From a tiny cold to the dreaded diarrhea (don’t laugh, it’s happened to me every time I’ve been on safari in Africa!), or whether traveling across a state or to a different continent it is important that your travel medicine bag be prepared for when the unexpected might occur. Your first aid kit and supplies are just as important as your boarding pass!

But, what are the best items to pack? Here’s the list of what I bring no matter if I am heading out for just a weekend getaway or a month-long adventure. These items have made sure that I was equipped for many emergency situations, especially while in an unfamiliar place

NOTE: Always consult with your doctor before taking any medication as they may interact with other medications or aggravate existing conditions.


38 Items to Pack in Your Travel Medicine Bag (DIY the Best First Aid Kit!)


1. Aloe Vera Gel

When it comes to travel, packing a first aid kit is a must – and aloe vera gel should be at the top of your list. Aloe Vera Gel is a natural plant extract that has been used since ancient times for its medicinal purposes. Not only does this gel provide relief from sunburns, but it can also help soothe bug bites, rashes, and minor skin irritations.

Buy the Top Brands:
Skinfood Aloe Vera 93% Soothing Gel
Sun Bum Cool Down Aloe Vera Gel
Being Natural Aloe Vera Gel


2. Antacids

Heartburn or indigestion can hit at any time, but especially when your stomach might be confused by jet lag or all the different types of food in a new destination. Don’t miss out on eating the spicy Mexican food in Oaxaca or Nigerian cuisine in Africa, just pack some antacids. They help to neutralize acid in your stomach and restore the balance of digestive juices.

Buy the Top Brands:
TUMS Chewy Bites Antacid Tablets
Alka-Seltzer Extra Strength Heartburn Relief Chews


3. Anti-diarrhea Medication

Trying new foods is one of the best things about traveling! Unfortunately, different food around the world can also come with its fair share of unexpected upsets. One of these could be an unfortunate bout of diarrhea, which can ruin a trip quickly if you are not prepared.

You can get a prescription from your doctor, or an over-the-counter Imodium AD does the trick for me.

Buy the Top Brands:
Imodium A-D Diarrhea Relief Caplets
Pepto Bismol Diarrhea LiquiCaps

A woman drinking medicine


4. Antibiotic Ointment

We sometimes forget that even minor scrapes and cuts can become severely infected if left untreated, so packing an antibiotic ointment in your travel-sized first aid kit is essential. This common topical medication works by providing an antibiotic barrier on the skin that helps prevent infection while also helping to restore the natural balance of bacteria in the affected area.

Buy the Top Brand:
Neosporin Antibiotic Ointment


5. Antihistamines

Allergies can be unpredictable, and even the hardiest traveler could find themselves in a jam if they don’t have medication on hand. Antihistamines are medications great as an aid for fast, effective relief to allergic reactions. This will also be a front of the line treatment for insect bites and hives.

Buy the Top Brands:
Benadryl
Allegra 


6. Bandages

Have you ever gotten one of those dang paper cuts that won’t stop bleeding? Me too! That’s why an assortment of bandages are one of the most important items to pack in your travel first aid kit. They come in all shapes and sizes, so pack just a couple of each type.

Buy the Top Brands:
Band-Aid Flexible Fabric Adhesive Bandages, Assorted
Curad Performance Series Ironman Antibacterial Bandages, Assorted Variety Pack

Bandages


7. Calamine Lotion

Calamine lotion is a type of topical skin relief fused with zinc oxide, typically used for alleviating irritation from minor bug bites, sunburns, or mild rashes or sores. It’s an easy and affordable way to quickly treat minor skin issues while away from home. Plus its anti-itch properties mean it certainly loves to make itchy mosquito bites go away in a jiffy!

Buy the Top Brand:
HUMCO Calamine Lotion


8. Cotton Swabs

Cotton swabs are a staple of most households, and another essential item for your first aid kit. They offer a convenient and hygienic way to clean wounds, apply ointments, help with splinters or foreign particle removal, and even stop bleeding.

