Traveling Abroad


New member
I've recently just applied to travel abroad to Thailand with my school but have never before traveled outside of the US. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to safely get all meds on the plane, through security, etc. Or any other good travel tips.


New member
I would get a medical letter from your doctor that states you have CF, lists your medications and notes things you will be carrying (e.g., air compressor, nebulizer, etc.). I have travelled while on IV meds carrying a bag full of saline syringes, IV medication, tubing, etc. Once I show the security person the letter, I've not had any problems. That said, I would allow more time at the airport for the extra screening.

I put all my pills into day-of-the-week containers. I've heard that you really should carry them in their original containers with the prescription labels on them. This would make it a lot easier if they decide to compare the medical letter with what you're carrying.

If you have medication that has to be refrigerated, I would get a soft sided cooler and some disposable ice packs. We used these to go to Italy (from Toronto) earlier this year and the medication was still cold when we got to the hotel the next day. Also find out how long your medication can be without refrigeration in case you have a problem. I was surprised that one of my IV medications could survive for seven days at room temperature. One time I brought an ice pack home in checked luggage and it exploded. I haven't had problems with them in the airplane cabin.

The airline should allow you an extra carry-on with medical stuff. I have kept all my medical things isolated in a single carry-on. This makes inspections easier. I also wouldn't check any medical stuff -- carry it all on so it doesn't get lost.

I haven't travelled to Asia, so I don't know how their electrical system varies from ours. I blew my air compressor in Italy because I didn't use the right kind of converter. I ended up having to go without hypertonic saline for the trip because we couldn't find any dealers in Rome.

Finally, if you have a vest, I would look into more portable lung clearance methods. I have always used a flutter device, which is small and easy to pack.

Have a great trip!



As I’ve said before, it’s hard to believe that a letter you’re carrying from your doctor would have any value at airport security. How would a security agent know who really wrote the letter? Today, anyone can generate an official looking document.

A basic principal is that documentation used for security purposes needs to be sent in advance so it can be verified. It can’t be carried personally. I learned this when trying to fly as a currier with classified material that could not be opened. Advanced arrangements had not been made. I was personally carrying the currier ID papers and found they were useless at airport security. I was not allowed to fly with the material I was carrying and ended up having to rent car to drive from New York to Washington DC. The letter could however be useful if you need medical attention during your travels.

That said, I have flown internationally a number of times carrying a nebulizer and medications, some requiring refrigeration. TSA and El Al security never gave me a problem, but do allow some extra time.

As MichaelL suggested, most of my medical things were packed in a separate carry-on to make inspections easier. Once I was asked to plug the nebulizer in and show it operating.

If you have medication that need to be kept cool, this could be a problem. While ice packs in an insulated bag kept my Pulmozyme cool for during my flight to Israel, your flight to Thailand is probably longer. Some drugs can be at room temperature for only 24 hours.

If you’re taking medications like Cayston or TOBI, you could try to arrange the cycle timing so that you are not using these drugs during your trip. I’ve done this.

If you use a VEST, you might be able to use an Acapella or Flutter instead. I’ve done this too.

Check the power and type of power outlets they have at your destinations, and get any adaptors you might need.

I would also recommend that you call the specific airline(s) you’ll be taking in advance, to see if they have any restrictions or requirements.

Just plan ahead, and have a wonderful trip.


I've recently just applied to travel abroad to Thailand with my school but have never before traveled outside of the US. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to safely get all meds on the plane, through security, etc. Or any other good travel tips.

We're in Australia, and our daughter has travelled to various countries with no problems. As a family she's been to the UK, France, the USA and on two cruises - one through French Polynesia and the other through Asia. On a school trip she's travelled to Nepal.

On on all her travels, over the past 18 years (that's how old she is) we have had letters from her doctor regarding her medication being carried. We have never had to show it to anyone in any of the countries upon entry or exit. Ever! Not even in the USA a couple of years ago where we travelled for 6 weeks so she had lots of medical supplies.

Having said that, I'd still carry a letter from your doctor with you. Make sure you also have their contact numbers handy incase someone has to call them (security or something etc). We've always carried her medication in a soft sided cooler bag with ice packs in it. The only time we had medication in stowed baggage was the trip to the USA as there was too much to put in carry on baggage.

Enjoy your trip. Make the most of it and try not to stress about your medical stuff getting through the airports, but have that doctor's letter on hand just incase. (Sorry for the long reply)


Staff member
I think the biggy is making sure any equipment you take along -- nebulizer or vest that you have the proper inverter or converters to meet the varied voltage/electrical requirements.


