List of places to visit? Check. Accommodation? Check. Local transport apps? Check.
First aid? Well…It’s not something we want to think about in our pre-trip optimism. But, packing a first aid kit can be a godsend when incidents come up that threaten to derail our holidays.
At the same time, it’s always good to be well-prepared for any situation when you’re travelling, but you also risk overpacking items that never see the light of day.
Here are some basic considerations when assembling your travel first aid kit:
Besides mainstays like travel insurance and personal medication, it helps to think about the environment of your destination and your itinerary, before preparing your kit accordingly.
For extra prescription medicine, a reliable gauge to pack is about a week’s worth. For added reassurance, pack a copy of your prescription documentation in case you need to get some from a local pharmacy.
Also, be aware of who you’re packing the kit for. Certain medicines might be too intense for children, so pack the appropriate products for the young ones.
Stock your kit with remedies for any problems you foresee. Pain relief medication, like paracetamol or ibuprofen, helps to fight headaches and reduce any uncomfortable sensations. Dramamine helps combat any motion or travel sickness.
Itchiness and bug bites can be the bane of any travel experience, but antihistamine cream will soothe the discomfort. Aloe products are also great for alleviating any sunburned displeasure.
Other products to consider include anti-diarrhoea and antacid pills so you can eat worry-free, and decongestant and cough drops to eliminate any pesky blocked noses or coughs.
It’s important to note that if you’ve never taken these medications before, you should consult a doctor or pharmacist before purchasing them, to check if they’re the best thing for you.
Also, purchasing these items in your destination country brings other issues, from language miscommunication to stocking unfamiliar brands which might not work for you, so it’s better to get your products at home if possible.
Sky juice is always essential. But if you’ve been using the facilities repeatedly, have some rehydration salts on hand to quickly restore your body’s hydration levels. Water purification tablets are also handy for more rural locations where access to drinking water is more dubious.
Gauze and medical tape. Packed in sterile squares, these will help to protect any open wounds with temporary dressing until proper treatment is available. They can also be used to secure slings or to hold ice in place if any sprains or knocks occur.
Plasters are useful for protecting and dressing scrapes, blisters, and other perforations to the skin. Have some antiseptic wipes to clean the wound before applying.
Emergency contraception: Again, this depends on your itinerary, when it’s better to be safe than sorry, as these can be more difficult to find in other countries.
Tweezers and scissors are useful for removing splinters or opening your medical packages. Note that you can’t bring these onto planes, so remember to pack them in a checked bag. If you only have hand-carry, it’s best to purchase these things after landing.
With all these items, it’s good to label them according to their use, so that anyone will be able to navigate its contents regardless of their medical knowledge.
There are plenty of solid guides on travel first aid kits out there, but this article hopes to get you started on the essentials. Customise a kit that will be of most use to you and your group.
With that sorted, you’re ready to head out with no nagging doubts. If the unexpected injury occurs, your travel buddies will thank you for thinking ahead.
However, the best case is that you won’t need to bust the kit out at all, so keep safety in mind, regardless of your itinerary.