Summer is a great time to break out of your daily routine and go somewhere new. Between kids’ summer vacations from school and the increased flexibility many of us experience at work during the summer months, it can be an ideal time to travel. (Not to mention the fact that we’ve all been cooped up for the last couple of years and are excited to get back to seeing the world!)
But there’s one routine you don’t want to mess with: your medication and vitamin schedule.
When you take your medications often matters, and your body doesn’t understand that you’re away from home and the daily routine that usually keeps you on track. That’s why it’s important to take your medications with you and enlist tools to help make sure you’re taking them at the right times.
Why your medication routine matters (even on vacation)
First, it’s important to recognize why you should take your medications as directed, every time.
In the case of chronic diseases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 30-50% of instances where treatment fails are caused by patients not taking their medication as prescribed. The CDC also estimates medication non-adherence causes up to 125,000 deaths each year in the U.S.
Taking your medication at the same time each day is one way to ensure medication compliance. Building it into your routine helps you remember to take them. Beyond that, many medications are actually more effective when taken at certain times of day, or taking them at a certain time (morning or evening, with or without a meal) can prevent adverse side effects.
Perhaps you figure a few days while you’re on the road won’t matter. You’ll get back into your medication routine along with the rest of your schedule when you get home. Keep in mind that missing even a few doses can impact the effectiveness of your medications, and that can lead to more expensive care over time. The severity of the risk depends on the medication and what it’s treating, but it’s best to simply stick to your meds.
So timing matters – even on vacation – but how can you stick to your schedule when you upend your routine with a trip? And how do you do so without feeling stressed while you’re supposed to be relaxing? It’s all about how you prepare your medications for travel.
Packing your pills for travel
How you pack your pills can make a difference in how well you’re able to stick to your medication or vitamin schedule. Sure, you could throw your pill bottles into your toiletry bag and be done with it, but what if you have more than one medication or set of vitamins to pack? A bottle of 30-90 pills for a week-long trip can take up unnecessary space, and multiple bottles can exacerbate the problem.
There are a few products that can help you pack your pills more efficiently to save some space and perhaps make it more likely that you will be sure to bring them with.
- Ezy Dose® Pill & Vitamin Packing System: The Pill & Vitamin Packing System allows you to pre-portion pills into compact packets. You can write when to take each packet of pills right on them and save a great deal of space (and stress) while on the road. This is also a great option if multiple members of your family have pills to keep track of while on your trip.
- Ezy Dose® locking pill containers: You can keep your medications (or other small valuables) secure in the compact, lockable stainless steel or nylon (medium or small) pill containers. These containers take up less space than pharmacy pill bottles and help prevent spills, so you don’t lose your medication in your luggage or purse.
- Ezy Dose® Vitamin Organizer: What if you don’t take regular medication, but you like to take vitamins and supplements? The Vitamin Organizer is designed for these often larger pills and gives you one solution for up to six different supplements.
Making space for your medications by reducing the amount of space they’ll take up is one small thing you can do to stay on top of your medication regimen even while traveling.
Using pill organizers to stay on schedule
Beyond the storage implications, simply bringing your pharmacy-provided pill bottles means you have to remember when to take your medications and whether you remembered to do so. When you’re sleeping in, rushing to various tourist destinations, eating out at restaurants, and staying up late enjoying the local scene, the last thing you want to worry about is remembering if you took your pills and vitamins for the day.
A pill organizer can help you keep track of when to take your pills and whether you remembered on any given day. While there are many options available, there are a couple that are particularly travel-friendly.
- Ezy Dose® Weekly Classic Pill Planner: If you have one daily pill to keep track of, the Weekly Classic Pill Planner is a simple, straightforward solution. With one compartment per day and effortless snap lids, you can easily keep track of your daily medication.
- Ezy Dose® Weekly Rainbow AM/PM Pill Planner: When you have medications that need to be taken in both the morning and the evening, it’s helpful to keep them separated and to visually see where you are in your regiment. The Weekly Rainbow AM/PM Pill Planner does this while also accounting for travel needs. It’s compact enough for your purse or toiletry bag, and each day’s compartment can be removed and taken on the go – perfect for that early morning hike or late dinner!
Vacations and getaways should be your opportunity to relax, unwind, change things up a bit, and throw caution to the wind – but that doesn’t mean you can just ignore your prescription medications. Set yourself up for success with tools to help you save precious packing space and keep track of your pill schedule without having to think too much about it.
U.S. Food & Drug Administration: Why You Need to Take Your Medications as Prescribed or Instructed
AARP: Timing When to Take Your Medications
National Conference of State Legislatures: Medication Adherence: Taking Pills as Ordered