For many people, antacids are essential when visiting a new place.
Between the stress of traveling and the different food, it’s no surprise that some of us experience a little tummy trouble along the way.
TUMS is a popular brand of non-prescription chewable antacids used to relieve heartburn and stomach upset. Fortunately, the TSA allows TUMS (and other antacids) on a plane, but pills and other solid medicines may be subject to additional screening. You can pack medication in checked bags, but the TSA strongly advises bringing them in your carry-on.
When it comes to TUMS and antacids, I recommend putting them in your hand luggage so they are easily accessible in the case of discomfort.
You’re not required to declare solid medications to the TSA, nor are you required to show your prescriptions.
If your meds aren’t in their original packaging, labeling them helps the TSA officer know what they are.
TSA Rules for Medication
The guidelines below provide a clearer picture of what the TSA requires when bringing medication in your carry-on luggage.
Some don’t apply to antacids but are important nonetheless.
The TSA doesn’t require medication to be labeled, but they recommend it to ease the screening process.
It’s especially important if you have other meds alongside your antacids.
They also encourage passengers to check with local state laws regarding prescription medication labels to ensure they follow the rules.
You don’t need to declare pills and solid medicine, but you are required to do so if carrying liquid medication.
2. 3-1-1 Liquids Rule Exemption
The TSA’s 3-1-1 rule limits the volume and amount of liquids, gels, and aerosols passengers can bring in their carry-on luggage.
Each traveler is permitted one quart-sized (1L) plastic bag of liquids (et al.), and each container must be 3.4 oz (100 mL) or less in volume.
This rule does not apply to liquid medications.
Antacids like Gaviscon come in liquid form, and the TSA allows you to carry larger amounts than usual.
Unlike solid medicines (e.g., TUMS), the only requirement is to declare any liquid medications to the TSA agent when you go through security.
Everything you bring in your carry-on luggage must go through the x-ray scanner, and the TSA may test all liquids (including gels and aerosols) for explosives and illegal substances.
They will only use these additional screening procedures if the scan doesn’t clear the substance.
In this situation, you’ll be asked to open the bottle and pour the liquid into a container for testing.
However, you are permitted to decline this form of testing and are entitled to an alternative procedure.
The officers will then utilize a different (but more time-consuming) process, including additional screening of your other personal items.
4. Adherence to the Law
Each U.S. state has different laws regarding which substances are permitted within their borders and how they are to be labeled, carried, and administered.
The TSA operates under U.S. federal law, so if a particular item is legal in your state but prohibited in federal statutes (e.g., cannabis products), it won’t clear airport security.
This rule rarely applies to antacids, but it’s one to keep in mind when carrying other medications.
Are There Any Issues Carrying TUMS on a Plane?
There are no issues with carrying TUMS on a plane.
In fact, many airports sell TUMS or similar brands of chewable antacids in retail locations before and after the security checkpoint.
Since TUMS is a solid medication, the TSA doesn’t require you to declare it, and they won’t ask for a prescription. Passengers can also carry unlimited amounts of solid medication in either their carry-on or checked bags.
You don’t need to label your antacids even if they’re not in their original packaging (although doing so reduces the chances of further screening).
The only scenario that requires extra caution is if you’re traveling internationally.
Antacids aren’t a problem for customs officers, but I recommend keeping them in their original packaging so they’re easy to identify.
If traveling with medications specific to you or certain rare medical conditions, I recommend doing some research to ensure you follow all laws at your destination.
Where To Pack Your Medication
You should always pack medicine in your carry-on, whether they’re antacids or prescription drugs.
If you’re traveling for a long period of time, I recommend dividing up your medication and storing it in different bags.
That way, if you lose your bag, you won’t find yourself without your meds.
If all you’re bringing is antacids, you can likely find them anywhere, so losing them isn’t a cause for concern.
I don’t recommend traveling with a large supply of TUMS unless your destination doesn’t have the kind you like or sells them at an excessive price.
Otherwise, just pack what you’ll need during the flight and stock up when you land.
Traveling with medication is fairly straightforward, and you rarely spend additional time at the security checkpoint unless the meds aren’t labeled or are in liquid form.
Antacids such as TUMS are among the most common medication types, and bringing them on a plane is unlikely to cause any problems.
Other situations are more specific to the drug, but you have nothing to worry about if the medication is legal.
If you’re traveling with other medicines and are unsure whether you’ll get past airport security, contact the TSA at @AskTSA on Facebook Messenger or Twitter.
They’ll assess your situation and provide a clearer answer for your particular circumstances.