What should be in a traveler's medical kit?
It's always wise to bring a medical kit with you on vacation — especially on extended vacations. Having a few things on hand can help make your trip more enjoyable and minor illnesses less inconvenient.
Below are suggested over-the-counter (OTC) items to pack in your medical kit. Personalize your travel kit by deciding which items are the best to carry.
- Antiseptics (betadine, alcohol)
- Antibacterial soap or towelettes, hand-cleaning gel
- Personal toilet tissue (small facial tissue pack works well), washcloth
- Sterile bandages, ACE (rolled elastic) bandages, cotton
- Scissors, tweezers, teaspoon, tablespoon
- Thermometer — digital
- Aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen
- Motion sickness pills (such as Dramamine® or Bonine®) — look for the active ingredient meclizine, which is less sedating
- Anti-diarrheal medication (such as Imodium® AD [loperamide])
- Antacids, acid-blocking OTC medication (such as Pepcid® and/or Pepto-Bismol®)
- Laxatives or stool softeners (diet variances and travel can cause constipation)
- Over-the-counter vaginal yeast medication, or athlete's foot cream
- Over-the-counter sleeping pills
- Salt tablets where excessive sweating occurs due to heavy exertion in a tropical area
- Powdered sports drinks (such as Gatorade®, Powerade®)
- Non-sugar sweeteners (such as Sweet-n-Low®, Equal®, Splenda®) if medically indicated
- Insect repellent with 30% to 50% DEET recommended (towelettes with repellent may be easiest to transport); or products containing picaridin
- Common medications and necessities including decongestants, antacids, antihistamines, condoms, spermicidal gels, other contraceptives, and tampons/sanitary napkins
- Extra pair of eyeglasses and contacts; hearing aid batteries; watch batteries
In case of custom inspections, bring prescription medications in their original containers to avoid questions related to a mixture of pills in a single bottle. This will also help in case of emergency refill requests.
If there are too many bottles, list medications, including brand and generic names (brand names often vary overseas) and dosage amounts. Any necessary narcotics or needles should be carried along with a letter signed by a doctor explaining why and how they are to be used.