If you take vitamins or supplements on a regular basis, chances are you’ll probably want to bring them with you when you travel. This might make packing a little tough… but as long as you stick to general guidelines and travel regulations, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t take your pills and powdered supplements with you – even when you’re on the go.
Question: Can I bring my supplements onto the plane?
Yes, you can! According to the U.S. Customs & Border Protection:
“Non-prescription medicines (also known as over-the-counter or OTC medicines), vitamins, herbs, and supplement products fall under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)."
In general, the FDA will not object to the personal importation of those products, as long as:
– The traveler is carrying the products in their possession (or in their luggage);
– The amount being carried is an amount reasonably considered for personal use.
For additional information please consult the FDA Consumer Alert webpage via the following link: FDA.gov, or call 1-888-723-3366.”
Benefits of Traveling With Supplements
In general, travelling can take a toll on your physical and emotional health. Jet lag, exposure to germs (and sick people!) in enclosed spaces, less nutritious meals, and overall stress can all weaken your immune system, leaving you more vulnerable to falling ill during your travels.
Here are a few reasons why it’s a good idea to bring supplements with you while travelling:
Travelling is tiring! To help keep your energy levels up and counter weariness, bring along some B-Complex vitamins. If you’re having trouble sleeping, bring along a natural sleeping aid like LUNA to help you rest better while on the go.
Long periods of inactivity during flights can cause you to end up with sore muscles and body aches once you land. Also, if you have a particularly active holiday planned with lots of walking, you’re bound to need some pain relief – so pack some supplements like Turmeric and Magnesium to help with those aches and pains!
Many people experience digestive issues on a regular basis when travelling, thanks to jet lag and/or not being used to the local cuisine. You’ll want to bring along some digestive enzymes and probiotics to help improve your digestion, as well as to combat bloating, constipation, gas and general sluggishness.
Packing Your Supplements
You're allowed to pack your vitamins/supplements in your checked luggage, but it’s highly recommended that you bring them with you in your carry-on – because you never know if your checked bags might be delayed or go missing.
Vitamins/supplements come in different forms, so consider the most convenient way to bring them along:
Some people pack their pills/capsules in baggies or small Tupperware containers, which is fine. However, if you’d prefer to organize your pills (so you don’t forget what to take and how many), consider getting one of those 7-day travel pill boxes so you can organize your supplements by day. For longer trips, there are 2-week travel pill boxes available as well – or just double-up!
Measure out the amount that you need into separate plastic bags for convenience. Try not to pack bottles or jars, as these tend to take up a lot of space and can be pretty heavy.
Liquid medications aren’t subject to the TSA’s (Transportation Security Administration) 3.4 ounce restriction. However, take note that you will need to declare amounts over 3.4 ounces to the TSA officers when you go through customs – so be prepared to do so.
You’re free to bring any amount of vitamins/supplements with you, as long as it’s considered a reasonable amount for your personal use. A good rule of thumb: Bring no more than a 90-day supply when you travel.
If you’re planning on staying somewhere for longer than 90 days, you can arrange to have additional vitamins/supplements sent to you via courier or mail. Alternatively, you can order online and have more shipped to your location.
When you reach the security checkpoint, you may need to remove your supplements from your bag so they can be screened separately. Make sure that your baggies and pill boxes are clearly labelled and well-sealed.
Although the TSA doesn’t require it, it may be helpful to bring along a doctor’s letter that explains the uses of your vitamins and supplements. Keep it on hand, and be prepared to answer any questions the security officers may have.
So, where to next?
Traveling with supplements can seem tricky – but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Focus on bringing only what you need and travel light. If you are at all uncertain, check the FDA and TSA websites, or look up the local/international laws where you’ll be going.
Remember, preparation is the key to avoiding potential trouble – so do your research and plan accordingly. Follow our tips and guidelines, so you won’t have to leave your supplements behind while you’re on holiday!