Super Moderator
Make certain that all of the requisite vaccinations and inoculations are current and recorded properly in your vaccinations card that is standard like your passport. While you're at it make about 6 color copies of the vaccine card and the double page of your passport and any visa's. Leave 2 at different places/people at home. Carry one copy in your wallet, one hidden in a clothing pocket that is unlikely to be laundered or stolen and finally hide one on your body. This is on the edge of paranoid so common sense is the guide. For travelers Passports are essential and a copy of your passport can be the difference between having a special issue passport and a rather immediate, possibly expensive and indignant flight home, trip over.

I am an old traveler who has boldly gone where angels fear to tread, sometimes with very serious consequences and utter blind bluff or luck with others, I have a list of friends who have thanked me for pressing some valued advice. My friend "Bill" had electronic products he needed manufactured in Asia. I was exporting manufacturing equipment made in the U.S. so we needed the same companies.

On Bill's first trip beginning in Japan, we arrived separately but met with in hours. Whenever I could, I notified the U.S. Consulate of my address in the country I'm visiting and planned departure/destination. Bill and I made the call to the consulate together. I left about five days ahead of Bill and went on to Korea. Bill caught up in Korea with an adventure he didn't want but it drove home the advice.

The night I left Japan Bill's passport went missing. After several increasingly desperate searches he concluded, correctly, his passport had been stolen. When he went to the American consulate, they began the process of arranging his flight home. He quickly presented his passport copies and it was like magic. He had a new passport the next morning and had a notice awaiting his return, confirming that the stolen passport had been confiscated.

Arrange to have a certain amount of local currency. I used to try and carry the amount of bus or taxi fare from the airport to civilization. With International travel, plans and delays can put you somewhere you weren't expecting. Singapore is the international hub for Nan Yang or the triangle of Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. You may see Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia, they're each about an hour flight.

Don't let anyone tell you that drug transport is a no brainer in Nan Yang. It is a First World for the most part but Singapore and Malaysia, possibly Thailand have a special court for drug smuggling. People arrive, get caught, tried and punished without the main court system. All but the most important people don't even get mentioned in the news. As long as you aren't smuggling drugs, even if you lose all your extra medical documents, a bottle of 90 dilaudid in the proper bottle or such isn't going to be noticed beyond the fact it's there with other medicines.

To that end a letter describing your condition and the basic reasons for all the nebbing paraphernalia, list of drugs including ointment, nasal sprays and enzymes that we tend to forget. I've dealt with these people at least 100 times and IF they aren't dazzled by the equipment, medicines in original bottles, a letter from the doctor, on Letterhead, is gold. Many medicines don't exist everywhere and narcotics are not easy to obtain. Best to anticipate added pain from the stresses of travel. The last time I was in Bangkok, Tylenol was prescription.

Thailand is like most countries famous for tourism and cheaper to visit, lots of petty theft. I still wear a silk money belt, a super flat fanny pack that fits against the skin. Carry lots of handkerchieves, Thailand has 97% humidity and ~97°F at night! OK maybe that's an overstatement but if you forget, they're sold in convenience stores and usually the Mandarin "soap-pan" as it's pronounced, will get them. Don't advertise your possessions, keep cameras and electronic devices out of sight. Be very wary about buying non native goods. "The Lonely Planet" guides are worth as much early reading as you can afford. Read the preface and the cultural/ history and the local bargains.

I found some of the most interesting, intricate and beautiful bargains are shadow box figures. For ~$5 or less clear tanned split leather, like a drumhead, is cut out, like an ornate elephant, intricately punched in patterns and colored with transparent oil colors to represent characters in Thai TV for the masses. The jungle glows with tiny theaters made from a transparent screen and characters on sticks telling thousand year old stories or satire of local and international news.

If Thailand is your first adventure overseas, this ain't Europe. Petty theft is about the same in Paris, Rome, cities in Eastern Europe and Asia. It's not something you worry about, take precautions, anything too good to be true, is. Frankly Thailand is pretty advanced travel. It's more of an original culture, not totally Westernized. This is worth the adventure.

In most Western countries our infrastructure allows a blind person to navigate a city, solo. In the part of the world you're going to, a blind person wouldn't make it across a parking lot. I've seen 13" of rain fall hour after hour and where it goes is a huge open drain system.... You've got to be aware of your situation and surroundings.

If you're heat intolerant, plan evenings to be out. Air conditioning is the only thing that actually works, the humidity is unreal. I envy the adventure before you.