Buy the Top Brands:
Q-tips


9. Cough Suppressant/Syrup

It really puts a damper on a day of exploring when you have a nagging cough that just won’t stop. Over-the-counter cough suppressants or syrup can be used to reduce the intensity of a cough, making it easier for sufferers to get some rest.

Buy the Top Brands:
Robitussin Max Strength Cough and Congestion Liquid Medicine
HALLS Honey Lemon Sugar Free Cough Drops


10. Decongestant

A decongestant can be a lifesaver during your travels. Not only can it help to relieve irritating and uncomfortable symptoms of a cold or seasonal allergies they help to clear the passages and reduce inflammation in the body to allow for better breathing and relief from sinus headaches.

Buy the Top Brands:
Sudafed Maximum Strength Non-Drowsy Decongestant Tablets
Afrin Original 12 Hour Nasal Congestion Relief Spray


11. Disposable Gloves

Packing a pair of disposable gloves can protect yourself and others when attending to an injury. These gloves help provide a barrier, ensuring you don’t come into contact with any germs or bacteria lingering on a wound, therefore preventing any further infection.

Buy the Top Brands:
Comfy Package Black Nitrile Disposable Gloves
SAFESKIN Disposable Nitrile Gloves in POP-N-GO

Bandages


12. Eye Drops

Traveling can often leave your eyes feeling strained, dry and uncomfortable. Whether you’re out sightseeing, spending a long day on a plane, or working long hours staring at a computer screen, you need to have some eye drops handy to alleviate the irritation. Eye drops provide immediate relief by washing away dirt and bacteria, moisturizing your eyes and replenishing their natural lubricants so that they don’t feel dry and scratchy.

Buy the Top Brands:
TheraTears Dry Eye Therapy Eye Drops
Visine Red Eye Hydrating Comfort 


13. Face Mask

Face masks are a part of our “new normal” lives, offering protection from air pollution, dust, and other environmental elements, but also helping prevent the spread of airborne pathogens. In these unpredictable times, it is even more important for travelers to take extra precautions—having an easily accessible face mask in your first aid kit can go a long way towards keeping yourself safe as well as others around you.

 Buy the Top Brands:
Grey Disposable 3 Ply Face Mask
3M N95


14. Gauze

Gauze is a loosely-woven medical bandage used for lightly compressing wounds and providing protection from outside elements such as dirt and debris. It comes in varying sizes and lengths to fit any injury or wound, ranging from superficial scratches to deep abrasions. Gauze can also be layered on top of one another until the desired cushioning and pressure has been achieved while still allowing the skin to breathe beneath it.

Buy the Top Brands:
Medpride
Band-Aid Brand

Bandages


15. Ginger Pill

If you’re looking for a more natural way to ease some of the travel aches and pains, ginger is a natural digestive aid that helps reduce nausea, motion sickness, stomach aches, mild cramping and dizziness. There are many studies that have identified important compounds in the root that provide anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties

Buy the Top Brands:
Nutricost 
Nature’s Way


16. Hydrocortisone Cream

Hydrocortisone cream is a topical steroid that can help soothe and reduce swelling and redness caused by skin irritation, such as bug bites, sunburns, itching and other minor skin ailments. Not only is it great for a travel emergency use but also provides ongoing relief from conditions like dermatitis or eczema.

Buy the Top Brands:
Cortizone 10 
Aquaphor Hydrocortisone Anti Itch Skin Ointment


17. Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a natural antiseptic that helps to both clean and protect wounds from infection, making sure the skin can heal quickly and properly. Not only does it  prevent bacteria from entering any open wounds, its oxygen bubbles create a tingling sensation which helps ease pain. Additionally, since hydrogen peroxide decomposes easily into oxygen and water, there isn’t any residue to irritate or harm healthy skin around the wound area.

Buy the Top Brand:
Swan


18. Insect Bite Anti-Itch Gel or Cream

Mosquito and other bug bites are ANNOYING, and there’s many destinations that are prone to these pesky critters (I’m talking to you Guyana!). Having an anti-itch gel or cream is the best solution for anyone who is dealing with an annoying and itchy bug bite. It can provide immediate relief and limit the side effects, such as inflammation and discomfort.

