Keeping a well-organized travel first aid kit ready with all essentials can make or break your upcoming trip.
You can easily build your own lightweight travel first aid kit will all the essentials.
I explain what and why you will need it below.
🧰 Why you need a travel first aid kit?
Emergencies are called emergencies for a reason and unexpected situations can always occur on a trip.
You want to be prepared!
My mum used to always take a travel first aid kit with her no matter where we went.
I quickly picked up on the habit and learned over time to take along certain creams, tablets, and other first-aid things, which can help you when in need.
My sister works at a pharmacy in Austria and added her thoughts and perspective on what to take along when you travel away from home.
People often while approach her and ask for recommendations on what to take along for XYZ trip.
We learned to value a traveler’s first aid kit when we traveled to Nako in the Himalayas.
The next doctor and pharmacy were a 1-day drive away and I had travelers diarrhea.
Having worked in the tourism industry as well, helped me to understand the different situations we all might face.
It’s easy to forget the most obvious travel first kit things.
I have seen trips go down the toilet because of the mistake of planning ahead.
Just build your own travel first aid kit that suits your situation and travel plans and you are good to go!
A travel Aid Kit should be….
- Light Weight – take along essentials only
- Tailored to your needs foremost – i.e. if you are asthmatic, bring along your inhalers
- Customized to the place and duration you are going – you need to bring different things to a tropical destination than say a cold climate
- Including things which you know how to use – i.e. most of us don’t know how to use a syringe and it might not be needed anyway
- Include things for various situations – example diarrhea tablets wound cleaning equipment etc.
🩹 Essentials in your Kit
These are the things that you will need to bring along no matter where you go in this world.
Building your own travel medical kit has its advantages because you can add the things YOU will need.
You will need a compression bandage, gauze bandage, and adhesive bandage in your travel first aid kit.
Compression Bandages are wrapped around a strain or to limit the blood flow to a wound or use a compression bandage to hold a dressing.
Gauze can be useful in various situations.
I used them mainly to press down on small wounds and cuts until I get to a professional.
Gauze is sterile, keep things clean and let in just enough air so that the wound can breathe.
Adhesive Tapes are also known as Plasters.
They come in all shapes and colors and some are even water-resistant.
I prefer to get a roll of cloth material adhesive tape so that I can cut off the size I need.
You might also want to bring a liquid band-aid spray.
I find those to be super useful in various situations but I mainly treat small cuts.
The liquid band-aid creates a transparent protective layer over your small wound, keeping dust, etc out.
Adhesive Tape and Safety Pins
Adhesive tapes and safety pins can be easily overlooked.
Turns out, while some bandages can stick as well, it makes sense to take add a small roll to your travel first aid kit.
Safety Pins are useful for all kinds of things besides holdings together things.
I use them to take out splinters too by disinfecting the pin end and the wound afterward.
You can attach a simple bandage dressing with a tape or a safety pin.
Small Scissors or Swiss Knife
You will need a pair of small scissors or a swiss knife to cut bandages and tapes to the size you need them.
Most of the time we keep an all-rounder swiss knife with us instead of a scissor.
Most swiss knives have a scissor attached and tweezers as well!
Just make sure that you don’t carry the swiss knife in your carry-on baggage at the airport because the customs will happily take it away for you.
To disinfect wounds get a high percentage of alcohol spirit.
You get bottles, you get wipes and sprays.
I like the antiseptic alcohol sprays because they are convenient and don’t leave a mess.
Pain Relief Tablet
Pain relief tablets are always needed sooner or later and are a must in any travel first aid kit.
It might be a headache giving you a hard time or your muscles might be aching after a long hiking day.
Paracetamol is an all-rounder painkiller tablet.
Aspirin is used in a similar way.
Try to get tablets like Ibuprofen as well because that can reduce inflammation as well.
Also, look out for pain relief in sachets which can be taken in without water.
Those come in handy in various situations.
Always consult a physician first and check if you have any allergies such as aspirin allergy.
Antiseptic wound healing cream
A small tube of cream or ointment to protect your skin from infections.
These also promote the healing of a wound.
Diarrhea & Vomiting Tablets
Something like Imodium to stop diarrhea can be a lifesaver.
I don’t travel without Imodium, because I consider it essential anywhere in the world in my travel first aid kit.
To get your stomach health to normal levels again, bring along probiotics tablets.
These may also help in preventing traveler diarrhea.
Ask your physician to prescribe you tablets that can stop vomiting.
Use these tablets to treat yourself at first but get to a doctor for further treatment.
These add ons might be required depending on your destination.
For example, If you are going for a European city break, you might not need an antibiotic to treat diarrhea.
Talk to your doctor about antibiotics to treat traveler’s diarrhea if you are planning to travel for a longer period of time across Asia, Africa or South America.
Antibiotics need to be prescribed as they are not over the countertop medication.
These come in little sachets in powdered form.
You just have to pour it in water and drink it.
Rehydration powders are needed when you are weak and suffering from diarrhea and you have lost a lot of minerals.
Insect sprays keep mosquitoes away and especially malaria or dengue caring mosquitoes.
Antihistamines come as gels, creams, eye drops, or in tablet form.
Those treat allergic reactions, such as insect bites, hives, the flu to just name a few.
A fever thermometer is the most forgotten item in a travel first aid kit.
I did the mistake once as well.
Especially families with kids should own a thermometer.
Sometimes children react with a slight fever after a tiring travel journey and keeping a check on the thermometer temperature can be quite reassuring and will help you to keep your sanity on your holiday.
💡 More Tips
Check the date of expiry on your medicine and ointment if you have already a travel first aid kit and you just need to update it.
Have a talk with your doctor before your planned travel to make sure that you have everything in order.
Different regions require different safety precautions.
Check if you have taken the required vaccinations for the regions that you plan on traveling too.
Always travel with travel insurance.
Unexpected things can always happen and you need to make sure you are covered.
For backpack and adventure travelers, I recommend World Nomads travel insurance.
I talk about their plus and negative points in my review.
When you travel, bring along your blood group card and keep it in your wallet or with you wherever you go.
The medics will be able to react faster if something was to happen to you if they know your blood group.
👁️ More travel guides
Dear Reader, where are you traveling to next?