Travel First Aid Kit Essentials – 32 Bloggers Share Their Secrets [Photos]

travel-first-aid-kit

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Traveling can be a dangerous business. Ask anyone who’s ever been bonked on the head by a falling coconut! Bump, bruises, bug bites and upset bellies can all happen when you’re having fun away from home. That’s why it’s so important to always keep the right mix of first aid supplies on hand. Packing your Travel First Aid Kit properly is an easy task, provided you have EXPERT advice on exactly what to bring with you to cover most travel medical needs.

We asked 32 Top Bloggers from around the world to share their MUST-HAVES when it comes to putting together a complete and portable Travel Medicine Kit. They provided some awesome suggestions! I’ll bet you’ll find at least one or two travel first aid kit items you’d never have thought of, but now wonder how you ever lived without…I certainly did!

Travel first aid kit essentials

Travel First Aid Kit Essentials

Maggie McKneely from Pink Caddy Travelogue on Blisters

“Blisters are the arch nemesis of any traveler who spends a lot of time walking. They can quickly turn a delightful romp through a foreign country into an agonizing slog. Every hiker knows the terror of feeling the onset of blisters miles away from the end of the trail and yet having nothing to treat them with.

The solution is duct tape! It sounds counter-intuitive to put tape on a blister, but if you do it before the blister pops open, the duct tape halts the rubbing of your shoes into your skin and will save you from a very painful day. Plus, duct tape can be used to fix just about anything, so it’s handy to have around.”

Travel Pharmacist Tip! A roll duct tape too bulky to pack in your travel first aid kit? Cut a few strips and wrap around a pen. This takes much less space and you don’t have to struggle with finding scissors to cut it when you need it. And for even more fun – ditch the boring grey duct tape and go for brightly colored versions!

Kaylie Lewell from Happiness Travels Here on Ginger for Motion Sickness

“One thing we always travel with is ginger. Ginger is a natural way to get rid of motion sickness. My favourite are ginger chews, a chewy candy made with real ginger, I purchase them from our local pharmacy, ginger lozenges and crystallized ginger are other options.

Whichever product you choose ensure it contains natural ginger and not artificial flavouring, which will be ineffective.

The use of ginger for improving symptoms of nausea has been extensively studied, it has been shown to be a safe and effective treatment so if you suffer car sickness, sea sickness with turbulence on a plane I highly recommend you add some to your personal travel kit.”

travel first aid kit essentials

Jackie Szeto and Justin Huynh from Life Of Doing on the Power of Pepto

“Pepto Bismol is the famous pink medicine for upset stomachs and diarrhea, and now comes in chewable tablets. The tablets are a lifesaver and come with us everywhere. We have yet to use Pepto Bismol for diarrhea, but use them for stomach issues. We take a tablet after extremely spicy food (and we love spicy food too) or if we ate too much food. The medicine works fast and our stomachs feel better the rest of the day.”

Lori Fitzgibbons of Fitz5 On The Go on packing Scissors and Tweezers

“My most used part of our medical travel kit are the scissors and tweezers.  I’ve only needed the rest of the kit a handful of times but we use the scissors and tweezers weekly.  Make sure both are in really good shape and of decent quality.  We’ve used ours for everything from removing splinters (a fairly often occurrence for us) to making a splint and pulling lost toys out of a radiator.  The tweezers should have a precise angled edge and I prefer a small, sharp set of pointed scissors with little bit of a curve (small is generally OK for a carry on).  For the right pair try looking at beauty scissors or for facial hair or nail trimming scissors.”

