Planning ahead for medication travel can help to avoid spending precious vacation time at the pharmacy counter, or calling their doctor.

Mark Brueckl is the assistant director of pharmacy affairs at the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy. He says that one of the most common errors consumers make when they take too much medication on vacation. He suggests taking only enough medication for your trip plus one to two extra days.

Brueckl says that vacationers may forget to store their medication properly because they are having fun. Check with your pharmacist to make sure that any prescriptions you have are not sensitive to heat, sunlight or moisture. You should never expose medicine to high heat.

A common error is to wait until the last minute to refill prescriptions. Brueckl states that some customers may be confronted by a pharmacy that does not have the drug in stock.

You can also travel with drugs.

* Pack medications in your carry-on luggage. You won’t miss any doses if your luggage is lost or delayed.

* Photocopy important documents and/or cards in case your wallet is lost or stolen, or if something happens to your luggage. Keep a copy of every document in your luggage and carry-on items.

* Ask your doctor for a letter outlining your health conditions and prescriptions, including the dosages and scientific names of all medicines you’re taking. This information is important in case you are stopped by customs, or need to seek mediations abroad because of an emergency.

* Call the consulate of the country you’re visiting and ask if there are any restrictions on bringing medications in to the country (

* Important items to pack: first aid kit, health insurance and prescription cards, medical summary, supply of medicines in original pharmacy bottles, medicines for common travel issues (pain, antacid, laxative, diarrhea medicine, antihistamine, cough medicine, motion sickness medicine), sunscreen, lip balm and insect repellant, bracelet for life-threatening allergies.

The Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy is a national professional association of pharmacists and other health care practitioners who serve society by using sound medication-management principles and strategies to improve health care for all. You can find more information about AMCP at the web site.