Modafinil and Travel | What You MUST Know

Tomas Thorne

Last Updated: February 2, 2023


Mixing Modafinil and travel together can lead to incredible on-the-go productivity for any digital nomad or business executive.

The reality of being productive while being far away from home is dismal for many travelers. You have to deal with multiple time zone changes, less-than-favorable working circumstances, and your mind doesn’t exactly associate your destination with working as hard as possible.

But you still need to get things done during international travel and Modafinil may be the answer you’re looking for.

If you work while on the road, there’s no need to make things harder than they are. Modafinil and travel can ensure productivity while allowing you to fully enjoy the exotic locale you’re exploring.

Which brings up several questions…

Can you bring Modafinil on a plane, and is it illegal to travel internationally with Modafinil? If so, the next logical question is how to bring Modafinil on a plane without worrying about losing your limited supply.

This article will aim to answer all of the above questions as definitively as possible.

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Disclaimer: The contents of are for informational and educational purposes only. We do not provide legal advice. Likewise, we do not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult your physician prior to consuming Modafinil or related nootropics. Your access to is subject to our full Disclaimer and Terms of Use.

What is Modafinil?

Before we can have a discussion about Modafinil and travel, let’s talk about why Modafinil shows so much useful potential for frequent travelers…

Modafinil is known as a “eugeroic” – which means it promotes and enhances your current state of wakefulness. Although it was approved for treating narcolepsy in France in the 1990s, it has since been approved for treating the same condition in numerous countries around the world.

More specifically, Modafinil can treat excessive daytime sleepiness within the following 3 conditions [1]:

  • Narcolepsy
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Shift work sleep disorder

Yet Modafinil is best known for its off-label use as a cognition enhancer. In healthy adults who are either sleep-deprived or not, Modafinil can help people make fewer mistakes, work faster, and experience far less fatigue [2].

This would explain why people from a wide variety of professional backgrounds are openly admitting to using Modafinil. Entrepreneurs, Ivy League students, business executives, surgeons, and more are starting to tap into Modafinil’s productivity-boosting effects.


Modafinil and Travel | The Basics

Modafinil’s applications are fairly straightforward in nature. Whether it’s getting better grades on a test or meeting impossibly tight deadlines at your job, any smart drug user immediately knows what they want to get out of using Modafinil.

But the same cannot be said for tying international travel and Modafinil together. Why would someone want to have this drug on their person when traveling overseas?

It turns out that non-prescribed Modafinil use has been standard practice amongst U.S. federal government officials for several decades. At least according to a Politico investigation accusing White House physician Ronny Jackson of carelessly dispensing pills to patients [3]:

“Ronny Jackson, the White House physician who is battling to save his nomination to be the secretary of veterans affairs, regularly handed out the sleep drug Ambien and the alertness drug Provigil to West Wing officials traveling on overseas flights.”

“…casual use of some prescription drugs is an established fact of life at the highest echelons of government.”

“…the charges that Jackson liberally doled out sleep drugs may not be enough to disqualify him in the eyes of lawmakers on Capitol Hill — because, they say, they use them liberally, too.”

Back in 2010, many reporters even suspected former President Obama of regularly using Modafinil off-label to counteract the drowsiness associated with jet lag [4]:

“Obama’s doctor, Navy Capt. Jeffrey Kuhlman, didn’t say what drug the president might be taking to fight the mind-numbing effects of crossing too many time zones.

But sleep doctors we consulted say one possibility is Provigil, a stimulant that is regularly prescribed to help people fend off excessive sleepiness.”

“…’If they’re going to give him something to wake him up, Provigil is the way to go,’ says Dr. Lisa Shives, medical director of Northshore Sleep Medicine in Evanston, Illinois.”

But is there more to Modafinil and travel than merely fighting jet lag? Are there other undiscovered benefits of airplane travel when Modafinil is involved?

Benefits of Traveling with Modafinil

While most don’t consider mixing Modafinil and travel together, the combination is surprisingly potent. Several high-level digital nomads and freelancers will frequently use Modafinil to maximize their experience while on the road.

Here are some of the benefits we’ve heard from research subjects…

Modafinil Conquers Jet Lag

Those politicians mentioned earlier are using something else alongside Modafinil: A sleep-inducing drug such as Ambien.

In one medical case study, a 38-year-old professional used 200 mg of Modafinil upon waking and 10 mg of Zolpidem upon sleeping during a business trip to the United Arab Emirates from the United States (an 8-hour time zone difference).

He was able to stay functional during his trip, return back to the United States, discontinue both drugs, and resume his usual schedule without any unwanted side effects [5].

Likewise, armodafinil (the longer-lasting isomer of Modafinil) at 150 mg per day and nothing else “increased wakefulness after eastward travel through 6 time zones” and helped patients overcome sleepiness induced by jet lag [6]. Sadly, it was never approved by the FDA for treating jet lag disorder due to a supposed lack of data robustness [7].

