If you're bringing any prescription drugs that are addictive, or that could be abused or resold (such as tranquilizers or painkillers), you may want to bring a doctor's note. I've heard that you should always bring medications in their original bottles, with their original prescriptions (to make it clear that you are not drug smuggling), but I've done many border crossings and nobody has ever cared about medications at all.
Make sure that you bring your medications in a carry-on bag (not your checked luggage), because checked luggage can be lost.
Outside the US, I have noticed that pharmacists play a more "active" role in the dispensing of medication than they do in the US. A pharmacist will discuss your symptoms and select an appropriate medication for you (maybe even medications that would have required a prescription in the US.) The American experience of walking into a pharmacy and browsing through the boxes of medication does not seem to be as common...but I have never had problems getting medications (possibly because the pharmacist has the authority to prescribe on the spot?)
Regarding money -- definitely call your bank and ensure that your debit card is activated to work overseas. Then, use your debit card in ATMs to withdraw all your money, because you will almost always get the best exchange rate that way. Your debit card is more likely to work if it has a VISA logo.
I've gotten flak on this forum for pointing this out in the past, but if your debit card was issued by a large national bank, it's likely that they have an agreement with some banks in England to waive your ATM fees (which can be sizable abroad). For example, if you have a Bank of America debit card, you can use it in Barclay's ATMs in England with no fees. If you have such a card, seek out a list of these banks.
You will also be able to use a credit card (if you call your bank first), but do not use a credit card in ATMs unless you want to pay ridiculous fees. Bring enough US currency to last a couple days, which you could exchange at the airport if you find that your debit card does not work after all.
Finally, don't forget that England uses the Pound, while Europe uses the Euro...
[quote="ac_claire, post:1, topic:182406"]
I'll be travelling to England in a few weeks and had a couple of questions. I'll probably think of some more along the way, and post them here as I go.
First, if you have any prescription medications, do you have to do anything special to travel with them? I assume just having them with you in your carry-on bag would be the safest bet, is that right? Also, what about over the counter medications? For instance, I us Benedryl for allergies and to help me sleep sometimes. I don't know if it's even available over the counter in England, so I was thinking I'd just bring some. Can I safely/legally do that?
Second thing: money. How do I go about getting some spending money in the local currency there? Failing that, will my debit card (drawn on a US bank) work overseas?