first aid travel kit

First Aid Kit List: 25 Critical Things to Pack to Keep You Healthy

When it comes to my health and travel, there’s an old saying I like to follow…

“Hope for the best.  Plan for the worst.”

Which is exactly why I always pack a complete first aid kit no matter where I travel.

It is necessary to consider the medicines to bring on extended excursions outside of United States while putting together a first-aid pack. Don’t underestimate the inconvenience of forgetting to take a pill. Even basic care can be difficult in various parts of Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Oceania, especially in isolated places. If you follow my suggestions for packing your travel pharmacy, you’ll be able to bring everything you need without making it too big.

So what do I mean by “complete?”

Here’s a complete first aid kit list with 25 critical items to pack:

  1. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or Ibuprofen (Advil) to reduce headache, muscle aches, arthritis, backache, toothaches, colds and fevers.
  2. Antacid (Alka-Seltzer) to help with an upset stomach, acid indigestion and headache.
  3. Antibiotics to kill bacterial infections.  In most countries, antibiotics aren’t sold over the counter and you need a prescription.  I always visit my doctor before a trip and ask her to prescribe a general antibiotic.
  4. Anti-diarrhea tablets to reduce symptoms of diarrhea and help you stay hydrated.  Be sure to drink plenty of water.
  5. Antiseptic cream for cuts, open wounds and blisters.
  6. Antiseptic towelette to sanitize cuts, open wounds and blisters.
  7. Aspirin to reduce pain, fever, arthritis, and inflammation.
  8. Band-Aids for cuts, open wounds and blisters.
  9. Chapstick with SPF to relieve dry lips.  Chapstick is crucial if you’re traveling to a high elevation.
  10. Cold & Flu gel caps to reduce cold and flu symptoms.
  11. Cough drops to help sooth a sore and dry throat.  It’s great for airplanes.
  12. Disposable thermometers to measure the body’s temperature.
  13. Ear plugs to reduce noise.  It’s especially helpful if you’re sleeping in a dorm room, catching a red-eye or taking an overnight bus.
  14. Elastic bandage to treat muscle sprains.
  15. Eye drops or salin drops to reduce dry and red eyes.
  16. Hand sanitizer to reduce bacteria.
  17. Hydrocortisone for bug bites.
  18. Moleskin to prevent blisters.
  19. Motion sickness pills (Dramamine) which are great for boat, car and bus rides.
  20. Nail clippers.  I always keep my nails super short when I travel to reduce the amount of bacteria under my nails.  It’s critical if you’re traveling to countries where you eat with your hands.
  21. Prescriptions and medications.
  22. Sanitized safety pin to help with splinters.
  23. Sunscreen to protect your skin.  I like Neutrogena Ultra Sheer with SPF 45 for my body because it doesn’t feel greasy and Olay Complete with SPF 15 for my face.
  24. Tweezers for splinters.
  25. Vitamins to keep you healthy and energized.

Be sure that all medications and pills are properly labeled and you bring prescriptions in case you get checked by customs.


Whatever your trip, choose a travel kit in the smallest format and do not hesitate to compact your first aid items. Take your bandages out of their boxes and store them in transparent zip bags. Be sure to keep track of the expiration dates of certain items, and make a note of the opening date.

If you must choose between the two, always select capsules over tablets! Tablets are more delicate than capsules and are afraid of wetness. Then stay away from Lyoc-format drugs that aren’t travel-resistant.

Organize your kit according to the trauma or injury you are considering: for example, insert an antiseptic next to the bandages and note the usefulness of this mini first aid kit. A compartmentalized first aid kit is more efficient! Also remember to keep the boxes and the instructions for the medication.

It’s always better to be cautious than sorry when it comes to medical attention while traveling. A little planning ahead of time can save you time if you have health issues or have an accident while traveling. Having a well-prepared first-aid kit will set your mind at ease, allowing you to fully enjoy your vacation.

Do you pack other items in your first aid kit?  Share what you pack in a comment below…


I’m in my late twenties who loves the freedom of traveling, the feeling of being anonymous in cities, vegan food, nature and the ocean. I feel the happiest when I’m on the move and in the moment.

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Kara Bout It