Modafinil Beats Fatigue

In people who suffer from excessive sleepiness due to working late night shifts, Modafinil can be the pick-me-up they need to stay alert both during and after the job [8]:

“Treatment with 200 mg of modafinil reduced the extreme sleepiness that we observed in patients with shift-work sleep disorder and resulted in a small but significant improvement in performance as compared with placebo”

This makes Modafinil a perfect way to squeeze in extra work when you have long pockets of empty time, but your body is unwilling to cooperate with your mental desire for focused work.

If it’s good enough for fighter pilots in the military, it’s good enough for frequent travelers [9]!

Modafinil Increases Productivity

Due to Modafinil’s remarkable ability to improve cognition and thereby enhance your focus, it is entirely possible to remain productive for 10-15 hours on a 200-300 mg dose.

One of our test subjects is notorious for taking a Modafinil before a trip, working 2-4 hours while stuck in the airport, and getting 1-3 hours of additional work done on the flight. By the time he arrives at his destination, his work is done and he can fall asleep with a peaceful conscience.

If he has to work while at his destination, he blocks out an entire day for getting 10-15 hours worth of productivity work out of the way. The next reason will show you why he prefers this unorthodox approach.

Once you use a Modafinil day on the road, you can get back to enjoying your travels for 1-3 days before needing to work again. This on and off schedule is ideal for maximizing travel and work time.

Modafinil Allows For More “Fun Time”

If you follow the working schedule of our test subject mentioned above, you can spend your first day in a new city exploring your surroundings. You’ll be able to take full days off and check out a number of tourist attractions in one day.

More importantly, it will be far easier to adhere to a normal sleeping schedule (relative to your destination’s timezone). Our test subject can enjoy several days of non-stop enjoyment before needing to work again, thereby maximizing his travel time and work time through his “on and off” schedule.

Modafinil Doesn’t Make You Jittery

There’s no need to worry about the jitters or the energy crash that you get with stimulants such as caffeine. One individual’s experience with Modafinil during a trip to Japan from the United States sums it up best [10]:

“I had my doctor write me some for my last trip to Japan. (I live in Boston). I was pleasantly surprised. Seems more benign that a cup of coffee. You do not get jittery and if the dose is right no fast heartbeat. It doesn’t speed you up. It just makes you forget you are tired for a few hours. 100 mg taken about 8 in the morning – makes you feel Ok till about 5 or 6 pm. Then, you don’t crash hard-you just feel tired again.

I actually found it more helpful for the jet lag after I got back. I took it for the first two days and I was able to go into the office and not be a zombie.”

Modafinil Is Insanely Affordable

Modafinil and travel don’t necessarily have to be expensive. Since travelers are obsessed with the latest discounts on flight prices and all the infinite ways they can save money, they’ll be surprised to hear that Modafinil is quite cheap!

At under $1 per pill in many instances, you don’t have to break the bank to beat jet lag, crush your deadlines, and maximize your time in a new city.

Is it Illegal to Travel with Modafinil?

“Is it illegal to travel internationally with Modafinil? I’m doing this for the first time and I’m scared of getting into trouble!”

It’s very common to hear this question on forum posts discussing international travel and Modafinil. In order to save you endless hours of scrolling through the Internet, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about this “grey area” topic.

In the strictest and most technical sense of the international law, it is illegal to travel with Modafinil unless you have a legitimate prescription signed by a doctor.

Since it is a prescription-only drug in almost every country, Modafinil is only 100% legal when you use it by the book.

However, even with a legitimate script at your disposal, some countries are extremely strict about disallowing foreign travelers with certain prescription drugs in their luggage from crossing their borders [11]:

“For example, some countries, like Russia and the United Arab Emirates, do not recognize mental health issues as a health condition. Therefore, any drug that treats depression, anxiety or ADHD would be considered to be illegal, resulting in confiscation, or jail”

As you’ll see later on in the article, we have never heard of people needing to take extreme precautions when traveling with Modafinil. Nevertheless, we highly recommend looking up the relevant drug regulations and laws in the country you are traveling to [12].

Can You Bring Modafinil on a Plane?

Based on our detailed conversations with hundreds of veteran Modafinil users who have traveled both domestically and internationally, the answer is YES!

To illustrate how this is possible, we’ll further divide this section up into two parts: Our recommendations for actually bringing Modafinil on a plane, and how MUCH to bring on a plane.

How to Bring Modafinil on a Plane

Your best bet for carrying Modafinil on a plane is through your carry-on baggage in a normal pillbox that’s located within some kind of toiletry bag.

Usually with other vitamins and supplements you may be taking with you. This allows for easy access to your tablets, especially if you need a boost in cognition during a long flight.

However, with these recommendations comes several caveats:

  • DO NOT put Modafinil in checked luggage. Checked luggage can be damaged, have its delivery to your destination delayed, or get lost altogether. This will make your supply extremely difficult – if not impossible – to replace.
  • DO NOT ship your personal supply of Modafinil to your destination. For the same reasons listed above.
  • DO NOT act shady and suspicious, as if you are actively concealing something you are guilty of having. Suspicious attitudes breed further suspicion from airport security, and you know what happens next. Be cool, calm, and collected!

