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Traveling Tips: Understanding the TSA Guidelines for Traveling With Medications

March 18, 2024

Traveling Tips: Understanding the TSA Guidelines for Traveling With Medications

Anytime we travel, we want things to go as smoothly as possible. Traveling by plane, especially when it comes to international travel, can be extremely stressful. We want to make sure that we have packed everything we need, avoid traffic, and make it to the airport on time. At the airport, we want to get through security quickly so that we can get to our gate and relax. 


Traveling can be even more stressful when carrying medication because there is a worry that it might get thrown out by security. Being prepared and understanding TSA guidelines can make your experience much easier and ensure that your medication won’t be lost, thrown out, or keep you from getting on your plane.

What to Know When Traveling with Medication

Most medication is fine to travel with if you keep it in your checked luggage, but there are some important guidelines if you need to carry medication onto the plane. It’s always best to be prepared and know what TSA allows and prohibits, especially if you have medication that requires immediate access. It’s one thing to empty a water bottle that you forgot was full, but it’s quite another to have to throw out important medication. The following is important information regarding TSA guidelines to make your life easier when traveling with medication:

  • You are not required to inform any TSA agents about your medication unless it is in liquid form.
  • If your medication is in liquid form, you need to notify an agent at the beginning of the screening process. Liquid medication of no more than 3.4 ounces is allowed in carry-on bags but is subject to further screening such as opening the container or testing for traces of explosives.
  • Medication in solid forms such as pills is fine at any amount as long as it is screened.
  • Medication is usually screened by X-ray. You may opt for a visual inspection instead, but your request needs to be made before anything is sent through the     X-ray tunnel.
  • Nitroglycerin tablets and spray are allowed.
  • Medications do not have to be in prescription bottles to get through airport security. However, specific states have laws regarding labeling for prescription     medication you need to follow. You will need to figure out if the state to or from which you are traveling has any specific laws to avoid any problems.
  • Although TSA does not require medication to be labeled, a label will make the screening process easier.
  • Separate your medication from your other items to facilitate the screening process and get you through security quickly.
  • Notify an agent of any accessories that may come with your liquid medication such as syringes, freezer packs, pumps, and IV bags.

What Medication Can You Travel With?

Knowing what kinds of medication you will be able to carry on a plane will save you from any unexpected problems. Here is a list of medications you can pack in your carry-on bag:

  • Insulin and Insulin Pumps and Supplies
  • EpiPens
  • Eye Drops (less than 3.4 ounces)
  • Inhalers
  • Hot/Cold Packs
  • Liquid Medications (less than 3.4 ounces)
  • Medications in Pill Form
  • Nitroglycerin Pills
  • Syringes


The best piece of advice when traveling, whether domestic or abroad, is to be as prepared as you can be. If you are well-prepared you will likely avoid any unnecessary obstacles, which will allow you to enjoy your trip and relax.


For more information about international travel and medications, contact BASS Primary Care by calling (925) 962-9120.

At BASS Primary Care Walk-in Clinic, it's Your Health, Your Schedule.