Kavita Favelle of Kavey Eats on how she deals with Migraine and Tension Headaches When Traveling

“When I first started experiencing migraines and tension headaches , I wasn’t very good at taking the right medications with me when I travelled, and vividly remember an especially severe migraine resulting in me having a very expensive CAT scan in a Kyoto hospital! So now, I never ever travel without my lifesavers!
First, Sumatripan for the migraine symptoms and Cocadamol (codeine and paractemol) for the pain. Next, a tube of Voltarol (diclofenic anti-inflammatory gel) to use on tightly knotted neck and shoulders. And fourth, a TENS machine, to loosen the neck and shoulders when they’re particularly bad. I’m also fortunate to usually be traveling with my husband who will often give me a head, shoulder and neck massage to help ease the pain further!”
travel first aid kit
Patrick Muntzinger, the German Backpacker, on off-the-beaten-path travel first aid
“Since I mostly travel only with a backpack, I try to keep my first aid kit as light as possible. However, one thing that I always keep in it are some disposable syringes and needles. I travel a lot to off-the-path and less developed countries, such as India, Sudan and Ethiopia. Especially in rural areas, hygiene standards in hospitals might be very low. Therefore, if I would need injections in case of an emergency, I would have my own syringes and I know that they are clean and weren’t used before. Luckily, I never had to use them so far – let’s hope it stays like this!”
travel first aid kit
Pamela Chieffallo from Travel Like A Chieff on Sona Activated Charcoal

“I have a love-hate relationship with food; I love it, but it hates me. For that reason, I don’t travel without Sona Activated Charcoal. It contains an activated vegetable carbon that absorbs and removes harmful substances and gases from the gastrointestinal tract. I take three capsules at least 30 minutes before a meal and another three afterwards. Now I get to enjoy all tasting menus and wine pairings without crying myself to sleep. If you suffer from digestive discomfort, I highly recommend bringing these along everywhere you go.”

Alma from Roaming Fox on Antihistamines and Electrolyte Sachets

“Two things I always carry in my Travel First Aid Kit are antihistamine tablets and electrolyte mixture in sachets.

Antihistamine comes in handy if an unknown allergy creeps up on you, especially when you are in remote places.

Electrolyte solution is wonderful for those times when you suffer from Travel Tum, but I also use them when we’ve arrived at a hot and humid destination and we haven’t had time to adjust and acclimatize. A glass of that gives you some of the liquid you require as well as the necessary minerals your body needs.”

Mary from Move to Vietnam has a great list of Travel First Aid Kit Necessities

“Either for short weekend or a full-on backpacking, my first aid or medicine kit always have at least 10 pcs of ibuprofen, this is useful both for hangover or when I get my menstrual cramps, a tube of antiseptic cream, and  Anthisan (mepyramine maleate) for nettle rash and insect bite, which all have been very useful for me since I started travelling almost five years ago. It’s also nice to hand it to some travellers who needed them during emergencies.”

travel first aid kit essentials
Leaflets Three – Let It Be! Poison Ivy!!

Tracey Kifford from Pack The PJs with a great story on Imodium

“Way back in 2001, I got married. Our dream honeymoon took us on a tour of Ecuador, and then on to the Galapagos Islands. On our last night in Quito, before we flew to the islands, we decided to eat in the hotel. Playing it safe – or so I thought – I chose a burger. After 3-4 bites I realised it was undercooked. I didn’t eat anymore. I awoke the following morning with a need to run QUICKLY to the loo, where I stayed right up until the last moment before our airport transfer. I felt truly awful. I had uncontrollable diarrhoea and I was feeling really sick. As soon as the flight took off (yes I know in hindsight I should never have got on it), I was sick. I had no control over my body at all – and that short flight was the longest in my life (for the passengers around me too I quite imagine). We had to switch planes somewhere, due to some malfunction, and while waiting to board the replacement plane, I realised the airport toilets had no paper; there was no soap in the dispensers. I just wanted to curl up and hide away. But then a passenger on the same tour as us offered me two Imodium tablets. Within 10 mins I felt mildly human, and then well enough to continue the journey to the Galapagos and onto the cruise ship. Ever since that ‘event’ I’ve always carried Imodium with me in my emergency first aid kit. Those two little tablets saved my life that day, and I never want to be caught short like that again!”

Jessica from Travel Solo Anyway on Papaw Ointment and a Soothing Water Bottle

“The first item I always travel with is papaw ointment. This fermented papaya balm is a cult skin and anti-bacterial product in Australia, used as a kind of cure-all for essentially any general skin issues you might have on your travels – cuts, burns, insect bites, chafing, rashes, cracked skin and lips, even open wounds.

