This picture here may indicate why we are firm believers in having a first aid kit along on our travels. Clearly, my first aid needs can be extreme when traveling, which I do NOT recommend, but being sick or uncomfortable on vacation can ruin your fun. Packing a few first-aid items can minimize travel discomfort and maximize travel fun! We have some go-to items we’re sure to pack that can make a not-so-great situation more bearable.
Many people end up with a cold after flying — maybe it’s all that recycled air or all those ups and downs putting pressure on your ears — and that’s no fun. Having some tea to soothe your throat, some vitamin C to boost your immune system, and perhaps a cold capsule to help you sleep can help fight the bugs off or at least feel a little better while they’re mucking everything up in your head.
When the bugs attack your stomach, and they often do when you travel, it can be helpful to have some antacids or Pepto Bismol on hand. If things don’t clear up, you may need to take Imodium (loperamide) to slow things down. If you’re getting really dehydrated, oral rehydration salts will fix you up. But they taste terrible, so try really hard not to have to need them!
If you get into a scrape (sorry), slather on the anti-bacterial ointment and cover it with a bandage, and you’ll be off and running again. It’s a good idea to let scrapes dry out in the air as well, so if you aren’t going to be out and active, you can just let them be. Blister bandages, if you haven’t found these things yet, are amazing when you get a blister — one of the worst maladies when traveling. Moleskin is, of course, the traditional gold standard for blister protection. Consider using it for hot spots before you actually get a blister.
Discovered the poison ivy or the nettles on the trail, got stung by a bee, or broke out in hives? Anti-itch cream and antihistamine pills can really help soothe your skin. Antihistamine pills can also help you fall asleep if you’re having trouble sleeping in a strange (or loud) place. Seasickness medications can also double as a sleeping aid, although thankfully now they make them that are non-drowsy.
And of course we are big fans of sunscreen — for the body and the lips!
Be sure to pre-order and pack enough prescription medications to get you through your trip. If you’re traveling somewhere exotic, you may need additional medications, like anti-malarial pills. (We’ll be taking them in Belize this summer!) Check the CDC’s travel website to see if any immunizations are recommended for your destination; some health providers even offer a travel clinic that caters to travelers’ pre-trip needs.
We repack all the medications into baggies or travel size containers and pack everything into a very small bag, so they don’t hog up a lot of space. You know when you’re traveling with just carry-ons like we do, you’ve got to pack light!
Of course we’re not doctors, and we’re pretty sure our readers are smart enough to know that this is just our own personal advice, but for the record, if you’ve got a question about any of this, please talk to a real doctor.
Do you have a go-to item in your travel first aid kit that we left out? Leave us a note in the comments. And enjoy a healthy week or weekend, wherever your travels take you!