The Hassle of Traveling with Medication

With all the new travel guidelines and TSA rules, it is hard to know what is acceptable to travel on an airplane with and what is not.  If you have a long term medical condition and need to take multiple medications, it can become even trickier trying to determine what you are allowed to carry on the airplane and what needs to be checked.  It is always best to keep your medications with you in case something happens to your baggage and you don’t receive it when you arrive at your destination.  The good news is that medications in pill or other solid forms are allowed in unlimited quantities.  The TSA does not require them to be in prescription bottles, however many states require that they be labeled.    Additionally, they have to be screened.  The first screen is done by x-ray.  If you do not wish your medication to be screened by x-ray, then you can request that it be inspected.  If you request that it be inspected, you will be responsible for showing all of your medications to the inspectors and also repacking the medications.  It is best to have all your medications in your carry on bag in one small bag together.  That way you will not hold up the other passengers who are waiting in the long security line.  If you allow your medication to be screened through the x-ray machine, a TSA inspector can also request a closer inspection.


The TSA has a 3-1-1 rule for liquids, which allows you to carry on one bag that contains a total of 3.4 oz in liquid, gel and aerosol form.  You are however allowed medically necessary liquids in quantities greater then 3.4 oz.  There are special rules for this as well.  You must declare your medically necessary liquids at the security checkpoint.  Your liquids need to be labeled.  Medical liquids will require extra screening, and you might even be asked to open your medications.  If you are asked to open your medications, the TSA inspector will not touch your liquid or gel. If you refuse to allow your medications to be opened, they may be subjected to further screening.


Another option for passengers carrying medications is to put their medications in their checked baggage, as long as they don’t need the medications urgently upon arrival.  You can even put your medications in a locked bag to ensure their safety.  All check bags are put through electronic screeners before being loaded onto the airplanes.  TSA inspectors also do physical inspections if they think that they are needed.  They are permitted to break locks on baggage, or medicine bags if they feel that the bag needs further inspection.  However, there are now locks available that are approved by the TSA and can be opened by a master key that all TSA inspectors have access to.  These keys are a good tool to keep your medications safe while still following all TSA guidelines for safe and healthy travel.

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