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Packing medication for your overseas trip

Here's what you should know before you go

Woman in a yellow top and blue skirt packing her medication in a yellow suitcase
Woman in a yellow top and blue skirt packing her medication in a yellow suitcase

Planning an overseas trip? If you’ve got medication you’re planning on taking with you make sure you read these below tips which could save your life.

Recent baggage delays globally have resulted in many travellers being left without their luggage, and in some cases, their life saving medication. It’s put a spotlight on the complexities of travelling with medication and highlighted how travel insurance may be able to help.

Tip number 1 – always take your medication, or medical equipment, on-board with you     

Pack it with you: You should always pack your medication in your carry bag with you onto the plane. Not in your checked bag. Be aware in some cases travellers have been forced to check their ‘carry-on’ cabin bag at the gate so it’s best to pack it into your backpack or handbag with you if you can.

Tip number 2 - Bring extra supplies of your medication in case you’re delayed or quarantined

There are so many things that can delay your return home at the best of times, let alone during a pandemic when travellers are being quarantined at short, or no notice. The situation has been compounded by COVID-19, with doctors reluctant or unable to visit travellers in their hotel rooms if they have tested positive, making getting a new prescription difficult. We suggest travelling with at least an extra two weeks’ worth of any critical medication for your health. 

40 year old male and female couple in Austria wearing puffer jackets and laughing as they hike

Tip number 3 – Checks on your medication you should do before you go

It pays to plan ahead and prepare in case you run out of your medication while overseas. You should consider before you go:

Travel insurance: most travel insurance providers, including nib, offer 24/7 Emergency Assistance. Depending on the urgency of the situation, these teams may be able to help you find local or telehealth facilities, or get medication prescribed and couriered to you.   

Your local doctor: if you don’t have travel insurance, speak to your doctor before you go about the options they may have to help you if it’s needed.

Local medical facilities: you can also attend local medical facilities and see if they are able to help. If you have travel insurance, you may be able to claim back the costs of emergency medical treatment.

Tip number 4 – check your medication is legal at your destination

The rules are different overseas which means your medication might be legal in Australia, but illegal in another country, potentially leading to fines, confiscated medication, or worse… getting arrested and jailed.    

Check your medication’s status: start by contacting the consulate or embassy of the country/ies you are heading to or through for a list of what is or isn’t legal. Even if you’re transiting you must comply with local laws and that means not carrying drugs through a country where the medications are illegal.

Find an alternative: if you find your medication is illegal in the countries you’re visiting, talk to your local doctor about alternatives they can prescribe. 

Whatever you do – do not risk taking medication you know is illegal in the country you are heading to. If that is the case and you have no alternatives, then you should seriously reconsider your need to travel there. 

Travelling soon? Consider nib Travel Insurance and get a quote

To learn more about what’s covered, see nib travel insurance. nib health insurance members get a 10% discount off their travel insurance.* 

nib Travel Insurance Distribution Pty Limited, ABN 40 129 262 175, AR 336467 is an authorised representative of nib Travel Services (Australia) Pty Ltd (nib), ABN 81 115 932 173, AFSL 308461 and act as nib's agent and not as your agent. This is general advice only. Before you buy, you should consider your needs, the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS), Financial Services Guide (FSG) and Target Market Determination (TMD) available from us. This insurance is underwritten by Pacific International Insurance Pty Ltd, ABN 83 169 311 193. 

*The discount applies to the total nib travel insurance premium and is for members that currently hold an Australian health insurance product, an Overseas Student Health Cover product or an Overseas Visitors Health Cover product with nib. Discounts do not apply to the rate of GST and stamp duty or any changes you make to the policy. nib has the discretion to withdraw or amend this discount offer at any time. This discount cannot be used in conjunction with any other promotional offer or discount.