The second item is a hot water bottle. Any time I’ve traveled without one, I’ve ended up buying one or fashioning one myself with a drink bottle. It’s a super easy and fast way to relieve stomach pain and you can get access to hot water almost anywhere!”


Audrey and Andrew Chalmers of Gumnuts Abroad on Tiger Balm

Tiger balm is the one thing we always have in our travel medicine kit. Made from a combination of menthol, camphor and other essential oils, it’s a jack of all trades. Don’t worry no tigers were harmed in making the ointment. Its name comes from the family of its Chinese creator. It’s a wonderful natural remedy for headaches, muscle aches and pains, coughs and colds and even tinea. And I don’t know anything that can take the itch out of a mosquito as quickly as Tiger Balm can. This stuff is amazing – it even removes sticky labels!”

travel first aid kit essentials
No tigers were hurt in making Tiger Balm!
Zheng Yen Ang from Swing Abroad on Muscle Pain

“What’s worse than aching muscle while traveling? Muscle ache can be an ultimate mood killer when it comes to travel or hiking. Though we all adapt to the pain after a few days of heavy backpack or trekking, having a counterpain ointment can really help to sooth the muscle pain. Apply it and enjoy the next day pain-free!”

David Angel & Faye Haynes of Travel With Little One on Clove Oil for Tooth Pain

“One night I tucked into a cochinillo asado, a roast suckling pig, a regional speciality in the Spanish city of Segovia. The first few mouthfuls were fantastic, but then one of my molars was defeated by the hard crackling, about a third of the tooth breaking off. So I left the restaurant praying I had remembered my small vial of clove oil.

I had, and it’s the only time I ever needed it while travelling. Where painkillers don’t work, clove oil is brilliant at numbing and staving off the pain. I really needed it that night, and fortunately the pain stayed at bay for the rest of that trip.”

Maura and Terry of TravelKiwis on Listerine and Peppermint Tea as Travel Medicine Kit Must-Haves

“Two essential items we always pack when travelling is an 80ml bottle of Listerine and sachets of Peppermint Tea.

Listerine is a mouthwash, but it was originally developed as a mild antiseptic. We have used Listerine on many occasions to cleanse wounds before applying a dressing.

Peppermint Tea is always in our pack for two reasons. The relief of stomach pains and for soaking sore feet after a day of walking and exploring. And it is a refreshing drink.”

Matilda of The Travel Sisters on Wet Wipes and an Ultimate Travel Packing List

“I never travel without my Wet Ones antibacterial wipes and I am convinced this is why I rarely get sick.  I use them when I find myself somewhere with no soap or water to wash my hands and on airplanes to wipe down the arm rests and tray table.  These wipes are individually wrapped so I can pack a few in my purse or day bag when exploring. See our Ultimate Travel Packing list here.”

Jade and Kev of Two Tall Travellers on Keeping Track of Local Emergency Numbers When Traveling

“If you needed to call the emergency services in the UK, would you know which number to call? How about China? It’s hard to keep up with all of the different emergency numbers in the country you are travelling in, so we always make a note of them and keep them in the first aid kit just in case! We might end up getting hurt with no locals around so we like to be prepared ourselves. We also have a mini first aid booklet in the kit, which quickly reminds me of things like how to perform CPR and what to do in case of a nasty bite!”

travel first aid kit essentials

Oindrila of Oindrila Goes Footloose on Dettol to Prevent Leech-Attacks on Waterfall Hikes

“As paranoid as I may sound, I never leave my house without a bottle of Dettol (Chloroxylenol) liquid when I’m out on a hike, especially in the monsoon. Most of my treks involve crossing streams and getting drenched by waterfalls. While it’s a delightful experience to soak in (quite literally) the natural waters, those places are usually home to a lot of leeches. Splashing some Chloroxylenol before hiking is a great way to prevent leeches from attacking you and sucking on your blood! So, Dettol is a must have in my personal travel medicine kit.”

