Every parent needs a travel medical kit.
Kids fall over. They get allergies. They get fevers and snotty noses and tired legs. Those problems are harder to handle when you are away from home.
Some parents go full survival mode when travelling. We know one dad who carries flares everytime he takes the kids bushwalking. His backpack has a survival first aid kit with bandages, medical wipes, surgical tape, tweezers and gauze. The kit is also waterproof. And heavy.
Personally, my travel medical kit is not that full-on.
I carry anti-histamine tablets on every trip. You never know what kids can be allergic to in foreign countries.
On our trip to Japan, my daughter’s face swelled rapidly overnight. We still don’t know why. I had to find a chemist, then try to communicate via Google translate to ask for antihistamines, and the instructions on the bottle we bought were entirely in Japanese.
It was stressful. Ever since I pack Claratyme or Telfast in our suitcase.
Band-Aids are a must have. Kids love to run and fall over and scrape their knees. Band-Aids are also great for covering blisters if you have walked too much.
Panadol and Nurofen earnt a spot in my travel medical kit when the children were babies. Fevers come on fast.
I also pack antiseptic lotion. This is useful for cuts and scrapes. You can also use it on mosquito bites to prevent impetigo.
Another item that makes the cut is anti-diarrhoea tablets. No explanation needed. You just have to carry on.
Hydration sachets are great to pack. You can add them into the water for post diarrhoea recovery. Or for those days when you do too much activity. Also great for ski trips.
I don’t take a thermometer. Some people do. I find that I can tell just by touching their heads when the kids are really hot.
Sunscreen and lip balm also go into my kit. You always use them.
We also have small squeezie tubes of saline – to wash out eyes when they get dust in them. You would be surprised how many times we have used these when travelling.
Tweezers is another essential – for removing splinters.
Hand sanitizer is always handy when you have to use grubby toilets in an emergency.
Parents with toddlers and babies tell us that baby wipes are essential.
Important things to consider when packing your travel medical kit
Think about where you are travelling to. If you are in Australia, you’ll most likely be able to buy everything you need at your location. Unless of course, you are heading to remote areas.
If you are packing for regional areas in Australia or farm stays you should always have a compression bandage. It will save a life in case of snake bite.
If you are going overseas – could you communicate your needs with the local chemist? If not – take it.
If the location is likely to have mosquitos – come prepared. Nothing ruins a holiday like an itchy child with impetigo.
Then consider the type of activities you have planned. Will you be hiking? Or biking? Or skiing? Is it possible you will get blisters? Could the kids fall? If you plan to cruise – you are going to need ginger or seasickness tablets.
If you need personal medication – make sure you have enough of it to last for your whole trip.
Check whether the medication you take is allowed in the country you are visiting. We know some countries will detain you while they check medication for ADD and ADHD. Other countries with even more strict rules on drugs can send you to jail for medication that is approved in Australia. Always check the rules before you go. A good place to start your research is the smartraveller website.
For kids or adults with asthma – take a spare Ventolin – some countries will not allow you to get a replacement without a script. That could cost you up to $250 in the United States.
Ready-made travel medical kits
You can buy pre-prepared travel medical kits. These are awesome. It saves you thinking through what you need to pack. Most of them also come with instructions for CPR and common first aid practices such as how to deal with a broken limb. Add one to your luggage and you can be sure you will have everything you need in case of an emergency.
We also recommend carrying one in your car at all times – just in case. I have used mine when I saw a child break their arm falling off a swing in the playground.