When planning our first-aid kit for international travel, I tried to think about what I would want to have on-hand in the middle of the night if someone was sick or hurt. You can find pharmacies in most cities worldwide that will carry almost anything you could possibly need, but it’s those cries at 2AM for which you want to be prepared…or in the Moroccan desert.
Tips for Packing your First-Aid Kit
- Talk to your physician or a travel-specific doctor or pharmacist about potential concerns in the country(ies) you are visiting.
- The contents and the quantity of the items in your kit will vary greatly based on the country(ies) you visit and the length of time you are away. We are traveling for nine months to at least twelve countries, including the middle-of-nowhere desert, and our first-aid kit reflects it.
- You’re the expert of your family. What things do you use frequently at home? Do you have a kid obsessed with band-aids (I do!) or one that is super accident prone (I do!)? Bring those things. You’ll be happy to have them on hand.
- Pack a smaller first-aid kit in your day bag that includes basic wound care and some stickers to turn those frowns upside down. We have had this MediBuddy First Aid Kit since the twins were babies and refill it when needed.
- Don’t worry too much about making everything fit in one, organized, little kit. Sure, we have a cute kit, but we also have daily medications, asthma meds, a giant nebulizer, and bottles of Ibuprofen and Benadryl that don’t fit. It’s fine.
- There are some great pre-made first-aid kits out there. We had this insanely comprehensive one from REI before kids, and honestly, most of it expired before we had a chance to use it (which I guess is a good thing!).
Aches, Pains, and Fevers
- Pain reliever and fever reducer for adults
- We each keep these in the bags we carry daily rather than in the kit, as aches and pains seem to come on quite often when you’re over 30.
- Pain reliever and fever reducer for children
- We did not pack an infant-specific medication, as Luca is over 6-months-old and can take a smaller dosage of the children’s version of Ibuprofen. (View the dosage chart)
- Thermometer – We chose to bring our digital ear thermometer because we’re used to it and feel like it’s pretty accurate. It’s a bit bulky, but the ease is worth it to us.
Allergies and Itches
- Children’s Benadryl
- Cortisone cream – my boys have eczema and I have an uncontrollable urge to itch mosquito bites. This helps with both ailments.
- We did not pack allergy medications for adults – My husband has pretty bad environmental allergies, but it’s highly contextual and he’s only going to be driving me crazy with sniffles until we can locate some Zyrtec.
- Imodium AD for adults and kids – We chatted with the kids’ pediatrician before leaving about the dosage they could take.
- Chewable Pepto-Bismol (adults only)
- Azithromycin prescribed by our physicians back home for severe diarrhea. We have this for the big kids too.
- Bandaids in various sizes
- Gauze pads in various sizes
- Bandage tape
- Alcohol pads
- Polysporin, Bacitracin, Neosporin, etc.
Personal Daily Medications and Emergency Medications
- We keep daily medications in an accessible spot, outside of our first-aid kit.
- Emergency medications – Our oldest son has cough-variant asthma, which can be pretty terrifying in the middle of the night when he can’t stop coughing or catch his breath. He is on daily medication, but we also carry his heavy nebulizer and associated medications with us wherever we go, even in the states. Similarly, I would imagine a person with severe allergies would always want an Epi-Pen on hand.
- Electrolyte powder packets – We busted these out literally one day into our nine month trip.
- Small scissors
- A small syringe to dispense infant medications
- Cups for the kids to take liquid medications
- Hand Sanitizer or a way to clean your hands – we like the Honest Co. spray and Wet Ones hand wipes.
What would you include in your first-aid kit? Do I need to run out and buy something?