Please note: There are no affiliate links in this post, and I’m not endorsing any particular brand of pillboxes or storage containers — just some ideas to keep you and your meds safe.
Let’s be real here for a minute: we all are taking pills these days, even if we’re not sick and are trying to stay well. Vitamins, Supplements, OTC medications, Prescription Meds — you name it, we sometimes and even regularly need it.
Keeping them all organized can be a bit of a pain, particularly when we’re on the go and traveling.
I always get asked about the best way to store and carry pills — be they OTCs, meds as needed, or prescription drugs. Here are a few considerations for you, and some of my personal favorites, particularly when you’re on the move and it’s hard to keep the meds in their original containers (which is really the preferred method, but sometimes, it’s just not practical.)
First: Keep an online and offline record of your meds
This can be as simple as taking pictures of your prescription labels and storing them in a safe place on your phone, or keeping a medication list inside your phone in the “notes” area of your phone. It’s really important to keep a list of them somewhere so that when you run into an issue, you can address what you have and where you got it filled. I’m a big fan of vial of life too by the way if you live alone and have severe medical issues when you may be incapacitated and can’t talk to your emergency rescue team about your condition. Or medical alert IDs, of which you can now see at sites like Etsy that are creative, pretty, and alert emergency responders. You can even wear jewelry now that contains glucose if you get hypoglycemic. I digress.
The point: keep records of what you’re taking — online and offline.
Second: Figure out how often you’ll need this med
Are you trying to store a small quantity of medication for emergencies (like epinephrine), for as-needed use (like ibuprofen), or do you need all the meds for a week or month of travel? Think ahead about what type of medication storage you’ll need before you go there. Also — you may discover that you need multiple storage containers for your medication for different needs.
Keep in mind where you store your meds is important too. Try not to store them in a super hot or super cold car, for example. Humidity is a nightmare for meds too (hint: bathrooms are not the best place to store your medication when at home, BTW). Do you need to temperature control your medications during storage?
Third: Free can be good
Look around your house, check all those junk drawers, and find out if you already have pill storage that you received for free in the past that you can simply start using now. For example, the classic 7-day pillboxes are a dime a dozen at most trade shows these days. Are you using them? Why or why not? Can you recycle a container you have for your meds without spending a penny? (I like this example.)
Fourth: Determine what storage is the best when away from home
I’m one of those weird women that do not carry a purse typically. (I know, weird, but having a bag of stuff that I drag around does not appeal to me.) However, when I travel, I am a big backpacker. So, I need to keep it light and on my back, so I don’t want to drag a bunch of pill bottles around either. What type of storage is good for you, based on how you travel? If you check your bags, that’s out too — because bags can be lost or stolen, so be sure to carry those life-saving drugs on board with you whenever you travel so you’re always covered.
Fifth: Winning Containers
- For PRN pills: If you are traveling light and may just need a few ibuprofen as an example, I am a fan of waterproof keychain med holders, like this one. Keep in mind, however, they only hold a few actual pills at a time, so if you are taking your meds regularly, this is not a good solution.
- For one week’s worth of pills: Maybe you want something more discreet and carry a purse, and you’ll be away for a week. This type of storage is great for dop kits and purses. It’s discreet and functional and can store up to 7 days of daily medications.
- For one week’s worth of pills, up to 4 times per day: you may need a hard-core carrier that compartmentalized morning, noon, afternoon and night dosing. If so, there are plenty of options — here are some from Amazon and Walmart. If you need 2-week storage 4X per day, this pretty and discreet organizer is a good one.
- Cold storage or injectable storage: One of my favorite of Mr. Cuban’s investments on Shark Tank was a company called Stealth Bros & Co, for those who need injectables and to port them around. Couples with fertility drugs may want to consider containers like this, particularly when having to combine oral and injectable medications. (Overall, I’m a huge fan of tackle boxes for a variety of storage ideas, and this one above isn’t intended as such, but I just wanted to mention that idea as well.) Storage of sharps for injections can be a challenge as well on the go.
- Don’t forget your pill splitter: Does anybody out there split their medications? I do. While not every medication can be split, several can be. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before you attempt this with your own medications, but it can be a way to save storage space and money — by splitting pills. I’d recommend NOT spending a bunch of money on a pill splitter either because the blades get dull pretty fast and by spending less money, you can ultimately recycle the old dull one for a new one inexpensively. Something under $5 should work nicely, like this.
There. Just some med storage ideas from your friendly pharmacist when you’re on the go. There are a lot of choices out there, thankfully — but hope these ideas help!