Medications – Prescription and Over the Counter…

If you have never travelled out of the country for more than a few days you may be wondering what to do about prescription and over the counter medications that you may need.

This is not a simple thing. Medications – even over the counter medications can have a very different formula in a foreign country and you would need to see a doctor which can get very expensive at a resort.

So, what do you bring, how do you bring enough and what do you do if you run out?

Prescription Medications

You really need to do your best to try and bring the right amount of prescription medications for a visit out of country.

This requires planning ahead. You may need to go to your doctor or pharmacist and try to get a re-fill ahead of time to insure you have enough to bring with you.

You need to factor in emergencies, delays and travel days and make sure to bring several extra pills to get through extra days just to be sure.

If a medication is life saving or if you would be in serious trouble without a medication, then you should pack a duplicate prescription in a separate bag just in case.

If you need to go to the doctor to get a new prescription in Jamaica, then it will mean an expensive trip and lost vacation time! And you may not be able to get what you need quickly.

However – do NOT hesitate to call the doctor if you really need something – the doctor’s are excellent and they will take very good care of you.

Over The Counter Medications

This gets a little bit trickier as you don’t want to take an entire medicine cabinet of stuff just in case your tummy hurts a bit, but on the other hand – searching for a Tylenol when you have a hang over is not fun!

The gift shop has a few items and this should be your first stop if you need something but it’s going to be expensive and will come in tiny packages. Perfect for the occasional hang over, not so perfect if you trip on a rock and roll your ankle and need several pills.

Going to the store from the resort is not cheap – about $40 for a taxi – and the first store may not have what you need.

So, what do you really, really need in over the counter medications? Read on to find out.

Anti-Nausea, Anti-Diarrhea and heartburn

Traveller’s diarrhea is a real thing.

In our experiences in Jamaica – we have not had a problem with this as the water in your faucets are safe to drink.

Some of the Couples resorts have even taken a step further and installed whole resort water filtration systems so their water is very safe to drink.

We have experienced mild stomach irritation and the occasional heart burn so some Tums, Pepto-Bismal and Pepsid get packed just in case.

So far we have always returned with full bottles of Pepto but the Tums gets opened every time.

Note that if your stomach is just a bit on the upset side and you don’t have anything to take – Ginger Ale – or even better – Pepsi Ginger can help sooth an irritated stomach.

Anti-Itch, Anti-Histamine and After Bite

You will most likely get bit by some kind of bug on your trip. Probably just a mosquito and so bringing these are usually just a precaution.

However, I have had the unfortunate experience of wandering into areas with lot’s of mosquitoes (I wander off the beaten path so…) and I’ve been swarmed!

A good “After Bite” with some lidocaine can come in handy.

In that situation I was bitten so many times that my skin became very sensitive and itched like crazy if I got any new bites or irritations – I needed to take an anti-histamine to get my skin to calm down.


If you have allergies, you may be in for a pleasant surprise as Jamaica will have different irritants, pollen etc.. and so you may not have any problems at all!

We live in the Southeast and have allergies during spring but in Jamaica we have had no problems.

However, if you do need an allergy pill, some of the newer kinds are more difficult to find and will be very expensive so throwing some in your suitcase is a good idea.

Small First Aid Kit

You don’t need a tackle box full of supplies, just the basics – band aids, alcohol swabs and some Neosporin or other anti-bacterial ointment.

I usually need this more for keeping bug bites from getting infected than anything else but I have cut or scratched myself on a couple of occasions.

You don’t really need cold packs (get it from the bar), or wraps and such because if you do sprain something (usually by rolling ankle) – you’ll just stay off of it covered in ice so the wrap is pointless…

Tiger Balm

This one is optional, but I have found it to be very useful on occasion. If you are unfamiliar with Tiger balm, it is a very strong ointment that comes in a small package (Ok for a carry on).

It can be used for a lot of things. Soothing your aching neck after the plane ride. Easing pain on your foot after you bang it on the lounger.

But the one thing that it’s really, really good for too is the worst bug bites.

Every other trip, I will get bit by either a spider or a Fly that itches like crazy! It leaves a huge welt that goes away after a couple of days but for a solid day or two it will itch non stop…. Until I put the Tiger Balm on it…

Cold/Cough Medicine, Decongestant – anything to get over being sick…

This is where I draw the line! I want to be healthy on vacation so by packing this stuff it’s kind of a self full filling prophecy.

So I leave that stuff at home as you can easily obtain these items from the gift shop or a local store.

Honestly – if you’re that sick, then your spouse will likely need to go to the store anyway as that’s probably not all you’ll need.

Fortunately, I can only count 2 days out of 100+ that I had a bit of a head cold in Jamaica. The sauna at CSS and the Steam Room at CTI helped me get over the congestion without medication.

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