Do Airports Scan Checked Luggage For Drugs?

Traveling With Medication Internationally – What you need to know

When it comes to traveling with medication internationally, there are certain rules and regulations that you are going to need to follow if you want to make sure that you don’t run into any difficulties. Traveling with recreational drugs is, as we all know, illegal.

The penalties that you may face if you are caught doing so can be very serious, from huge fines to prison time. Whilst airport security are not actively searching for drugs, more so weapons or anything that may be explosive, if you are caught with recreational drugs then the trouble that you will face can be incredibly serious indeed. So, let’s focus on prescription medication.

What Do Airport Scanners See?

When it comes to travelling with prescription drugs, you are probably wondering what it is that airport scanners actually see. First of all, let’s take a look at the process. Your luggage is placed into a CT scanner. This machine is able to carefully calculate the size and density of each item in your luggage. If there is anything suspicious, then the airport security staff will want to take a closer look.

Not every piece of luggage will be required to go through a CT scanner. It is only those that have been flagged as suspicious by airport staff that will be required to be scanned for further inspection. As we have already mentioned, the security staff are not going to be actively looking for drugs in your luggage.

Instead, they will be searching for dangerous weapons, prohibited items or explosives. However, if your luggage is flagged as suspicious and you are carrying medication in hand luggage or suitcase then they will want to find out more information.

How Do I Pack Medication for a Flight?

In order to be able to travel with medication internationally, it is important that you follow all rules and regulations so that you can avoid being held up at the airport. In your hand luggage, you are permitted to carry essential medicines of more than 100ml including dietary supplements.

You are also able to take medical equipment. However, for both of these you will require a note from a medical professional that states that these medications have been prescribed to you for your personal use. The only real restriction that you might face is if you are planning on bringing oxygen tanks with you. If you require these, then the best thing to do is to contact your airline directly who will be able to advise you further.

Here are a couple of tips that will help you travel with your medication properly:

  • Take a Doctor’s Note – If you have medication that you are required to take on a regular basis then you are obviously going to need to take it with you on your flight. The best way to avoid any delays at the airport is to have a note provided by your doctor which states that they have prescribed this medication to you.
  • Always Pack Some Medication In your Hand Luggage – We all know just how easy it is for luggage to become lost or damaged during transit. If your medication is something that you take on a daily basis then the last thing that you want is to be in a different country without it. By packing some in your hand luggage and some in your suitcase you will be covered either way.
  • Carry Information About your Medication - It is important to keep in mind that medication may well go by different names in different countries. Before you set off on your travels, it is a good idea to have a list prepared of all of your medications and their various names so that you can show the list to security should they want to know more information.
  • Keep It In It's Original Packaging - In order to avoid any confusion at the foreign airport, it is generally a good idea to keep your medication stored in its original packaging. This will help security to identify what you are carrying if they should happen to search your luggage and want to know more.
  • Buy a hanging wash bag - These nifty little bags are perfect for storing your toiletries and look very sleek!

As long as you are careful with how you pack your medication and you are able to provide supporting documents to prove that it is prescribed medication, then you should have no trouble in getting through airport security.

About this Guide

Written By Alex
Last Updated On June 21, 2022
Reading Time 
4 minutes
Guide Views 

Author Information


Related Guides

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CAPTCHA ImageChange Image

Lightweight Luggage is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to &
Our Location
© Copyright © by Lightweight Luggage Reviews. All rights reserved.
cross-circle linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram