Tips for creating a traveler’s first aid kit

First aid supplies, toiletries, dopp kit, medical bag, no matter how you want to call it, most people pack some type of kit for their healthcare needs when out and about. It would be amazing to have everything on hand for all possible issues, but we can’t just go lugging every conceivable health care tools.


If you want to pack light, it’s important to include only the essentials, and try to decide what is really necessary.

  • What if I catch cold/flu?

  • What if I get food poisoning?

  • What if I get a bit or sting?

  • Have I prepared for every possible issue?

Medications. Consider this a standard when travelling. Medications like paracetamol tablets for the common cold, antihistamines for allergies, and antacids for indigestion should be the first things included in your bag. It should also have bandages of different sizes, tweezers, iodine drops, etc. Some stores sell first aid kits that contain these basics. Here are other essentials:

  • Codral cold and flu tablets.

  • Cough medicine.

  • Motion sickness tablets.

  • Throat lozenges or drops.

  • Antiseptic solution for cleaning wounds or bites.

  • Antiseptic ointment to apply to a wound.

  • Antacid for indigestion.

  • Fluid and electrolyte replacement powder or tablets, e.g. Gastrolyte or HYDRAlyte.

  • Eye lubricant drops.

  • Antifungal or antibacterial cream.

  • Low potency hydrocortisone cream.

  • Ear plugs.

  • Sunscreen (at least SPF 30+).

  • Thermometer (a forehead thermometer is best for travel as it doesn’t break or run out of batteries).

Hydrogen Peroxide. More than being a great disinfectant, you can also use it for stain removal (win-win). You can also use it as a mouthwash and even an intimate douche. If you can only find big bottles of this essential, simply transfer it to a smaller bottle that are colored dark (because the light and the sun can break Its chemical makeup down and make it ineffective.)

Travel poisoning in foreign country. Gas pains and indigestion can be safely treated with antacids. However, if you experience food poisoning while travelling, it is not recommended that you take any anti-diarrhea or anti-nausea medications since your body, via vomiting and diarrhea, tries to purge the bacteria and toxins. If you take a medication you can make your situation worse. Still, if you are far from the nearest major medical facility and you need to travel, it is necessary to take the medication so that you can travel.

Medicines for travel-related conditions

Travel to developing countries, tropical climates, remote areas and high altitudes can increase the risk of some conditions that you would not have an issue with at home or during travel to other temperate-climate countries. Many of these conditions can be treated or avoided through prescription medicines. Therefore, apart from taking your regular prescription medicines with you, as shown above, your travel clinic or doctor will suggest some of the following:

  • Antibiotics for certain intestinal infections or for serious respiratory infection.

  • Altitude sickness medicines.

  • Malaria prevention tablets.

The only mistake you can do as a traveler with your first aid kit is not having one. There are many available kits online or you can just assemble one yourself. Have a safe trip!

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