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Sunday 1 January 2023

One of the worst mistakes you can make when travelling

It may be one the mortal sins for a traveller - but it is one I managed to commit earlier this year. 

Even those who have been travelling for decades need an occasional reminder to be vigilant, so here goes. 

Do not pack your drugs, or any medicine you might need on the road, in your checked-in baggage.

In a moment of madness I packed my blood pressure medication in my suitcase before a recent trip to Canada. 

Regular readers will be aware that Air Canada lost my luggage - and that I was without it for a week before being reunited just before leaving the country. 

No problem, I thought. I'll just get my doctor to send my prescription by email and I'll be fine. 

Except Canadian pharmacies are not allowed to accept overseas scripts. So no go there.

Next solution: get an appointment with a local doctor. 

Easier said than done. Covid was still rampant and you needed to make an appointment a week in advance to see a doctor. 

There were a couple of public clinics, but these had long lines and were populated by some seriously unhealthy people coughing and snotting, while many of the patients looked like they were waiting to pick up their methadone.  

My sister came to the rescue. Her family has an online membership to an auto club that allows access to an online medical service. 

They issued a prescription with minimal fuss. Disaster averted. 

In some countries, like Thailand, you can get any drugs you like without a prescription. Others make it hard - and expensive. 

So remember to take your drugs in your carry-on luggage - and take a prescription with you as back up.  

# My journalist colleague Dennis Passa adds another very useful suggestion. 

If you are travelling for a long period of time, or with lots of drugs in your possession, ask your doctor for a covering letter. That way there will be no issues should you be searched at border crossings.

Image: Anastasiia Rybalko, Scopio.

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