Trip Tips: Packing a First-Aid Travel Kit

Nothing can ruin your trip faster than getting sick. I’m someone with the un-luck to consistently get sick right before leaving for vacation, so I’ve gotten very good at stocking the little pharmacy in my purse with both homeopathic aids and classic remedies.

Here’s what I keep in my first-aid travel kit:

The basics:

Nothing too crazy here—ibuprofen, aspirin, sinus relief pills, and antacids. We got some very good drops for restless tummies at the German pharmacy; they’re called Iberogast. And after a particularly bad bout of allergies in Thailand, I’ve made it standard practice to always keep anti-allergy eye drops on me.

For the plane:

I hate feeling dried out when flying, so I keep a few little things in my bag to help combat that. A little container of Vick’s to dab on during long flights, which keeps my nose and throat from getting too dry. A few just-in-case throat drops, like Halls Menthol Drops or Ricolas, also help for those long breaks between food services. And the eye drops I mentioned before keep my contacts from getting too sticky.

If traveling or flying tends to stress you out, I recommend using a drop of Lavender Essential Oil behind the ears to soothe and calm the stress. And a few tabs of Airborne or some Vitamin C tablets will never do you wrong.

For bumps and bugs:

A little tube of Neosporin or B-Pantene, for any scratches or antibacterial needs. I have a little jar of Tiger Balm for bruises, or muscle aches—it’s always great to apply in the morning after a rough night’s sleep on poor hotel pillows or for neck cramps after long flights. And a dab of it at either temple knocks a headache right out. I don’t like to use commercial bug sprays because of the chemicals (and also that gnarly, clingy post-application feeling on the skin). I used pure Citronella Essential Oil on our trip to Africa. Just a tiny spot at either ankle, wrist, and behind each ear kept us completely bug-bite free. **Tim will require the disclaimer that both the citronella and the Tiger Balm have a very strong—some may say, overwhelming—scent.

For the Ladies:

Most of us have tampons or pads just in case. I also keep UTI- and yeast infection prevention in my bag, because there’s really nothing worse than one of those rearing its ugly head in the middle of a fabulous vacation. Azo is pretty effective at relieving those before they really begin—and if they have begun, for providing symptom relief until you can get proper meds.

Odds and Ends:

I also keep a tiny kit with tweezers and nail clippers, in case of splinters or broken nails. And in case of blisters, cuts, or burns, I always have some bandaids on hand.

I bet you’re imagining all of this takes us its own backpack, right? It easily could! To save space, I take out just small amounts of everything needed, label what it is/what it does on the back, and pack it together neatly in a pencil bag I’ve had since grade school. That also helps save on weight, which is always a concern when flying. It might seem like a little overkill, but the one thing I’ve learned on my travels is that it’s always better to be too prepared when it comes to feeling right. I’d much rather have this stuff take up a little space in my bag than take up a chunk of time (and mind space) on my trip.

Travel Bag Checklist

  • Ibuprofen
  • Aspirin
  • Sinus relief pills
  • Antacids
  • Antihistamines
  • Menthol Drops
  • Vick’s
  • Lavender Oil
  • Airborne / Vitamin C
  • Neosporin
  • Tiger Balm
  • Citronella Oil
  • Tampons
  • Azo Yeast and UTI Prevention
  • Nail kit with file, tweezers, and clippers
  • Bandaids

Do you keep a first-aid kit in your travel bags? What is your must-bring item?

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Travel First-Aid Kit