Air Travel with Medical Supplies
If you’re about to go on holidays but are worried about air travel with your medicines and medical supplies, we’ve got you covered.
Understand the air travel rules
All countries have their own regulations about carrying medicines and medical devices. What you may be allowed to carry in Australia, you may not be allowed to carry overseas so if in doubt, check the country’s Consulate or Embassy. You may need to apply for a customs clearance for some medications. If your medication is illegal in the country you’re visiting, ask your doctor for an alternative. It’s also a good idea to declare any medications, medical devices or medical supplies that you’re carrying.
Gather your paperwork
When travelling with medicines and medical devices, you should also carry a letter from your doctor explaining what you’re carrying, how much you’re taking, and who the medication is for. If you’re taking complementary medicine, such as vitamin supplements, these should also be included in the letter. If possible take your letter and your prescription.
You should keep all medicines and medical devices in their original labelled packaging. These should also be carried in your hand luggage. If your medical condition requires you to use needles, these need to be accompanied with proof that you need them, and they should also be carried in your hand luggage with the medication they will be administering. Don’t forget to carry a sharps container with you so that you can safely dispose of any needles. A Conni pick pocket utility bag is an excellent choice for carrying medicines and medical supplies.
Carrying medical devices
Many airlines require medical devices to be authorised as safe to carry on the aircraft, so check with your airline regarding their rules and regulations. You may be required to submit your medical device for inspection prior to the flight. Most airlines will allow you to carry medical devices onboard without them counting as ‘baggage’, but check with your airline first.
What about nutritional supplements
Rules and regulations about traveling with nutritional supplements can change, so check with the individual airlines. Some regulations such as those in Australia may restrict the amount or volume of nutritional supplements that you’re allowed to travel with. That’s where individual travel packs can come in handy. Another tip is to clearly label any product you take on board or include them in your checked-in baggage. Don’t forget to check what is and isn’t allowed in the country you’re visiting.
Other medical supplies
If you need to carry other medical supplies such as continence pads, make sure you carry enough with you in your hand luggage (making sure you allow for delays and accidents) and put the rest in your checked-in luggage. Depending on the amount you need to take with you, you may need to pay for excess baggage.
Travelling on the aircraft
When booking your flights always let the airline know about any special needs you may have. For example, whether you need to bring mobility aids or medical devices on board or you need to be seated close to a toilet. In some cases, you’ll need to arrive at the airport a little earlier so that staff can assist you. You’re also likely to be able to board early, to allow plenty of time for you to get settled for the flight.
Remember, travelling with medicines can seem overwhelming but with a little forward planning and asking the right questions you’ll be ready to head off in no time. Bon voyage!
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This article is sponsored by Independence Australia, a social enterprise that provides choices for people living with a disability or other personal need, enabling them to regain and retain their independence within a supportive community.