Callan Weinburg of Singapore N Beyond on Using Google Maps to Find Medical Help While Traveling

“Something you’ve heard a million times, but have never really executed: Bring a list of the nearest hospitals and medical centres in your vacation destination. In addition, use Google MyMaps, which has offline functionality, for the best routes to said centres and ask your hotel/villa if they provide emergency travel services. This was the case for me in Bali when I ate some rotten fish at a reputable beach BBQ restaurant in the Uluwatu area. I have no known allergies, but contracted something called scombroid which resulted in my skin and eyes going bright red and me passing out on the floor. If I didn’t plan my “escape route” to the nearest hospital in Nusa Dua, I’m not sure what might have happened. Always be prepared for emergencies, just because you’re relaxing in paradise, doesn’t mean something unexpected won’t pop up!”

Sonja Erin of Migrating Miss on Lucas Papaw Ointment

“This Australian-made ointment comes with me wherever I go, and especially when I travel. It’s made on fresh fermented fruit with a small amount of preservative, and might not seem like much, but it packs a powerful punch. Papaw can be used for dry lips, burns, chafing, cuts, splinters, wounds, insect bites, and even nappy rash if you have children! Personally, I’ve used it many a time for insect bites, burns, dry skin, and as an ointment after I got a tattoo. It goes the job of many other ointments or creams in one, and if in doubt, I use papaw!”

Nienke of The Travel Tester on the importance of a Safety Whistle While Traveling

“As a frequent traveller I’ve been changing the contents of my bags multiple times over the years, but there is one item that I always bring: a small safety whistle. Whether it’s going on a hike alone and getting lost or hurt, scaring off dangerous wildlife that is getting too close or using it for personal safely when getting harassed by people, you’d be surprised how helpful this small tool can be! Even though I have luckily never used it so far, the item is just too small, lightweight, cheap and too important to leave at home, really!”

Stephanie Craig of History Fangirl on the Many Uses of Vaseline When Traveling

“I never travel anywhere without vaseline. It can be used for many different kinds of ailments and situations while on the road. I keep it in my day bag in case I feel like I’m about to chafe from walking around all day in hot weather. It’s also great for keeping a sunburn moisturized so it doesn’t peel, can double as a facial moisturizer in a pinch, is helpful for keeping flyaways down when you do your hair after skipping a shower, and it even can clean leather! There’s nothing else I can think of that’s so inexpensive, can be found in every city in the world, and has so many uses! I preach to all my friends that they should keep some with them at all times, and I’m slowly converting them one by one.”

Winnie of Million Dollar Winnie on Bo Chai Pills for Digestive Problems While Traveling

“Bo Chai Pills are a household name for most Chinese families all around the world because of it’s effectiveness to deal with an array of digestive problems. The most common one is eating something that doesn’t sit too well with your stomach.

Just one or two doses is enough to solve most cases of food poisoning from my experience. I never leave the house without a few doses of this traditional Chinese medicine in my bag.”

Angela from Chasing The Unexpected on Keeping Your Gut Healthy

“The wellness of our gut can really make or break our travels. If it’s commonly defined our “second brain”, there must be a reason. When I travel, especially to tricky countries like India, I need to be extra careful to keep my good bacteria and immune system strong and healthy. When I feel I’m starting having problems, I use Vaccinium Vitis Idaea (Gemmo Therapy) against the inflammation of the intestine, grapefruit seed extract, powerful antivirus and helpful in case of diarrhoea (this can be used for many things, not only for the intestine, it’s truly a travel essential), zeolite, a mineral with powerful detoxing properties, and when I have some extra space in the suitcase, I pack a little bottle of aloe vera juice to help against irritation of the stomach and intestines and probiotics to restore the friendly gut bacteria. And obviously, as a powerful antifungal and antibacterial that I use in so many cases from cleaning to treat a sore throat, I always carry with me a little tea tree oil bottle!”

Micki Kosman of The Barefoot Nomad on Sunscreen

“We travel with a bottle of sunscreen that’s permanently pre-packed in our car and our suitcases as well. After forgetting to bring a bottle on my last trip, our entire family had to spend a day avoiding the sun in Mexico until we could track down a bottle! Now it’s the first item on our packing list.”

sea-sickness

Alex of the Swedish Nomad on Motion Sickness Bracelets

“If you know that you easily get motion sickness, one thing you can do is to buy a bracelet with special pressure on the wrists. This will help balancing your body and help to prevent the motion sickness. It’s quite effective and much better for your health than taking pills every time you want to go on a road trip or take public transport.

