Taking your HRT abroad: everything you need to know
If you have a holiday or long-haul flight coming up, we have the lowdown on travelling with HRT and other medications
Your bags are packed, passport safely stored and boarding pass downloaded on your phone.
But before you head off on holiday or on a non-UK work trip, read our guide on taking your HRT and other medication abroad to ensure you have a stress-free trip.
Do your research
Check the rules of the country you’re going to as well as any you’re just passing through. Different countries have different rules about the types of medicine they allow to be taken into the country and the maximum amount you can take in. Some medicines you get over the counter in the UK may be controlled in other countries and vice versa, so look up your holiday country’s rules via their embassy website.
Most countries will allow most medications as long as you show your prescription for them too – and this includes your HRT. For controlled medicines and strong painkillers, check the website for the embassy of the country you are visiting to see their specific rules and regulations as some restrict these types of medications.
On the flight
Always carry medicines (and applicators/syringes) in their original, correctly labelled packages. Check that you have enough to last your trip. Make sure any medication you take will remain in date.
Carry your medicine in your hand luggage with a copy of your prescription. Remember most airlines restrict cabin liquids to 100ml and this would include gel. See more about hand luggage liquid medication in our article here.
You could consider packing some extra medicine in your luggage going in the aeroplane hold in case you lose your hand luggage.
Some medicines need to be kept at room temperature (below 25C) or stored in the fridge. Check the directions on your medicine and you could use a small thermos flask, or mini cool bag with ice pack or insulated pouch to help keep it cool.
Although HRT products do not come under this category, you may also take a medication that is controlled. This means that additional legal controls apply to these medicines; you may need a personal licence to take controlled medicines abroad or there may be specific rules about how to carry them. You can apply for an export licence and this should be done at least 10 days before travel. Some examples of controlled drugs include: diamorphine, diazepam, codeine, fentanyl, methadone, morphine, pethidine, Ritalin and temazepam.
Check with the embassy about the rules for the country you’re going to before you travel. You can find a list of foreign embassies in the UK on Gov.uk.
Buying medication in another country
Fake drugs are much more common in certain regions and can be a significant health risk. Be aware that whilst the name and appearance of medication prescribed in your home country may look the same or similar in other countries, the amount and type of active ingredients may differ. Avoid this by taking plenty of what you need with you from your usual place of residence.