Packing vitamins. Customs?

Old Jul 6th, 2013, 06:04 AM
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Packing vitamins. Customs?

We are traveling from the States to London, and then on to Belgium via train (11 days total). I take vitamins every day (10 capsules in all) and plan on taking them with me. But, I do not plan on taking each bottle, as they take up a lot of room. I plan on organizing them and saving space using those little plastic bags spare buttons come in from new clothing (one bag for each day).
Will I have any problems in customs since they won't be labeled? They will look like just "bags of pills" and I don't want any hassle, but I really want to save some space in my luggage.
Any info and advice appreciated. Thank you!
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Old Jul 6th, 2013, 08:05 AM
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I'd say that IF you are stopped and they see them then you probably will have some hassle. Clearly, you will eventually be allowed on your way since you will not be doing anything illegal in carrying vitamins but that's not the point is it.

While the chances of being stopped may be low, people do get stopped at random and no one can guarantee you that it won't be you that gets stopped.

I'd say either take them in their bottles or don't take them at all. Going 11 days without them isn't going to kill you is it?
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Old Jul 6th, 2013, 08:33 AM
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No problem at all.

You do not need the original bottles or even labels. Even TSA which is generally 'twitchier' than most European agencies won't blink an eye at vitamins, OTC drugs, or even most prescription meds packed in baggies or those weekly pill organizers. The agents have seen every sort of pill/capsule.

I'd probably put the small baggies into one larger baggie.
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Old Jul 6th, 2013, 01:56 PM
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I usually try to peel the labels off of the vitamin bottles if possible, and stick them on the baggies.

Since I only do carry-on luggage, try to avoid any that are liq
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Old Jul 6th, 2013, 02:01 PM
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liquid gel...or put them in the 1 qt baggie.

So far I have been asked if I have prescription drugs and my luggage has been looked at, but it hasn't been a problem since I have the labels.

Most of my recent travel has been in/out countries in South America, the inspectors are not necessarily familiar with vitamin forms that do not originate in their own continent. It's was an interesting and costly experience buying "Calcio" at a pharmacy, vitamins are not readily available OTC in many countries.
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Old Jul 7th, 2013, 10:57 AM
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Over the past 30 years we've travel all over the world on numerous extended trips (anywhere from 10 days to 6 months) and have never once been questioned about our prescription drugs and/or over the counter medicines or vitamins we have brought with us. Except for the very long trips we rarely take them in the "original bottles".
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Old Jul 8th, 2013, 03:33 PM
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The plural of anecdote is not data.

Any anecdotal evidence of what one person has encountered or not encountered does not mean another person will not encounter something different.

No matter how many people say it never happened to them, there is no guarantee it will not happen to YOU. What WOULD be evidence is if someone could provide a link that shows NO ONE has ever been stopped for carrying pills.

I can assure you that no one is going to provide that DATA. In fact all of these responses ASSUME that if checked your word that they are vitamins and not prescription drugs will be taken at face value. Good luck with that one.

In most countries, it is illegal to carry prescrition medications in an unlabelled container. You can be ARRESTED for that even if you actually have a prescription for them. How will the person checking you know they are vitamins? They won't, simple as that. So you MAY get hassled. Eventually, yes, you will be let go since carrying vitamins is not ilegal anywhere but what will you have to go through before they let you go? That is the question no one can answer, WHAT IF?

No one here is going to guarantee you that you will not have a problem. So you either choose to risk it or don't risk it. Perfectly innocent people get held up in airports on suspicion of something every single day.
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Old Jul 8th, 2013, 09:10 PM
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>>In most countries, it is illegal to carry prescrition medications in an unlabelled container. You can be ARRESTED for that even if you actually have a prescription for them.<<

That relates to <u>controlled</u> substances. Not vitamins or most prescriptions. If one is carrying opiates and such -- OF COURSE take the labels. But for regular meds OTC/Prescription/supplements it is not required.

Not anecdotal at all . . . the TSA website says original containers and labels are not required. The British website says approx the same thing. For the UK one needs the prescription or a letter from doctor >>for <u>liquid</u> meds over 100ml.<<
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Old Jul 9th, 2013, 07:49 AM
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I realize the rules say you do not need labels for vitamins janisj. That is not the point.

What no one can tell the OP is what the individual Customs agent will choose to do on the day.

Consider these scenerios:

Suppose the OP looks like a druggy to the Agent. Hmm, let's check his stuff. Hmm, unlabelled pills here.

Suppose the OP looks average but is a nervous kind of person around authority figures. Hmm, why is he sweating and hesitant in his answers. Hmm, unlabelled pills here.

Suppose the Agent had a fight with his wife/husband that morning and is in a miserable mood. Further supppose the Agent being only human, takes it out on the OP. Exercises his/her power simply because s/he can.

There are all kinds of anecdotal scenerios that people can give including ones that do not work out well for the person being stopped by Customs for a random inspection. All are equally as real.

The percentage changes of being stopped are low but IF stopped and if any of the above scenerios or others happens to take place then it can be a hassle.

