Travelling Tips and Information

With school holidays just around the corner you may be about to travel to places near and far in search of rest, relaxation and a really good time! It is holiday season and so we thought it important to share some advice and travelling tips to help smooth the break. Here are some things to consider:

Health insurance

It’s important to get adequate insurance cover before you travel. You’ll need to find insurance that covers pre-existing conditions. The Pituitary Foundation has a list of insurance companies that deliver policies aimed at people with existing conditions.

Travelling with Medication 

If you are going abroad on holiday it is best to ask your GP or endocrinologist for a letter about the medication and your doses prescribed, that you or your child take. This letter will be helpful should you become unwell and have to see a doctor. It is also useful for you to have this letter whilst going through airport security, in the event that they question the medication. If you have a repeat copy prescription this can also be shown.

If you want to take any sort of medicine with you – either prescribed or bought from a pharmacist – find out if there are any restrictions on taking it in and out of the UK or the country you are visiting. This is particularly important for patients on growth hormone (GH). Ask the relevant Embassy or High Commission or telephone the Home Office for advice.

All of your medication should be labelled with your name and kept with you at all times during your journey.

Finally, always carry medicines in a correctly labelled container, as issued by the pharmacist.

For further useful information, please visit the Gov.UK website.

Flying with Medications

The following is useful advice from Heathrow Airport

You may need to take medications with you when you fly, so talk to your doctor to find out exactly what you need to take. Here are some considerations when taking medications

  • Make sure you take enough for the flight and your time in the destination.
  • Make sure you pack them with you in your hand luggage. Don’t leave liquid medication in the hold because the temperatures could affect it.
  • If you need to take medication in containers over 100 ml, this is possible. However, you will need permission from the airline and airport, and you will need a certificate from your doctor.
  • If you need to take a hypodermic syringe, this should be possible. However, be prepared for special checks at security.
  • Also remember to check any restrictions in the country you are visiting because they may not allow you to take certain medications into the country.
  • Always take a copy of your prescription as well as a letter from your doctor containing details of your medications and condition.

Medications that need to be kept cool

If you have medications that need to be refrigerated, the following are suggestions on how to keep medications cool during travel:

  • Purchase or borrow a small cool bag with two freezer blocks.
  • Before you travel, call your accommodation (hotel, motel, bed and breakfast etc) and ask if they have refrigerators in the rooms or, if not, if one can be hired for your room. If they do not have refrigerators, ask if they have a freezer where they can place your freezer blocks on a rota in order that you can keep your cool bag cool.
  • During travel, place your medication into cool bag with both frozen blocks – the blocks should keep cool for around 12 hours.
  • If you need to use the hotel’s freezer, on arrival, give them one block labelled with your name. Twelve hours later swap the blocks to ensure you continually have a frozen block to use both day and night in the cool bag.
  • For dire emergency, for example, there is no freezer or refrigerator available, wrap the medication in a cold wet flannel and keep in shade. This option is not recommended for the long term.
  • For long haul flights, you can request dry ice packs from cabin crew (they can refuse this request). Dry ice packs will quickly refreeze your ice blocks. It is important to be very careful while handling these packs.
  • Cabin crews may also refrigerate your medications for you on the aircraft (again, they can refuse this request). Be sure it is properly labelled and be certain to retrieve your medications before leaving the plane!

There are growth hormone products that are available that do not need refrigeration – just kept cool – very useful for holidays!

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