Buy the Top Brands:
After Bite
Earth’s Care

Insect Repellent


19. Insect Repellent

Traveling to exotic places can also mean insects and bugs! Do not let these little creatures stop you from exploring the world! Bring along a variety of repellants to help you best enjoy your stay.

Buy the Top Brands:
Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Mosquito Repellent
OFF! Deep Woods Insect Repellent


20. Instant Cold Pack

When packing your travel medicine bag, an Instant Cold Pack might be overlooked, but it’s an incredibly versatile tool that can help in a variety of situations. Whether you just hit your finger with a hammer outdoors or are dealing with more serious injuries on a camping trip, an Instant Cold Pack can provide some relief and comfort in the moment.

Buy the Top Brands:
Clever Health Disposable Instant Cold Pack

Travel Injury


21. Laxative

The fact is that many travelers out there suffer from constipation, and if you’re one of them a laxative can be a Godsend. They work by either increasing fluid in the small intestine to help move things along or help make stools softer, so they are easier to pass.

Buy the Top Brands:
Dulcolax Laxative Tablets 
ex-lax Maximum Strength Stimulant Laxative Pills


22. Medical Tape

Medical tape, also known as surgical tape, is an invaluable tool for any first aid kit, particularly when you’re traveling. It can be used to hold gauze and bandages in place, especially on hard-to-bandage areas like wrists and fingers. I am currently traveling with a broken toe and am using it to tape my toes together, so one toe is acting as a splint for the other!

Buy the Top Brand:
Nexcare Gentle Paper First Aid Tape with Dispenser

Bandages


23. Micro Led Flashlight

A tiny flashlight may not sound like an important addition to your emergency kit, but it can be invaluable in an unexpected situation. For example, if you are camping in the middle of nowhere, and it’s in the middle of the night and you need to inspect the wound of a family member or friend that was injured. tHaving a micro LED flashlight can also help if you need to read dosage instructions or expiration dates on medication. Of course if you have a phone with a flashlight, you can skip this.

Buy the Top Brands:
ThruNite EDC Flashlight Archer Mini
OLIGHT Tiny Rechargeable Keychain Flashlight


24. Motion Sickness Medication

Motion sickness medication can be a saving grace when it comes to getting through car trips, boat rides and flights! These medications work by blocking the signals between the inner ear and the brain, which can help reduce dizziness, nausea and vomiting. They come in both pill form and as patches that are applied to the skin behind your ear.

Buy the Top Brands:
Dramamine All Day Less Drowsy Motion Sickness Relief
Bonine Chewable for Motion Sickness Relief


25. Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS)

You can become dehydrated really quick if you are suffering from diarrhea, vomiting or excessive heat. Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) have the ability to provide the essential salts and minerals our body needs for proper hydration during a bout of illness. The electrolytes or hydro lights will restore your body back up with all the goodness it needs while keeping your sugar and salt levels in check.

Buy the Top Brands:
DripDrop Hydration – Electrolyte Powder Packets
Hydralyte Electrolyte Tablets


26. Pain Reliever

A key item in any travel first aid kit should be a pain reliever. Remedying common maladies such as headaches and cramps while traveling can make all the difference in having an enjoyable holiday versus an excruciatingly painful one. Pain relievers can relieve discomfort almost instantly, meaning faster recovery time and less worry about worsening symptoms.

Buy the Top Brands:
Tylenol Extra Strength Caplets
Advil Pain Reliever and Fever Reducer

Travel Injury


27. Emergency Contact List

If you ever find yourself needing medical attention or assistance while on the road, being able to easily access the contact details of doctors, police or family is essential.

First Aid Kit


28. Saline Nasal Spray

Most people think of bandages and aspirin when assembling their medicine bag, but don’t forget to add a bottle of saline nasal spray. This spray can help alleviate the symptoms of allergies, colds, and sinus infection while traveling— relieving congestion, stuffiness, or dryness in the nose. It can also be used to flush out mucus and dirt particles that are stuck in the nasal passages.

