My first trip to South-East Asia one of my friends rattled off a bunch of medications to make sure I took with me. I needed them. Since then I’ve added and refined to the essential medical supplies I carry with me to any destination. Getting sick while traveling is awful, but sometimes a harsh reality, and in some countries access to medical supplies can be limited. But some basic travel first aid supplies don’t take up a lot of space in your luggage. Whether you’re after a backpacking first aid kit, or something to squeeze in your suitcase, you’ll be thankful for them if you need them! I’ve needed many of these items on multiple trips.
So here’s the must have DIY first aid kit list for anywhere you travel.
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It’s important to check the restrictions on medications for the countries you’ll be traveling in. Regardless, it’s a good idea to get a letter from your Doctor listing any prescription and non-prescription medications you’ll be carrying. The last thing you want putting a damper on your holiday is to be accused of transporting contraband.
Take copies of any prescriptions. As well as a paper copy of any documents. I also save a photo to an internet location I can access remotely just in case.
Whether you’re normally an allergy sufferer or not, you never know what plants or bugs you might be exposed to in a foreign country that might prompt a reaction. It’s a good idea to have an antihistamine handy just in case.
As a migraine sufferer, I never travel without Ibuprofen. You just never know.
This one is a must. Our stomachs can’t always adjust particularly well to foreign foods and sometimes it just doesn’t matter how careful you are. These were a lifesaver for me both in the Philippines and Cuba. Make sure you have some Imodium with you.
Another one for the upset stomachs. Buscopan will relieve the pain of cramping and spasms, even if you don’t have the diarrhoea to go with it.
This is one I haven’t tried myself but is well endorsed by other travelers. Yet another product for the upset stomach, activated charcoal works by absorbing the nasty bacteria in your system.
But they’re also useful to boost your hydration if you’ve got sick.
The last thing you want is to get a simple cut or graze infected while you’re traveling. Betadine antiseptic liquid is great for treating any minor skin injury.
You’ll need some cotton buds handy for cleaning any minor skin injury.
It goes without saying you’ll always need a bandaid when you don’t have one!
This one is a rockclimbing trick. Been walking all day and blisters on the feet? Give them a once over with an alcohol wipe. It will dry out the skin and heal quicker.
Another must is hand sanitiser. Not something to worry about in the west perhaps but certainly in Central America and the Caribbean, soap is not a guaranteed sight in bathrooms. These little bottles are great for sticking in your bag or pockets.
Aloe Vera Gel
No one sets out to get sunburned, but chances are at some point it’ll happen and it can really rain on your holiday! Aloe vera gel is a must to include for your own comfort.