When traveling, most people think about packing the right outfits, shoes, and toiletries. Then there are people like me who pack a travel medicine bag for those “just in case” moments. Packing the medications you may need, especially when traveling abroad relieves the stress of finding and figuring out what a comparable medication is in a place foreign to you.
With these things in mind, below is a list of essentials I pack in my travel medicine bag.
Pain Relievers/Fever Reducers
Whether it is due to dehydration, or stress from travel, somehow I end up with a headache during travel, which is why I always have over the counter medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Motrin or Aleve) to help relieve pain. These medications also work as a fever reducer should any of us become ill. Another pain reliever I pack, which I take during long flights is baby Aspirin (81 mg), which acts as a blood thinner. This helps reduce the risk of developing a clot or deep vein thrombosis (DVT). However, you should always consult with your doctor before taking any medication, especially if you are at risk for bleeding.
One time during the last few days of one of our trips, I had come down with what I thought was a bad head cold. Thankfully, I had packed Theraflu Cold & Sinus and a decongestant in my travel medicine bag, which helped me get by until I was able to see a doctor back home.
Anti-histamines come in handy when you suffer from seasonal allergies, a food allergy or an insect bite. I pack both an ingestable anti-histamine and a topical treatment for all instances because you just never know. Since my mosquito bites enlarge to the size of a golf ball and itch like crazy, having both helps a lot.
Medication for Upset Stomach or Diarrhea
I know, from experience that traveler’s diarrhea and constipation are a real thing. I have, unfortunately, experience both. I’m sorry if that is TMI, but the truth about travel is, not all places agree with your GI system. This is why I’ve learned to pack things like anti-gas medications, stool softeners and/or laxatives, and antidiarrheals. The last thing you want is for a stomach issue to prevent you from enjoying your trip. Because 3-5 days on a toilet out of a 7-day trip is not fun.
Related: Things to Bring with You When You Travel
Traveling, especially air travel can increase dehydration due to the plane’s low humidity levels. You can also become dehydrated during travel through activities that cause you to sweat and lose hydration, such as walking, hiking/climbing, or even sunbathing or playing water sports. In addition to the fun things that can cause your body to dehydrate during travel, there is the dreaded travel stomach bug. Something my family and I know all about.
During our last trip to Morocco, we all got a stomach bug (driver included), which meant we needed to replenish all of the electrolytes our body was losing while trying to get rid of this bug. Thankfully, our guide was able to get us some electrolytes. From this point going forward, I vowed to pack travel-friendly electrolyte powder in my travel medicine bag anytime we travel.
Related: The Only Travel Tips You Will Need to Survive Traveling with Kids
Alcohol Pads and Bandaids
My travel medicine bag also includes alcohol pads and bandaids. The alcohol pads come in handy for calming an area with an insect bite or cleaning a cut. Bandaids are great for, of course, protecting a wound, but also for preventing shoes from rubbing against your skin when you’re walking for hours during a tour.
Anti-Itch and Antibiotic Ointment
Skin irritations can happen at any time during a vacation, like a mosquito or other insect bites, for which you can use an anti-itch cream such as hydrocortisone. Cuts and scrapes can happen at any time, especially for kids you’re traveling with who run, jump and fall. For these moments, I have some antibiotic ointment like Neosporin on-hand for my daughter.
Note: Because we usually travel as a family, my medicine bag for travel contains a combination of both children and adult medications. These, of course, can be switched out to cater to the needs of your trip.