It’s the first day of Summer and you’re cruising down an empty highway, windows down, throwback songs cranked up. Your dog is sticking his tongue out the window in the seat next to you. You’re headed for a weekend of hiking in the mountains. (Or woods, depending on where you live…there are definitely no mountains here in Minnesota). All your favorite snacks are packed in the trunk. Life couldn’t get any better. You’re so happy that it feels like nothing could ruin your mood. You’re just thinking about adventure and relaxation.
Until you remember that you have to bring eight pill bottles with you on each hike because you don’t have a pill container. You could toss the ones you’ll need each day in a Ziploc bag, but you never asked your pharmacist if these medications would be fine if they touched. (And let’s be honest, Ziploc bags are going out of style anyways….bye bye single use plastic).
Traveling with Medication
Getting supplies organized for a trip can be stressful in itself…. but imagine doing that plus planning out your medication routine too (a few extra hairs might turn gray a little early).
I’ve discussed medication management before and how nonadherence is such an issue in America (head over to the blog page to catch up). Therefore, it is crucial that while planning a trip you also plan your medications. (Yes, I mean full on itinerary with bullet points, times, and bolded words. You might never want me to plan your trip again but trust me, you’ll want me back for your medication schedule. How else are you going to be able to ‘stop and smell the roses’ if you’re constantly panicking about your meds?!)
WebMD suggests that the best way to organize your pills is to use a pill organizer. They are simple and come with multiple sections. However, it is important that when you put the pills in the compartments that you make sure all the pills end up in the correct section. Especially if you have two pills that look similar in color. It can be easy for one to just slip out of your hand into the next compartment.
In addition to having a pill case, the second most important thing to do is set a schedule. Most medications need to be taken around the same time each day. If you’re late or early by a few minutes, don’t stress. Taking them at the same time everyday allows you to get into a routine. I take my pills before I brush my teeth at night, so if that is something that you always do then associate your medications with that task. For your hiking weekend, you can keep it the same by taking them before bed or if you take your medications in the morning, then do it when you lace up your hiking boots.
Having a schedule is great, but it’s not going to hold up by itself. We are humans, we get easily distracted even on things that are incredibly important. I mean you’ll be hiking, absorbing nature, and running with your dog. Chances that you’re just waiting for your next pill time is slim. Put your phone on volume and set an alarm for each time that you need to take your medications throughout the day. Now, when you’re climbing up some rocks or running through the woods, you’ll be brought back to reality to know that you need to stop for a minute and take your pill.
If you’re traveling out of the country, then ALWAYS bring your pills with you on the plane. Having them in your carry on will ensure that the plane doesn’t lose them. They will always be in your sight and easy access if you need them. If you have liquid medications, still bring them in your carry on, but they must be under the 3 oz limit that airlines have. Whenever you go on vacation or out of your home state, bring a copy of your prescriptions. This will come in handy when going through TSA if they question you about any medications. You can even bring a doctor’s note if you want to be extra prepared.
Being prepared allows you to say calm and not panic when something happens. If you’ve followed all the protocols and done everything correctly, then things should go smoothly. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns for how to pack and organize your pills for your next adventure reach out in the comments, social media, or via email. I will be here to help you have a stress-free getaway! Sometimes you just have to #KeepCalmandVitaCarryOn.