Wondering how to travel to the UK with medication, without getting caught out? Following these tips may help you…

Travelling with prescription medication can be stressful. You might not know how rules and regulations regarding specific drugs differ in the country you are visiting. You’re probably asking yourself whether you can take your medication on a plane, and are you able to bring your medical equipment or liquid medication?

There are many things you need to consider to avoid trouble when travelling with prescription medication. If you are not prepared, your intent could be misunderstood, and it may be believed that you had a conspiracy to import. You better be prepared to avoid this unfortunate scenario.

This list provides 10 essential tips to help you travel to the UK safely with your medication. Take a look…

1. Check the rules and regulations in the UK

When you are planning to travel with prescription medication, you need to know if the country you are visiting has different rules and regulations regarding the type of drug you will be carrying.

Before you go you should speak to your doctor to find out if any of your prescribed medication is under the drug control category. You should also contact the embassy within the country you are visiting to enquire about any rules you should be aware of before you travel. For example, the types of medication that are not allowed in the UK.

Another thing to be aware of is that some medications have different names in different countries. Ensure that any prescriptions that you have go by the same name when enquiring about regulations.

2. Will you be taking your medication through transit countries?

During your journey, you may pass through several other countries on the way to your destination. When travelling with prescription medication, you should always check to see what rules are in effect in the countries you will be passing through. 

Being aware of these rules will help you take any necessary steps to avoid having your medication removed or getting in trouble for carrying it. For example, you may need a letter from a medical professional to bring a type of medication into the UK, but you may need it at another point along your journey.

3. Be aware of the quantity of medication you are allowed to travel with

Another factor to consider is the amount of medication that you will be allowed to take into a country. There are many different laws regarding medication, and it’s important that you find out exactly how much you are legally allowed to carry before you travel.

In some places, it is perfectly legal to have a type of medication, but you may find that there are restrictions on the amount you can travel with.

Travelling to the UK with Medication
Be aware of the quantity of medication you are allowed to travel with. Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash.com

4. Prepare for any delays or damages that might occur

During every journey, there is the potential for the unexpected to occur, and it is important that you are prepared for every eventuality. Some of your medication may become damaged, lost, or even stolen. Or you may find that bad weather, an accident, or transport difficulties have caused a delay, making your trip a few days longer than expected. 

You should always have extra medication in case of emergencies like this. If possible, we recommend travelling with an extra two weeks’ worth of medication. 

If you are planning on travelling with medication, you may need to order a repeat prescription in advance to make sure that you have enough for your trip. As always, speak to your doctor for additional advice.

5. Keep a list of your medications in your hand luggage

If you are using a variety of different medications, or if you are planning on travelling for a large amount of time, it can be useful to have a complete list of all your prescriptions in your hand luggage. 

Having the generic name and brand of the medicine you are travelling with is useful in the event that a type of medication has multiple names in different countries. It is also recommended that you travel with your prescriptions in their original packages, with intact labels and any information leaflets that are relevant.

6. Keeping your medicine cool during travel

Some medications need to be kept cool, and the best way to do this on a journey is with a flask, insulated pouch, or even a cool pack. These options can be an effective way to store and transport medication in your hand luggage without worrying too much about temperature fluctuations along the way.

Not all medication will need to be kept cool, but in any situation, your prescription should be stored as safely as possible to avoid damage.

7. Transport your prescription medication within your hand luggage

Depending on the type of medication you are travelling with, you may need to carry it in your hand luggage in order to declare it. However, in many other instances, it can also be useful to transport medication within your hand luggage. 

If possible, we recommend splitting your medication between bags. This way if a bag is stolen or goes missing, you have not lost all of your prescriptions. 

Watch this video for some more tips on what to pack in your hand luggage:


8. Travel with a copy of your prescription

When travelling abroad, you should always take a copy of your prescription. Not only can this be important during your journey, but if you have a medical emergency it can come in very useful. 

In some cases, you will be required to show a copy of your prescription to prove that you are allowed to travel with your medication. In this instance, it is important to have researched beforehand whether your prescription will need to be translated into the local language.

9. What do you need when travelling with medical equipment like a needle or syringe? 

If you are travelling with medical equipment, like a needle, it is important to check with a medical professional to identify any procedures you may need to take.  

For example, in many cases, you may require a letter from your doctor or healthcare professional. If you are travelling in a wheelchair, however, you may need to contact the airline to discuss the size and weight of the chair and whether it is collapsible. 

10. Travelling with liquid medication over 100mls

Airports famously restrict liquids within hand luggage to 100ml, but if you require a type of liquid medication that exceeds this, exceptions can be made. 

To find out whether you are able to travel with liquid medications over 100mls, you need to contact the airports and the airlines you will be travelling with. They may request details from your doctor.

And watch this for more tips on travelling with liquids and powders:


Can You Travel Safely to UK with Prescription Medication? 

If you are travelling to the UK with prescription medication, it is important to be aware of the rules, regulations, and general safety policies that will keep your trip running smoothly. These ten tips provide a basic breakdown of what you should be aware of before you begin your journey.

Please be advised that this article is for general informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for advice from a trained medical professional. Be sure to consult your doctor if you’re seeking advice about travelling with prescription medication. We are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information on this site.