Healthcare on the road is a big concern. Whether you are traveling for work or adventure, it is quite common to overlook the importance of carrying a travel medical kit. However, if you take your time and pack a solid first aid kit for your travel, you can get out of some very unpredictable and nasty situations.
Visiting a doctor when you are away from home can be a hassle. It is especially true when you are away from the city – like hiking or other physical activities – and you suddenly need medical assistance. Keeping a few medications and other first aid items handy can help you deal with unpleasant situations and give you enough time to see a doctor if necessary.
Here is a detailed guide to all the necessary considerations you must take into account while packing your travel medical kit.
Preparing travel medical kit – the considerations
A solid kit must contain some mainstay items, but it is also essential to have a very personal approach to it. If you are already on some type of medication, the first step should be to accommodate those in your kit.
Other considerations should be related to the destination, climate, and your health. Unless you are planning to go alone for hiking in a remote area, where finding medical supplies or assistance is not easy, a travel medical kit should be practical and lightweight. Over-packing is a common mistake that will put you in further trouble. Not only you have to carry a heavier kit; you may not be able to access the essential items without digging around.
Planning your kit right requires thinking about your specific travel and experience on the road. Here are some common considerations:
- Be prepared for blisters, especially if you will be walking more or going for hiking.
- Medication for stomach problems is a must. Trying out new food can cause digestive issues.
- Extreme weather conditions may lead to small scrapes and infections.
- Be prepared for insect bites.
- Medications that help with muscle pain, such as pain in the lower left abdomen, are also a must.
- Carry a few extras to help your travel mate on the go.
- Pack anything that you deem important for your specific travel.
The must-have items for your travel medical kit
This list includes some of the most essential and fundamental items. However, this does not put any limit on the things you can carry. Keeping your journey and destination in mind, feel free to make additions as per your requirements.
- Bandages and plasters
This one goes without saying. Undoubtedly, it’s the most necessary item in any first aid kit. You should be prepared for some minor injuries like a graze or a cut. And having a few plasters in different sizes is always great to carry.
If you are going for trekking, keeping a few blister plasters is also a good idea. Of course, going overboard with just bandages or plasters will eat up a lot of space in your medical kit. So make sure you keep a few of each type but not excessive.
- A digital thermometer
A handy tool to monitor fever on the go, a digital thermometer gives you exact results and helps you determine if you need immediate medical assistance. It is a significant item to keep in your travel medical kit if you are traveling to places where dengue fever is common.
Operate it a few times at home before to make sure it is working fine.
- Gauze pads
Any travel medical kit with gauze pad is incomplete. Make sure you have enough supply of gauze, which is a multipurpose medical item. It can be used to apply pressure to a wound, clean and soak blood, clean injury helps stop bleeding, and can be used for dressing up small wounds.
Even more extensive wounds cleaned and wrapped with a layer of gauze can be kept stable. It allows you enough time to find medical assistance.
- Crepe or elastic bandages
Keep at least one of these in your medical kit. Not only it can help when you have an aching muscle or pain in the lower left abdomen, but a crepe bandage can also be used for small wound dressings and to keep everything in place until you are ready for medical attention.
Remember to keep only a few for an emergency to allow more space for other essential things.
- Scissors and surgical tape
Every medical kit needs at least one small pair of scissors and surgical tape. These are essential emergency items that help in cutting and securing bandages to cover wounds. Scissors are apparently useful for cutting and trimming bandages and gauze to adjust size.
However, be careful when traveling by air. Make sure your kit is in your luggage and not in your hand-carry bag, or the airline security will confiscate it.
- Antiseptic wipes and tweezers
To prepare a social travel medical kit, make sure you do not overlook these items. Tweezers come in handy when you have to clean wounds and pull out splinters, bits of dirt and stones. There are various other practical uses of tweezers in a first aid kit.
On the other hand, antiseptic wipes are utterly essential too. They help clean wounds and keep them from becoming infected. It’s a step necessary before you apply a dressing to the wound. Carry a few and restock if you need more.
In addition to any prescribed medicines you are already carrying, it is essential to keep a few pain relief medicines in your travel medical kit. It could be anything that works effectively for pain relief. Only ibuprofen or similar medications are fine too.
Also, make sure you have a supply of loperamide tablets that you use for stopping diarrhea temporarily. An upset stomach is a common side effect of traveling, and in between your journey, this could be a real hassle. Avoid your bathroom trips with these medicines until you can see a doctor and treat diarrhea properly.
Other forms of medicine include antihistamine cream – for avoiding rash and itchy bumps after being bitten by a bug – and antibacterial creams to prevent infecting scrapes and cuts you get. This list can obviously be tailored depending on your specific needs. So make sure you list it down and pack your medicines accordingly.
Don’t forget to keep a hand sanitizer to keep your hands germ-free at all times. Clean hands are particularly crucial for cleaning and dressing up wounds to avoid infections.
Tips for packing your travel medical kit
Here are a few additional packing tips:
- Pick tablets and gels. If the medicine is available in both liquid and solid form, always prefer the latter. They are easier to carry and have fewer chances of getting messed up.
- Pick flat packets and sachets of medicines and other supplies over bottles and tubes as flat packets will help you save more space.
- Ask for travel size packaging for all items. They are likely to be enough for your trip and can save a lot of space in your medical kit.
- Do not pack the medicines with the boxes on. Use flat-packs and un-box items to save space. For medicine instruction, keep leaflets or put up important info on tape and put it on the back side of the medicine.
- Use zippered cases for packing. In case you are expecting rough weather, pick a waterproof case instead. Avoid packing liquids and heavy glass bottles that are likely to leak.
- Use a rubber band to tie all similar type of items together and place them close to each other on a sturdy piece of cloth and wrap it up. This DIY travel medicine kit can be rolled and placed anywhere in your luggage.
- Keep only enough items. Do not carry unnecessary things as it will just make it more difficult to carry.
So go on and pack your very own first travel medical kit and be prepared to face minor emergencies when you are on-the-go. We hope that you never have to use it, but if you need one, you know you are backed up well.
Having a full travel kit with all the necessary supplies will help you enjoy your journey with peace of mind.
Evie Harrison is a blogger by choice. She loves to discover the world around her. She likes to share her discoveries, experiences and express herself through her blogs.
Find her on Twitter:@iamevieharrison