Buy the Top Brands:
Vicks Sinex Saline Nasal Spray, Drug Free Ultra Fine Mist
ARM & HAMMER Simply Saline Nasal Care


29. Sanitizer

Trains, planes, buses…the germs are everywhere! These days, it’s rare that people leave the house without some sanitizer in hand, so adding it to your travel medicine bag is essential. Whether it’s a gel or a wipe, sanitizer is extremely handy for many different things, from cleaning minor scrapes to helping keep your hands germ-free.

Buy the Top Brands:
Purell Singles
EO Botanical Lavender Hand Sanitizer
The Honest Company Sanitizing Alcohol Wipes


30. Scissors

Packing scissors in your travel first aid kit is an absolute must— even if it’s just a tiny pair of emergency ones! Not only can a good pair of scissors come in handy for emergency clothing repairs, but they are also invaluable when dealing with medical emergencies. For example, if you must construct makeshift bandages or splints, having a pair of scissors on-hand means that you can snip any loose ends and customize them to the shape of the affected area. Additionally, they can be used to cut off clothes or dressings that have become stuck to a wound or dressing.

Buy the Top Brands:
Plus Pen Style Compact Scissors
Luleyjor Folding Travel scissors
SUMAJU Folding Stainless Steel Scissors

Travel Injury


31. Sleep Aid

One of the best ways to stay healthy while traveling is by getting plenty of rest. However, if you’re staying in unfamiliar places or have an irregular sleep schedule it can become difficult to fall asleep and/or stay asleep. That’s why packing a sleep aid in your travel first aid kit is so important—it ensures that you get essential rest during your travels, no matter where you are.

Buy the Top Brands:
ZzzQuil Nighttime Sleep Aid LiquiCaps
Carlyle Melatonin Tablets 


32. Sunscreen

Don’t let the sun take a toll on your health while you travel the world! Sunscreen is important whether traveling in the mountains or beaches. It helps prevent sunburns especially in places where the terrains and conditions are different than what you are used to.

Buy the Top Brands:
Neutrogena Beach Defense Spray Sunscreen SPF 70 
Coppertone SPORT Sunscreen Spray SPF 30
Neutrogena Ultra Dry-Touch Sunscreen

Sunscreen


33. Thermometer

Having a thermometer on hand not only allows for convenient fever tracking, but taking a temperature also gives insight into what type of illness you or someone you’re with might have.

Buy the Top Brands:
iHealth No-Touch Forehead Thermometer
Konques Digital Thermoter


34. Tweezers

Tweezers are an incredibly versatile and useful item that can come in handy when dealing with minor injuries. Since they have pointed ends, they’re able to remove debris such as splinters and thorns from our skin. Additionally, tweezers can be used for delicate tasks such as cleaning dirt out of a wound as well as adjusting dressings without causing further harm to the injured area.

Buy the Top Brands:
Revlon Mini Tweezer Set
Tweezerman Rose Gold Slanted Tweezer

First Aid Kit


35. Water Purification Tablets

Having water purification tablets can help protect you from bacteria-borne illnesses and keep you healthy while discovering new places. Even if the tap water in a foreign country is potable, waterborne illnesses are incredibly common and can easily ruin your trip. With just a single tablet, you can make any water safe to drink—instantly!

Buy the Top Brand:
Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets 


36. Whistle

Whistles are essential for alerting people that you need help in an emergency, especially in wilderness areas when being visible or audible is more difficult. They can call attention to yourself so that other individuals and authorities can quickly respond to urgent situations such as weather warnings, medical concerns, getting lost, and traveling companions in danger.

Buy the Top Brand:
Storm Alert Whistle


37. Tissues

No toilet paper in the restroom? Need to blow your nose? Want to pick up something nasty from the floor? Tissues will come in handy in a variety of different ways while you’re on the road.

Buy the Top Brands:
Kimberly-Clark Kleenex 3-Ply Pocket Packs Facial Tissues

First Aid Kit


38. Medications and Vitamins

Of course don’t forget your normal everyday vitamins and prescribed medications!

. . .

A travel medicine bag is your first line of defense when it comes to being prepared for unexpected emergencies while traveling. With a well-stocked first aid kit, you can help protect yourself and your family against health risks during trips and vacations.

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