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Holiday packing panic !

Hi all,

I go away tomorrow morning to Paris for a week, followed by a week in USA and then in London for a week.

Im normally really organised but at the moment i'm all over the place !

Have 3 inhalers and pred, do i put them in my handluggage or in the case? Should i put spares in the case ? (Never been on hol with asthma!) Do i need anything like the repeat prescription slip as proof?

Hope everyone is well


9 Replies

Hi Twinklepointe,

Definitely carry all meds in your hand luggage. Air Canada lost my suitcase once after it was put on the wrong plane following a flight cancellation (just an unusual mix-up). It arrived at my home by courier a week later, so that was fine.

Not sure about needing a repeat prescription slip as proof (pharmacy labels should be enough, but someone who is more knowledgeable will probably be along soon) - it would be sensible to take a copy in case you need to get replacement inhalers abroad.

Hope you have a fantastic time!




It's possibly worth taking a repeat prescription with you- last time I flew I had no problem but most other times I've been asked for my prescription and had to show them my medicines.

Have a good time on holiday

Becca x


I've flown quite alot, and only had problems when I was flying through Heathrow and they decided my seretide that I haad ripped the label off was an explosive device and they had to call up a dr that works in the airport to clarify what it was. Other than that, Ive had no problems. I very rarely keep them in packaging as it takes up space aswell, and have always been letr through bar that one time.


I also fly a lot. Much of this is more info than you need, but this is a relatively common question, so here are some of my tips -

I always keep repeat prescription slips with both supplies, and if I'm traveling to anywhere very politically unstable (where nightmare airports are inevitable) I have a letter from my doc.

I always take at least double what I think I will need, and split this between two bags the whole time I'm traveling. (I dread to think the value of the drugs in my bags when I'm traveling for long periods of time!)

If I'm in a far flung country I carry at least a little supply of everything on me even if the rest is left in a locked hotel room. I have notes on any big bags of drugs saying that these are life saving and that if found (or stolen!) can they contact me or the British Consulate in the appropriate country. (I translate this into the local language as well). I only bother doing either of these if I'm in countries where getting a resupply of expensive drugs (eg seretide) would be hard. I reckon you can probably get Ventolin and pred practically anywhere in the world. I really only would bother doing this when traveling off the beaten track or when alone semi off beaten track.

If possible, split supplies even further if you are traveling with someone else (maybe not in hand luggage in airports though incase anything gets queried).

Know the generic (not brand) names of all your drugs - e.g. Seretide is called something different in the USA, which led me and a doctor there around in circles for a bit.

If you have a tendency to get ill very quickly, use google translate to translate info about you and your meds into the local language - this is also v useful for epipen instructions (as there are no instruction pictures on epipens). Put details of your travel insurance and your doctors contact details with this.

If anyone is going to Australia you have to declare if you are bringing steroids into the country when you arrive, but this has always been straightforward.

I walked through Gatwick a few weeks ago with a bottle of sunscreen (totally forgot that that was a liquid!) and drugs including an epipen and no one batted an eye lid.

Twinklepointe - dont panic, the US, France and London are all dead easy places a) to travel in and b) to deal with medical stuff in. I'd take a complete supply in handluggage and the same again in checked in luggage, and a repeat prescription slip kept with both. And then I wouldn't worry about it. If anything gets lost, you'll easily be able to replace them (although you'd have to pay for them).

C x


Hi again,

C, that's a fab list of tips, especially to put another prescription slip in checked luggage!

However, personally I would be slightly cautious about putting metered dose inhalers (MDIs or puffers) in checked baggage because of the extreme temperatures that can be present in the cargo hold during a flight. Patient information leaflets generally specify 'Do not freeze, refrigerate or store above 25C'. I'm not sure if this is because of possible adverse effects on the pharmaceutical properties of the drugs, or whether a slightly different dose of drug would be dispensed if used outside this temperature range (P/T is constant, if V is constant - pressure law in school physics). If the latter, then it would be ok to put MDIs in checked baggage - the standard advice after all is to warm an inhaler canister in your hands for a few minutes before use if it becomes cold!

The advice about dividing other non-MDI meds between hand and checked baggage is sensible.

I usually take triple of what I need, and divide out (coat, handbag or laptop bag, suitcase) after clearing customs. The only snag of putting everything in hand baggage is that you may lose a bag, but if you're travelling with someone then you could ask them to hold onto spares after security on departure, and before customs on arrival. But there's no need to worry, as C points out it is quite easy to obtain replacements. It's also useful to note that in the US, the generic name for salbutamol (Ventolin, Salamol) is 'albuterol'.

All the best,



I have packed spare MDI's. epipens and Ventolin IV Glass Ampoules in main luggage in the past. I pop them all in the centre of my bag - they were fine. If anything had been frozen then the ampoules would have shattered. Though I try to keep all epipens on me anyway.

I haven't worried about spare meds in my main luggage when going to the Falklands as there was only that flight that night! LOL

Be aware of Babble fish translator - you need to put in very simple English otherwise it can come out in gobbledegook italian as I discovered - check it over if you can.

I carry repeat slips and epipen / sharps letters ( copied numerous times!) along with my passport & travel documents.

I found Stansted quite slack about all my sharps going through, they didn't ask and Pescara in Italy didn't even check anything.

Not sure what the RAF are doing these days - will find out soon - I can imagine they are fairly relaxed as they probably do background checks before they even issue your flight!


EEeeek only 10 weeks til Falklands !


As one would expect, AUK has published Air Travel advice on this site! :)




Hi Ginny,

Yep, you're right that hold luggage may get very cold - but I think that airplanes now are better than they used to.

I looked into this after phoning GSK and Astra Zeneka when I was going to a very cold (-30C) place. On my research trail I found that BA guarantee their holds dont go below a certain (reasonably warm) temperature. Other airlines may obviously differ. On my quest for info from GSK and AZ, they couldn't tell me much, but they did tell me that it was generally worse for drugs to become very hot than very cold (apparently -30C isn't that cold in chemical terms). They couldn't confirm that it would be fine though.

Just incase anyone finds themself in a really weird part of the world with hand luggage problems that really cant be solved, ask if the pilots (yep, I mean really weird parts of the world) can look after it, and you get it at the other end. It's happened to me before, and worked...

My other top travel advice tip is that I phoned my travel insurance company recently to tell them that the number of medicines I take has changed, as I assumed this would mean that my year-long policy would be void unless I told them. They told me that it would not invalidate the policy, so I didn't have to pay an extra premium. So if anyone is wanting to get a long insurance policy, get it before you increase any meds! This clearly may well vary between companies. I use Insure and Go. (I think most insurance companies work on a multiple choice answer of 0-2 meds, 3 meds, 4 meds, or over 5).

Happy travels, x


Thank you for your words of wisdom !

The only trouble i had was in the states - they didnt like the look of me on my passport and visa and took it out on my meds, luckily i had the repeat form which i think saved me !

Managed to have an almost eventful free holiday - ended up in costa del USA, which was not quite the sunshine i'd hoped for !

Hope everyone elses hols are costa free



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