I think when giving advice to fellow travellers there is a responsibility to respond with caveats. Some questions have a straightforward factual answer. Others do not. This one does not.

Yes the rule says you don't need labelled bottles for vitamins. NO, that does not mean you might not get hassled regardless of the rule. What it DOES mean is that in the end you will be allowed on your way since you will not have contravened any rule or law.

So while it is fine to say, 'you probably won't have any problem but there are no guarantees', that is not the same as saying, 'no problem'. One statement has the caveat while the other is stated as an absolute.
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Old Jul 9th, 2013, 08:18 AM
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I have never had vitamins questioned, unlabeled in those Mon-Sun type containers.

Besides the worst that will happen is they could in theory take them away and throw them out.

I have never seen or heard of anyone held up in a airport because they had vitamins in their bag.
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Old Jul 9th, 2013, 09:30 AM
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jeeze louise improvisor. You do realize in ANY of your scenarios the traveler could be hassled whether the drugs/vitamins are labeled or not. If someone looks dodgy or overly nervous/acting suspiciously - they are going to go through everything w/ a fine tooth comb any way. Having a label/bottle wouldn't prevent that.
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Old Jul 10th, 2013, 07:54 AM
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My point janis, really isn't about the pills, it's about giving definitive answers to a question for which there is no definitive answer. 'No problem' is not the same as 'not likely to be a problem but there are no guarantees'.

In the OP's case, the only logical answer is the above. 'You are not likely to get asked about them but there is no guarantee you will not or that it will not mean some degree of hassle.'

Suze, "the worst that will happen is they could in theory take them away and throw them out."

Your kidding right? You don't actually beleive that that is all that might happen to someone if Customs questions unlabelled pills. You can't really be that naive.
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Old Jul 10th, 2013, 08:04 AM
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They are vitamins, not narcotics. What are you saying could happen?
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Old Jul 10th, 2013, 11:15 AM
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<<<Will I have any problems in customs since they won't be labeled? They will look like just "bags of pills" and I don't want any hassle, but I really want to save some space in my luggage.>>>

Ignoring the ranting above, I've never been questioned at all about pills and I don't know anyone who has. You're probably more likely to get hit by a bus than run into issues with taking OTC pills with you in little baggies. If anything is prescription then take the prescription label (most pharmacies will print it for you so that you don't have to scrape it off the bottle).

If you're worried about it, it might be a good idea to keep a list of what you have so that if the stars align and someone actually asks you what you have you can tell them the official name of whatever your pills are. If you're *really* worried about it, peel off the labels and take them with.
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Old Jul 11th, 2013, 07:02 AM
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Gilly, all you need to know is in my first response.

"While the chances of being stopped may be low, people do get stopped at random and no one can guarantee you that it won't be you that gets stopped."

All the rest is supposition and naivity.

Suze, ANYTHING can happen when you travel and deal with officialdom. YOU cannot guarantee the OP that it won't. I don't know what you want me to tell you beyond that.

You remind me of the old cliche about the traveller who is stopped and questioned by an official and says, 'You can't do that, I'm an American citizen!' As if that matters in another country. When you travel, you are always at the mercy of any official you encounter.

If a Customs official says, 'I don't know what these pills are. You say they are vitamins but I want to have them analyzed.', then that is what is going to happen. If that means you spend 4 hours sitting in a little room with the door locked while that happens, too bad. No one, including YOU can change that.

I'm done with this thread now. All that is happening is it is going around in circles because some don't want to accept the simple reality of it. Even if the chances of being stopped
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Old Jul 11th, 2013, 07:05 AM
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Hit wrong button.

Even if the chances of being stopped are .0001%, no one can GUARANTEE that the .0001 being stopped will not be the OP. End of story.
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Old Jul 11th, 2013, 07:59 AM
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>>All that is happening is it is going around in circles because some don't want to accept the simple reality of it.<<

No, some (one) won't accept that he is wrong. So now you plan based on a .0001% chance? Travel advice is one thing - lecturing over and over and over is something else. You are not right to the exclusion of everyone else. (Except in your own mind)
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Old Jul 11th, 2013, 09:05 AM
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<You remind me of the old cliche about the traveller who is stopped and questioned by an official and says, 'You can't do that, I'm an American citizen!'>

You are so completely wrong about me, it isn't even funny.

That you jump to me being a US-centric idiot because I think this person can pack their vitamins any ole way they please, is nothing less than ridiculous.
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Old Jul 14th, 2013, 11:19 AM
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Don't feed the troll. Me Me Me Me Me.
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Old Jul 14th, 2013, 01:04 PM
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Well, I suppose I could agree with you janisj and suze and make you feel good but then that would just mean all 3 of us had got it wrong. LOL

Let me simplify my position for you both and you can either or disagree one last time.

'Can I take unlabelled vitamins on my travels?' The answer is, yes you can.

'Will I have any probems with Customs anywhere if I do so?' The answer is, no one can guarantee you will not.

Agree or disagree ladies? The second is actually the question the OP asked. So are you going to ASSURE the OP or anyone else that they are guaranteed not to have a problem?
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