreign country uses the same name as a US brand or generic medicine for a completely different medicine. If you are unsure about anything related to your medicines, ask a healthcare provider for advice.

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