Have Meds, Will Travel

Organization helps me stay positive. Especially when it comes to organizing all my medicine.

I don’t prepare for a trip like a normal person, say someone with two kidneys.  This past weekend I had an assembly line party of pill packing and the party consisted of my pills, pillboxes and me.

I was excited as I systematically arranged many days worth of pills, because I knew I would be taking them in Maui! Today, Noah and I are headed off on a vacation/honeymoon to celebrate our upcoming 1-year wedding anniversary on September 17th. Noah’s uncle has a condo on the beach in Maui and gave us 10 nights there as a wedding present. We are beyond excited and I look forward to sharing pictures and our adventures with you when we return.

The medicine us transplant recipients take are vital to our well-being and the longevity of our health and transplanted organ. I do not take this lightly. I am very conscientious of my health and very strict with my pill regimen and the importance of taking every pill, every day, on time.

I have an Excel spreadsheet that records all my medicine names, dosages and the times I take them. This document includes information about any allergies I have and serious medical conditions. I keep a copy of this in my wallet at all times and Noah has one as well. It is very helpful at doctor visits. If I go into the hospital and am not feeling well enough to talk, I give this to the nurse and doctor to review my medical history and meds.

I store all my medicine bottles in my dresser drawer…

I have a pillbox with mini containers that are labeled with the individual medicine names. I do this because it is easy to pop this container open at night and load my daily pill container with all my meds for the next day. It is very important to keep all original bottles to be able to verify expiration dates and reorder dates. Plus, having this container allows me to cover it with inspirational quotes and fun stickers. It makes me smile when I open it and is a constant reminder to stay positive.

Whenever I travel, I pack enough pills for the entire trip and then I double that. So for this trip, I packed 11 days worth of pills for the trip, and then for 11 extra days. I always keep an extra supply with me. I will keep these in my carry-on bag and Noah will carry the extra supply in his carry-on. I also pack extras of all of my meds and will have them in my checkin bag just to be triple sure I have enough. I feel this covers all bases in case a bag is lost or stolen.

Not having enough meds, losing them, or having them stolen could ruin the whole trip. Being this organized puts me at ease and allows me to relax and enjoy traveling.

I will have to take medicine every day for the rest of my life. Immediately following my transplant, I was so overwhelmed by all the meds I had to take. Now it is part of my daily routine. I appreciate them so much because they allow me to enjoy life, travel and see amazing places.

What tips can you share that have helped you to stay organized with your health and or taking medicine?


  1. Brenda Beers

    My husband John also has PKD and has had a transplant and he is a backpacker. We use EZ Dose Pill Pouches for his hiking trips. They are small and lightweight and have a place to write the date and time. The plastic daily pill containers can come open in the jumble of a backpack. The pouches keep everything tidy and organized. Like you, he is never without his list of meds.

    • Valen Keefer

      Hi Brenda,
      I never heard of the EZ dose pill pouches before. Thank you so much for sharing this valuable information with all of us. With loving the outdoors, these sound great. I will for sure check them out. Thanks a lot for sharing your advice.

  2. Liz Davey

    I received a transplant two years ago from a very dear friend. We are both doing great. I wish I could get a 90 day supply of my all my meds instead of just 30 for the immunosuppresants. At this point I would like to do more traveling and I find it sometimes difficult to plan around the monthly order.

    • Valen Keefer

      Hi Liz,
      So wonderful to hear that you and your dear friend are doing great. Curious why you can only get a 30 day supply. I hope that can change at some point to a 90 day supply to give you more flexibility. I wonder if your doctor could help switch it to 90?

  3. Nancie Nelson

    I number each of my medicine bottles and coordinate the numbers to my list on paper. I use …www.my-meds.com/
    I find this web site easy to use and easy to change..as our med’s seem to change so often. I too, am extremely organized, I am so very grateful to have a new kidney and blessed. I call my Med organizing…..my “part-time” job !!!

    • Valen Keefer

      Hi Nancie,
      The part-time job comment is oh-so true. Thank you for sharing how you organize your meds. Great advice for all of us. 🙂

  4. lynda mcleod

    I too find that a 90 day supply of drugs works much better for me. My travelling hasnt needed to be curtailed having them prescribed this way

    • Valen Keefer

      Hi Lynda,
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts with all of us. I would struggle with a 30 day supply myself and am thankful I am able to work with a 90 day supply. Take care and hope you continue to share your advice/comments with all of us!

  5. Barb Seidman

    At first I used small ziplock bags labeled Monday a.m. , Monday mid a.m. , Monday dinner and Monday bedtime. Each day’s bags went into a larger bag. After several years I just put a day’s worth of pills into a ziplock bag. I, too found the plastic containers to be bulky, not the right size, and too easy to pop open.

    • Valen Keefer

      Hi Barb,
      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and advice. I struggled to find the right containers to hold all of my pills, but recently found some nice ones at Walgreen’s. The snaps seem pretty good for now, but to be extra sure when I travel, I put a rubber band around them and put then in a ziplock bag. 🙂 Hope you are feeling well. Nice to connect with you on here! 🙂

  6. Wdndy Crowder

    I to travel like this! I have 14 days of pills, I also carry all medication in a seperate bag an carry my extra pills in my purse. I have a Vera Bradley pill box it only gives me 4 days however it is always in my purse. I always have my phone with me an have the alarm set for all the times I take my medication. Easy reminder! When my pill boxes start to open on their own or become to easy @ Barb Seidman I buy new ones, they get used everyday so the snaps do become easy to open.
    Traveling comes with packing an lots of stuff to do! Packing an preparing my life long pills to keep my one an only kidney working is a part of it. I embrace this an enjoy knowing I will have a stress free vacation. This applies even when I go for a night to visit my son his wife an my grandbaby in North Carolina. Just Incase! I used to have a pretty box however my grandbaby is 2 an thought it was great! So I have put that up for now!
    I wear an ID bracelet with all my information on a flash drive. I also carry it in my purse! The excel form is awesome THANKS Galen an Enjoy! <3

    • Valen Keefer

      Hi Dear Wendy,
      Thank you so much for sharing your routine with all of us. Sounds like you sure are on top of it and that is wonderful! 🙂 Such great advice! Hope you are feeling great! Miss you! xo

  7. Margaret Hurley

    It’s great to be organized when you travel however both my nephrologist and the airlines have srongly suggested that I take the original pill bottles instead of pill boxes due to security,so they can easily identify the meds.Also if something should happen and they disappear(someone I know had their meds stolen while on vacation) you can then get them replaced much easier.
    Peritoneal dialysis didn’t stop me travelling and it’s much easier with a transplant!

    • Valen Keefer

      Hi Margaret,
      Thank you for sharing this information. I never heard to take the original pill bottles before. That always scared me, because if they were stolen then I wouldn’t have any of my information or rx numbers and then the person who stole them or would find them would have all of my info. Right after I got my transplant, I was new to the whole med thing, and I used to carry all of my pills with me in their original bottles. I learned my lesson quick when my car was broken into and they stole all of my meds and I was completely out. That was scary and not fun. Thank you for sharing your advice and I’m so glad to hear that dialysis did not stop you from traveling! 🙂


Submit a Comment

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






Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email