Can you take medications overseas?

Here’s what to do if you need to travel with prescription meds:


Smart Traveller also has some additional advice which complements that complied by Choice:


Context might also be important when travelling.

References to ‘Drugs’ in Australia are generally taken as referring to illegal substances. In other nations one gets medication from a ‘Drug Store’. At least one overseas arrivals declaration card from experience was unclear (in the lone tick box asking if one is carrying any drugs) as to whether you are declaring personal medications that are acceptable, or it’s only re ‘illegal substances’. It can create some awkward moments. Been there, done that! :anguished:

As well as the Choice article and Smart Traveller resources, for those less self reliant a reputable Travel Agent should also be able to assist. There are also Doctors who specialise in providing services to those prior to travelling, assuming your regular GP is not able to assist. As both the Choice article and Smart Traveller web site advise, carrying a supporting document from a Doctor for your medications and needs is a frequent recommendation. The same consult may also be appropriate to assess whether one requires additional vaccinations and other precautions.


Can you take medications overseas?"

I misunderstood the name of the topic.

I was going to say just swallow them with a glass of water as you do in Australia.



Preparing for post-COVID travel already? Very optimistic!


FWIW, I had/have some serious health issues and travel overseas with what looks to some like a pharmacy of medications.
I always take a letter from my GP and carry the meds in their original packaging.
Pre-coronavirus, I have traveled to advanced economies (eg the US) and the undeveloped world (mid east) and many points in between.

The only place I have ever been questioned regarding my meds is SYD and BNE (the two departure points I have used).
I guess overseas airport security or customs staff have bigger fish to fry than worry what I’ll do with a few boxes of meds.
That said, I will keep traveling with a letter from my GP dated as close to my departure date as possible.


Its not prescription medicines you need to worry about. Of course keep them in the original packaging and take copies of the prescription and a letter from your GP (and don’t carry anyone else’s meds), but you also need to know that over the counter medicines are not universally accepted across borders either. You do need to check for each country what you are allowed to carry. And don’t forget that there is a limit to how much prescribed medication you can take out of Australia too.

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I will defer to you in regard to OTC therapies.
I only take prescription meds so that is my focus.
What you wrote about what is and isn’t permitted across borders makes a lot of sense.