The bracelets against motion sickness are cheap too, and you can easily find them for 5-10 USD.”

Danny Newman of Coddiwomp on Tweezers and Tick Removers

“Something I always include in my travel medicine kit is a simple pair of tweezers. They almost always come in handy and take up little to no space. For pesky splinters on the road, as well as emergency sewing situations, tweezers can be incredibly helpful!

And, secondly, if you’re spending any time in the great outdoors, I recommend having a tic remover too. It might sound weird, but if you’ve ever been bitten by a tic you’ll know how gross it is, as well as being potentially dangerous. A proper tic remover can make a big difference. FYI- the best ones are those designed for pets!”

Lisa and Cheryl of What Boundaries Travel on PhoneSoap

“We use our phones a lot while traveling and they sometimes get put in all sorts of unsavory places…airplane trays, toilets, bus seats, pockets, restaurant tables…you know what I’m talking about! And cleaning an expensive smartphone isn’t always easy or practical. Until we found PhoneSoap…an easy way to ensure the phones we carry with us everywhere aren’t carrying loads of germs with us as well.”

For the Younger Set – Travel First Aid Kit Supplies

travel medicine kit essentials

 

Deepika Pillai from Deexterous on Essential Oils for Children

“When traveling with kids, you need to have simple essential oils handy at all times. Essential oils are all-natural, non-invasive, non-toxic and easy for the body to absorb.

Oilogic hand makes powerful therapeutic oils that are safe for babies and kids. It helps you treat stuffy noses, ear & tummy troubles, soothing baby, allergies and a whole lot more. You can read a detailed post on Essential oils for kids on Deexterous.”
Sally Lucas from Our 3 Kids V The World on the value of Bandaids in a Travel First Aid Kit
“You will always find a bandaids in my travel medicine kit when travelling, especially as we travel with our 3 kids. Bandaids are a quick fix to keep the kids at bay but most importantly provides a cover to keep an open wound clean particularly important when travelling in Asia. I will generally rinse the wound straight away with clean water, pat it dry and place a bandaid or two straight over the top. This keeps it clean but the bandaids will need to be changed regularly as soon as they start to look dirty or have been wet. I will generally take the bandaid off overnight so the wound gets some air which will aid the healing process but as soon as we are heading out again a fresh new bandaid goes on.”
Jurga from Full Suitcase on Wound Care for Families
“We travel with three boys who just cannot sit still, says Jurga from a family travel blog Full Suitcase, so small injuries are inevitable. Therefore our travel medicine kit is always filled with wound care supplies. In addition to bandages and disinfectants, we always pack an ice spray. We’ve used it in the Namibian desert, in the Swiss mountains, and many other remote places where finding ice just isn’t an option. Ice spray is a real miracle solution for strained ankles, head bumps, and many other small injuries when traveling.”
Jenny of TraveLynn Family on what’s in her Family Medical Kit
“We are currently travelling Africa with our boys (aged 3 and 4) in a Land Rover Defender and are often in remote areas far from medical help. We have a good family medical kit with us, but the most important item has to be Calpol. It seems to fix a range of ailments and the boys love the strawberry taste. From teething, to fever, to bad cuts and scrapes, Calpol is generally the first item we use from the medical kit and we never leave home without it.”
Travel Pharmacist Tip! While Calpol suspension with paracetamol isn’t readily available in the United States, comparable products like Children’s Tylenol suspension with acetaminophen are available to treat minor aches and pains due to the common cold, flu, sore throat, headache, and toothache for children 2-11.
travel first aid kit essentials
We hope you’ve found at least one or two items to pack for your own travel first aid kit! Thanks to all of the wonderful bloggers who shared their travel health secrets. Give them a visit and check out where in the world they are right now. Have a wonderful time out there traveling and stay healthy!
The Travel Pharmacist
As with all medical and pharmaceutical recommendations on the Internet, consult with your doctor or pharmacist first before trying any new products or remedies.

 

 

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