NOTE: If you have a real prescription for Modafinil, keep the tablets in their original packaging. Also, make sure you bring a physician’s note and a copy of the prescription.

While every government is different, the Transportation Security Administration in the United States will not require you to present your Modafinil to an officer or notify them about it, nor will you have to keep Modafinil in a prescription bottle [13].

SAFEST Amount of Modafinil to Bring on a Plane

As for how much Modafinil to carry at any given time, your best bet is a 30-day supply strictly intended for personal use.

Some people carry 2-3 months’ worth of Modafinil yet we believe this is stretching it — certain countries will allow people to have this quantity of medication, others won’t.

If you really need more than 3 months’ of Modafinil during your stay, we recommend taking a 30-day supply and having more of it shipped to your destination by buying Modafinil online.

Any Concerns?

Can you bring Modafinil on a plane without any concerns whatsoever? The answer is both “yes” and “no”.

There are only three countries where the risks are real and you should have some serious worries about Modafinil and travel…

  • Japan: DO NOT bring more than 1 month’s supply of Modafinil, and don’t bring any unless you either have a prescription or absolutely need Modafinil while in Japan.
  • Singapore: Although you’ll be fine if you follow our recommendations, Singapore has some of the strictest drug laws in the world (and by extension, the harshest punishments for very minor drug-related charges).
  • United Arab Emirates: We strongly recommend having a Modafinil prescription before coming here, due to their extremely strict zero-tolerance and anti-drug policies [14].

Outside of those notable exceptions, your chances of being caught are extremely low.

To paraphrase one Internet commenter, “the chances of getting stopped and hassled about their small supply Modafinil for personal use are about as slim as your plane crashing twice”.

Jezebel wrote an article about bringing illicit drugs on an airplane, and the numbers they found were shockingly forgiving [15]:

“…out of the 14 million people who pass through Terminal 4 at JFK each year, for example, only about 400 were stopped for “further investigation,” and only about a quarter of those people were caught with contraband”

Airport security guards only care about weapons, large stacks of cash, narcotics, explosives, sharp objects, liquids over 100 mL, and suspicious-looking powders. Modafinil is absolutely none of those things, and you’ll have no problem unless you’re carrying large bulk quantities (100 pills or more).

Most travelers never have their bags thoroughly inspected by immigration officials during departure checks and checks upon arrival (domestic or international), nor have they been stopped. These are people who have traveled frequently to numerous countries around the world for several years while carrying Modafinil without a script.

One more fun fact: Sniffer dogs cannot sniff out prescription drugs like Modafinil, and they only act when (a) they have been specifically trained to detect a certain drug [16], and (b) they respond to behavioral cues from their handlers [17].

Note: Security checks are not equal in all countries, so plan for the worst and hope for the best.


Modafinil For Travelers | Verdict

Modafinil and travel are arguably a match made in heaven when the smart drug is carried and used appropriately.

As long as you are traveling with a small supply intended for personal use, and you use common sense, there is no reason to realistically expect any legal trouble in domestic or international destinations.

Plus, Modafinil is a great way to beat jet lag and maintain high levels of productivity while on the road. It’s the perfect companion for frequent travelers who find themselves needing a cognitive boost at any hour of the day.

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  1. Modafinil. Retrieved August 2, 2020.
  2. Minzenberg MJ, Carter CS. Modafinil: a review of neurochemical actions and effects on cognition. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2008;33(7):1477-1502. doi:10.1038/sj.npp.1301534
  3. Jackson troubles shine light on a fact of Washington life: Sleeping pills. Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  4. The White House Mystery Drug. Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  5. Combined drug therapy for management of jetlag. Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  6. Rosenberg RP, Bogan RK, Tiller JM, et al. A phase 3, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study of armodafinil for excessive sleepiness associated with jet lag disorder. Mayo Clin Proc. 2010;85(7):630-638. doi:10.4065/mcp.2009.0778
  7. Regulators Reject a Drug Maker’s Plan to Use Its Alertness Pill to Overcome Jet Lag. Retrieved August 1, 2020.
  8. Czeisler CA, Walsh JK, Roth T, et al. Modafinil for excessive sleepiness associated with shift-work sleep disorder. N Engl J Med. 2005;353(5):476-486. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa041292
  9. The War on Sleep. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  10. Anyone use Modafinil / Provigil for jet lag? Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  11. Traveling with Medication: How to Avoid Possible Jail Time. Retrieved August 3, 2020.
  12. Taking medication overseas in August 2020. Retrieved August 3, 2020.
  13. Can you pack your meds in a pill case and more questions answered. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  14. Dangerous Goods Policy. Retrieved August 1, 2020.
  15. How to Bring Drugs on an Airplane. Retrieved July 30, 2020.
  16. Can a Dog Smell Pills? Retrieved August 2, 2020.
  17. The Surprising Truth About Sniffer Dogs. Retrieved August 2, 2020.

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