March 18th, 2015

Travel 9-1-1: Packing Your First Aid Kit

Taking a trip is all fun and games—until someone gets hurt. Is your travel first aid kit filled with everything that you need to deal with the most common emergencies that pop up on the road?

Ready to leave for your next trip? If you haven't yet packed a first aid kit, then you're not! Even minor aches can become major pains when you’re away from home and don't have the proper medical solutions.

With a travel first aid kit, you can patch up cuts, minimize injuries, and even prevent certain travel ailments. Be prepared for minor travel emergencies with these first aid kit checklists!

The Basic Kit:

Fill a Large Pack-It Sac with the following essentials, and you’ll be better able to handle minor injuries and even prevent common travel ailments.

  • Prescription medicines: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends packing a note on letterhead stationery from the prescribing physician along with any controlled substances and injectable medications that you need. Leave a copy of this note at home with a friend or relative, and check that all medicines that you carry with you are legal in your destination country.
  • Health insurance card
  • Climate-specific allergy medicine
  • Vitamins
  • Antihistamines
  • Motion sickness tablets (such as Dramamine®)
  • Altitude sickness tablets (such as Diamox)
  • Sleep aid
  • Antacid (Alka-Seltzer®, Tums®)
  • Ace bandage
  • BAND-AIDS®
  • Disinfectant/rubbing alcohol (Keep it from spilling all over your kit by storing it in travel-friendly silicone bottles.)
  • Antiseptic towelettes
  • Cotton pads
  • Cotton Swabs (Q-tips®)
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Tweezers
  • Cold Pack
  • Analgesics (Tylenol®, Ibuprofen, Aspirin)
  • Antidiarrheal (Imodium®, Pepto-Bismol®)

For Kids

Little travelers can have big first aid needs! Check with your pediatrician for prescriptions for the little ones, and add the following items to your basic kit:

  • Age-appropriate versions of over-the-counter medicines (Children’s Benadryl®, Children’s Tylenol®, etc.)
  • Thermometer
  • Diaper rash cream
  • Hand sanitizer gel
  • Bee-sting kit (including an EpiPen®)

For Camping and Hiking

The camping first aid kit is the most extensive of the bunch. The great outdoors presents lots of opportunities for minor injuries, and day after day of long treks can take a toll on even the most seasoned hiker. Don’t forget that clean water won’t always be readily available at the site of an injury! Prepare for these challenges by adding the following first aid items to the Basic Kit before it goes in your travel pack:

  • Water purification tablets (Such as iodine tablets)
  • Moleskin blister patches and small scissors
  • Soap
  • Anti-fungal cream
  • Skin repair hand cream
  • Sunscreen
  • Petroleum Jelly (such as Vaseline)
  • Space Blanket
  • Water-Proof Matches
  • Sterile needles and suture supplies
  • Insect repellant

When it's Freezing

Heading out for a ski vacation or trekking through the cold? Prepare for the skin-drying climate (not to mention the frostbite risk) by warming up your basic kit with these cold-weather items:

  • Hand warmers
  • Chapstick
  • Skin repair hand cream
  • Sunscreen
  • Petroleum Jelly (such as Vaseline)
  • Space Blanket
  • Water-Proof Matches

When It’s Dry

The three rules of staying healthy in warm, arid climates are hydrate, hydrate, and, what's that third one again? Oh, right: hydrate! On top of the water that you should be guzzling on your trip, add these items to the first aid kit in your suitcase:

  • Oral rehydration solution packets/rehydration salts
  • Sunscreen and lip balm with a sun protection factor of 50 or higher.
  • Aloe gel

For Tropical Climates

Tropical climates have first aid challenges that buzz around like unwelcome travel companions. Prepare for the mosquitos and other tropical troubles with these first aid items:

  • Insect repellent
  • Oral rehydration solution packets/rehydration salts
  • Aloe gel
  • Sunscreen and lip balm with a sun protection factor of 50 or higher.
  • Anti-malarials (discuss prior to your trip with a medical professional) 
  • Cortisone cream
  • Mosquito net (outside the kit, but just as important)

Are you ready for your next trip? Let us know what go-to first aid items you pack when you’re traveling in the comments section!

While Eagle Creek is here to provide tips and insights on travel, we cannot accept any responsibility for any potential consequences arising from the use of this information.  Always conduct your own research and use your best judgment.

Caila Ball-Dionne is a freelance writer and full-time travel enthusiast. You can read more of her work at CailaBall.com

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by Caila Ball-Dionne

Caila Ball-Dionne is a freelance writer and full-time travel enthusiast. You can find more of her writing at CailaBall.com.

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