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How should I plan to take my Migraine medicines with me on vacation?

Part of experiencing a successful and fun-filled holiday trip includes bringing your prescription Migraine medications with you. Unless you do a lot of traveling, this sounds much easier than it is in reality, especially if you’re going by air. The best thing for Migraineurs to do before their trip is to plan it well. Here is Part 1 of Basic Tips for Making Holiday Travel by Air Easy!

  • Create a list of your medicines — prescription and over the counter. Be sure to include any supplements or herbal preparations you are using too. Make the list using the brand name as well as generic names. Include dosages and the time you take your medicines, along with any other special instructions and the name of the doctor who prescribed them. It’s helpful to include the reason why you are taking the medicine as well, in case of an emergency. Don’t forget your eyeglass prescription as well, just in case.
  • Make sure your medicines are in their original labeled bottles, and that the name on the prescription is the same as your ticket or passport. The TSA (Transportation Safety Administration) also recommends a letter from your doctor or other supporting documentation stating the reason you need your medication.
  • Bring enough medicine for your trip and an additional few days as a buffer. If you are delayed or a dose is lost or damaged, you won’t be worrying about what you should do about your prescriptions. It is recommended that any extra doses beyond this minimum are left at home.
  • Pack your medicines carefully in your carry-on luggage, taking care to cushion them with something soft like clothing. Be sure bottles are tightly closed before packing. If you need to keep your medicine cool, frozen gel packs are allowed for this purpose. Be sure liquids are kept to 3 ounce minimums and that everything can fit into a quart sized zip closure bag. It is possible to use multiple quart sized bags, but the items contained within them must be small enough to allow the bag to close. If you plan far enough in advance, you can ask the pharmacist for multiple smaller bottles containing your medicine to prevent any problems. If your medicine is over 3 ounces or won’t fit into the quart sized bag, you are supposed to declare them to the TSA agent at the check point.

Continue on to Part 2 for more travel tips!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Marcie Byers-Gunkel
    8 years ago

    What about inject-able meds…this is the first time I will be traveling with syringes.

  • Martha McKnight Robinson
    8 years ago

    hope you don’t need the medication, but if you need it hope it works so you can enjoy your trip.

  • Teri Robert
    8 years ago

    I made a copy of the prescription label/receipt from the pharmacy and keep it with my injectable meds and syringes. I’ve never had any questions about them.

  • Kelly Smith Wahle
    8 years ago

    Great post Ellen!

    I keep a detailed list with me of medications/conditions/allergies/doctors in addition to my Medic Alert bracelet.

    I have never had problem with the TSA-going through security and I bring a ton of medications with me through security. I usually have one carry-on dedicated to medications. I keep my medications in a plastic shoe box (with lid) in addition to another gallon zip-top bag in my carry-on and never had issues. I did this as recently as September10th (when there was heightened security). I’ve never heard that if they don’t fit into a quart-size bag, you must declare them. Good to know, but I’m not sure I will next time as it is hard enough to get me and my wheelchair and my husband and our bags through security.

    The only meds I put in my checked bag are my IM meds, though the TSA does make allowances for this if you go through the proper channels ahead of time.

  • Renee Wilson
    8 years ago

    I was traveling the same weekend as you and had no problems with carry on meds either. And I even traveled through DC…and we had to evacuate the terminal!

    8 years ago

    Are you traveling over spring break? Ellen provides helpful tips for traveling with your migraine medications.

  • Teri Robert
    8 years ago

    Allison, you lost your job? I’m so sorry. Can we help you with information or support? Are you seeing a Migraine specialist?

  • Allison Dodgen Culler
    8 years ago

    i guess migraines will the loss of my job….really, just incredible.

  • Ellen Schnakenberg author
    9 years ago


    Thanks for the comment! What a great example you gave for this post too… I tend to agree with you myself 🙂 We’ve had our share of nightmare situations too, including becoming stranded when our airline went bankrupt – Oy! A week over doesn’t seem extreme to me.

    Depending on your particular travel situation, it is advised by travel experts not to bring too many doses of meds in case something happens to them, as you will be out and have to replace them. They usually say a few days – I think 7 fits nicely and is not out of line at all. In consideration that many people get a 3 month supply when they refill their prescriptions (or even more sometimes), I would certainly leave the bulk of those doses at home. Replacing that would not only be expensive, but potentially difficult as well.

  • jay
    9 years ago

    “Bring enough medicine for your trip and an additional few days as a buffer. If you are delayed or a dose is lost or damaged, you won’t be worrying about what you should do about your prescriptions. ”

    Yes! I personally (If possible) bring at least a week’s extra. Especially in the winter, when there could be problems traveling at BOTH ends of the vacation… and ESPECIALLY if there’s a layoff in my itinerary.

    One one Christmas Vacation in particular, it was nightmarish… We took off from here late, and by the time we were supposed to land at the layover airport, it was snowed in. However, we were too far from “home” to return. Got stuck at another airport. (Day 1)

    Next day, de-iced the plane, ready to go- flew into… Groundfreeze at Destination airport. Re-routed to Philly. (Day 2) Luckily, I was traveling to NYC, so i just hopped a train.

    Returning home was no better. However, I wasn’t worrying about meds, as I had a full week’s worth of everything.

    Yes, it may be technically advisable to only have a few days extra… but… Experience has taught me that as long as i’m bringing the bottle anyway, the few more tablets aren’t gonna weigh me down…


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