How to Get Medications if Going on Vacation

How do I get my medication if I’ll be going out of town and will be away from my favorite pharmacy?

This is a very popular question at the pharmacy…it’s prime travel time right now!  Have no fear, there’s an option or two for you depending on specific travel plans.

First, you may want to determine if your insurance will pay for your medication before you hit the road (or air).  This will save you a lot of worry about how you’re going to get your next refill.  Most insurances will  pay for your prescription a good 5 to 7 days before it’s due!  You can find this information by calling your insurance company or having the pharmacy process a refill for the medication in question.

If you’ll be taking off before your insurance will pay for your medication, give your insurance carrier a call to see if they’ll allow for a vacation override.  If you’re traveling within the country, you may find that an override will not be issued because you can easily get the prescription transferred to a pharmacy in the area of your destination.

If you get your prescriptions at one of the various major retail pharmacy chains, you’ve got it made.  This is because these companies have pharmacies all over the country and every pharmacy within a particular company (i.e.  Rite Aid Pharmacy) is connected by internet…a pharmacy on one side of the country can pull your prescription from the pharmacy you use at home and fill it, so long as they are part of the same chain!

However, if you end up having to go to a pharmacy of a different company, have the pharmacist call your local pharmacy to transfer your prescription to the temporary location.  It’s an easy process and you can always have your local pharmacy call the temporary drugstore to get the prescription back once you return from your get-away.

There are certain laws that vary from state to state, especially with control substances so be patient with the pharmacy staff while they figure out how they can help you if a problem should arise!

Warning: based on many state laws, you may only be able to transfer your prescription for a control substance one time…meaning you won’t be able to transfer it back when you get home.  In this case, you would need to be prepared to get a new prescription from your physician!

Now, if you’re traveling abroad, your insurance will most likely issue you a vacation overide so you won’t run out of your medications while in another country.  The approval of an override may vary depending on the nature of the medication.  Some insurance companies require the pharmacy to call them for the override, so be sure to pass the word on to the pharmacy staff, if this is the case!  You may get a little resistance from the pharmacy staff (the unfortunate truth -some people work harder than others and some pharmacies are more hectic), but they’ll get over it! 🙂

If you’re calling the insurance company on your own, be prepared with the details of your travel plans (i.e. duration, destination, etc.) as the insurance company may need to document this before they’ll consider any vacation override requests.  If the pharmacy is making the call for you, leave your travel information with the staff so they can pass the info on to the insurance representative.

Here’s a special request I have of you: allow ample time for the pharmacy staff to call the insurance to get the override.  Being patient and coming back later in the day to pick up your medication will make for happy pharmacy employees, and you can bet there’ll be a greater willingness to help from the pharmacy people!

Oh yeah, and don’t wait until the last minute! 🙂

Got it? E-mail me at  Don’t want to? Then definitely leave a comment below.

Wanna free-up some money for your trip?  Check out our free video course on how to save money on your prescription medications.  You can use the money saved for the fun stuff while you’re away!

Have a great trip!


  1. I think you owe it be more specific. HAWAII for example …to soak more money from tourists…. has a law that ONLY HAWAIIAN LOCATED DOCTORS CAN WRITE AND you can then fill the prescription you need. They say to hell with the DOCTOR that is caring for you at home.

  2. Recently I phoned and immediately got a vacation overide from Cigna Home Delivery. I did not need to provide an itinerary, and,
    it is my privacy issues to where an for how long I travel anyway !!!!!
    My overide was delivered within 4 days.
    A few days later my wife phoned to get a vacation overide from Cigna Home Delivery and got the run around. One office phones another office and then again and again and the itinerary is brought up.
    Why are these people on their little power trips able to affect the travel plans and medication insurances of senior citizens????
    Cigna Home Delivery needs a top down cleaning of the dead wood.!!

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