T Nation

Travelling With Supplements

I’m going away travelling for a few months and was going to take some supplements with me.

Does anyone have any experience of going through international airports with them? Did you get stopped or have them taken from you?

I’m thinking of taking MRPs, protein powder, fish capsules and maybe some ZMA and tribulus.

I know that airports can be fairly anal about stuff like this…

I had no prob going from US to Japan, China and Thailand with a bag full of Protein, and various stuffs as long as its personal use you should be fine.

Where are you going to be travelling to? If you’re travelling to Asia, then maybe you shouldn’t take protein powders (I’m thinking of Thailand here).

I’ve travelled between Europe, the US, South Africa and South America, and have never had anything taken away from me (although I have had some interesting conversations with security/customs officials). Here are some simple guidelines for you:

  • Whenever possible, transport your pills/powders in the original, unopened container.

  • Don’t carry pills in anonymous bottles. If you want to save space by not carrying 100 vit C pills in their original (huge) 1000 count bottle, stick them in a smaller bottle, but make sure it’s also a supplement. Guards won’t know the difference between vit E and C, but if it says “vit something”, they’re less likely to get suspicious.

  • Don’t carry creatine or glutamine around. They are white powders, and they look like something else. Even if they’re in appropriate packaging, you could waste a lot of precious time while they figure out what they really are.

  • Be ready to consume any number of pills in front of a security guard to prove the pills are harmless (always carry a bottle of water, no, wait, that’s really dangerous now also; rats!)

  • Make sure you know exactly what each pill/powder does, and be prepared to give an impromptu talk about each supplement to a group of security guards. Maybe you should print out some T-Nation articles to help you out.

  • Minimise the amount of stuff you carry with you. I only ever have a day’s worth of supps in my carry-on, all the rest is tucked away in my checked luggage. Pack stuff towards the centre so they have enough padding. Put the laptop towards the outside, as it doesn’t matter if it breaks, but if your pills get smashed, then it’s a disaster. Get your priorities right.

  • When travelling to hot countries, remember to take your fish oils and vit Es out of the suitcase immediately and put them in the fridge. Having to use a penknife to cut open a bottle of fish oil and then use the little scissors to cut off a few geltabs is not fun. There is a reason the oil comes wrapped in gel.

If I can think of any more tips, I’ll let you know.

Wow, thanks, thats awesome.

Miserere:

The only place I’ll actually be going to in Asia is Hong Kong. I’ve checked their customs website and it seemed to be ok to take dietary supps.

New Zealand seemed a bit wacky, as they don’t like food being taken in (being a bunch of farmers). I’ve emailed their customs department though and I think it will be ok.

I’ll definitely be taking care of them and keeping the majority well padded in my hold luggage. It is a crime when good supplements go to waste!

Just to let you know Thialand will let you bring in protein powder. If its enough for personal use and well hell I brought like 16lbs, and met peopel who brought tons. No worreis they are more lax on it now.

Well New Zealand customs have cleared me. But the Ministry of Agriculture want to know if I have milk powder! I still think I’m in the clear though.

Thats good to know about Thailand Phill, I may go there within the next year or so.

[quote]
New Zealand seemed a bit wacky, as they don’t like food being taken in (being a bunch of farmers). I’ve emailed their customs department though and I think it will be ok.[/quote]

Ive travelled between NZ and Australia about a dozen times with all my supplements (creatine, whey, BCAA’s, vitamins etc) and had no problems at all. I don’t even worry about declaring them now. Usually if they think you’ve got drugs the sniffer dogs at the airport would have already got ya before ya get to customs so you should have no probs with NZ or Australia. Good Luck

[quote]VorteX wrote:
I’m going away travelling for a few months and was going to take some supplements with me.

Does anyone have any experience of going through international airports with them? Did you get stopped or have them taken from you?

I’m thinking of taking MRPs, protein powder, fish capsules and maybe some ZMA and tribulus.

I know that airports can be fairly anal about stuff like this…[/quote]

I fly around the US regularly and have never had a problem bringing any of my supplements, whether they are pills or powders, carry-ons or not. A couple months ago I also flew to London and back with out any issues, though I do not fly international often.

When carrying them on the plane I’ve had a security guard opened a container and shake it around, but I’ve never even been questioned about the contents. Even with the micronized Creatine, which I imagine would look most suspicious. The most they’ve done is swipe the brim of the container with a cloth and place it in some testing machine (you know, the same swipe they use on your bag if you are selected for the additional screening. I assume it tests for chemical residue, trace explosives, or some such thing).

If you are still worried about the possibility of having to answer any questions, I would just place your supplements in your checked luggage rather than your carry-on. Place them next to some workout clothes and they’ll get the hint. After all even if they don’t work-out themselves, I’m sure they’ve at least walked past a GNC before…

Thanks guys, thats good to know. I don’t wanna lose my valuable supps!

[quote]virid wrote:
After all even if they don’t work-out themselves, I’m sure they’ve at least walked past a GNC before…[/quote]

Have you seen the size of some of these guys/girls??? I don’t think most of 'em have even walked before!