Have you ever been on vacation and needed an aspirin, or band-aid, or allergy medicine? If you don’t have them, it can be miserable! Packing a small travel medical kit to take along on vacation with you is an easy and smart idea!
The best thing would be that you don’t need it the whole trip, but if you do need it you’ll be glad to have it! I don’t think we’ve ever been on a trip that we haven’t needed something in there! Granted, most places you’ll be traveling to will have a pharmacy around, but it’s easier to have what you need, when you need it!
For us, the most common things we’ve needed were Benadryl (especially when the kids were younger), Advil (travel stress and dehydration) and bandages! When we were in Spain, it was beautiful because everything was blooming, but that meant itchy eyes and a stuffy nose. I was glad to be able to knock it out quickly with some allergy pills. We added some Emergen-C or Airborne to our med kit recently because if you feel something coming on, it’s nice to bump up the Vitamin C and prevent a cold!
So, now that you know why you need a medical kit, here’s what you’ll want to pack in it.
Basic Travel Medical Kit
- Antibacterial/Antifungal Ointment
- 1% Hydrocortisone Anti-Itch Creme
- Pain Reliever/Fever Reducer
- Allergy tablets/Antihistamine
- Cold & Flu Relief
- Emergen-C (Vitamin C supplement)
- Motion sickness pills/patch
- Mild laxative
- Cough drops
- Antibacterial wipes – use liberally on the plane! Wipe down those tray tables – it probably hasn’t happened in a while!
- Hand Sanitizer
- Eye drops
- Band-aids – Bring multiple sizes and several of each. A common issue is blisters. If you don’t have the bandages on hand to deal with them, it can make for a miserable time!
- Tweezers – These can come in handy for a variety of things. But especially if you happen to get a splinter. Always nice to have these along, and they don’t take up much space!
- Saftey pins – Similar to the tweezers, these can come in handy for several emergencies!
- Nail clippers/file –
- Ace bandage
- Prescription Medicines – If you have any prescription medicines that you will need to take during your trip, make sure you pack them in your carry-on! And, make sure you have enough for your trip plus a couple of days (you never know).
- Zika – If you are traveling to an area where Zika is an issue, you will want to check out this post from the CDC. You will need insect repellant containing DEET, long-sleeved shirts, long pants, mosquito netting. Be especially diligent if you are pregnant! Talk to your medical professional and get the best advise available to you!
- Malaria – Like Zika, if you are traveling to a destination that Malaria is a possibility, contact your physician to get the best medical advise. You will want to know both preventative information and symptoms.
- Anti-Diarrheal Medicine – If you are going somewhere that the water is unsafe or the food very different from what you typically eat, this is probably a good idea to pack.
- Antibiotics – If you are going to an area where medical services are either unavailable or hard to get to, it is always a good idea to bring some antibiotics with you. That way, if you get any kind of an infection you have treatment options.
- Sunscreen/Aloe – If you are going to a tourist area or beach area, don’t forget the sunscreen! There is nothing more miserable than not being able to enjoy your vacation because of a nasty sunburn. Also bring some aloe gel for after being in the sun! Take care of your skin!!
Tips for Assembling Your Kit
- Remember air travel rules – 3.4 ounces for liquids, no scissors and you’ll need a doctor’s note for some prescriptions!
- Pick up travel size items throughout the year – Keep an eye out on these throughout the year and pick up a different item each week until you have a good med kit built. It can be expensive if you need to go out and buy it all at once, so break it up over several months.
- Keep it packed year round – Have items that are specifically for your medical kit. If you keep it packed year round, you don’t have to try and remember what goes in there each trip. All you’ll have to do it toss it in your carry-on!
- Update once a year, toss out of date and replenish – Keep an eye on expiration dates. I just recently went through ours and had to toss some of the allergy pills because they were expired. Keep it fresh and up-to-date and you’ll be ready for anything that comes up!
- You can keep your medical kit in a ziploc bag or, if you have one, a small make-up bag. Keep it simple! Use what you have on hand.
- Another option is to buy a pre-made medical kit like this one from Adventure Medical Kits. This one is pretty fancy, but if you are traveling for any length of time, it’s a great option!
Ready to Go!
So, now you know that you should never travel without a medical kit! You definitely don’t want to be caught needing something and not have it on hand. Or worse, you don’t want to be in a situation where medical help is not available and not have a travel medical kit! Be prepared!
And, as you can see, it’s easy to assemble a travel medical kit. Take your time and purchase items over time and build your medical kit. Make it personalized for your family’s needs. If you know someone is prone to blisters – bring extra bandages. Or if you know allergies are an issue – be ready for it! Don’t let your vacation be ruined by not bringing what you’ll need!
See anything that I’ve forgotten in the travel medical kit? Let me know! I’d love to add on to this list.
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Becki is the author and founder of A Book Lover’s Adventures. She has a degree in elementary education, has worked and volunteered in libraries for years, and spent several years in the travel industry. All of this has led to a love of books and travel. Becki loves to share her love by finding literary escapes to share!