Let me preface that you could be FINE traveling without this at all! You can find all the things you need wherever you go (if you are in a touristy-enough or populated area). However, I carry a medical kit for a couple of reasons. I also included a couple of necessary toiletries.
- I hate trying to find something in a pinch, when I am stressed, in the middle of the night, etc. I’m this way at home, so add in the language barrier and unfamiliarity of a new place and I want to just have it on hand for myself.
- Our kids are little enough that we still deal with lots of little ailments: colds, ear infections, cuts and scrapes, etc. We deal with these nearly every day. I don’t want to be spending my time finding the closest pharmacy, which can easily eat up 1-2 hours.
- While you can find lots of things, you can’t always find what you want exactly. I can’t find the brands I want, I can’t really read the label, the taste may be totally different, it may not be as effective, it may be mixed with local supplements. I firmly believe that we can be fine without all these options and I have seen medical care in another country that went beautifully. But, for me, there are a few items I want to carry that are name brand from the US.
I’ve paired WAY down on this bag since we left, so this list is what I would actually recommend and use regularly. Many are going to think this is still way too much, but packing is about figuring out what is most important to you. I’m just giving you some seeds to start brainstorming on.
- Children’s Motrin. So good for fevers. We can blast through a whole bottle in about a day and a half if many of the kids have fevers!
- Chewable Tylenol. I like having an option that is chewable to both mix it up and be able to take on the go without water. Maybe you are in a taxi and need something!
- Dayquil/Nightquil. When Chris or I are sick, these are SO nice to have and we’ve never seen an equivalent when we’ve looked.
- Neosporin. Still goes a long way with those random cuts! Honestly, I only use it if the cut seems to be getting infected or there is some random skin issue. Always good to try this first.
- Bandaids. So many bandaids in my family. It goes a long way when you are hurt to have a character bandaid, am I right?! I’ve learned to just carry these on all our outings, along with the chewable Tylenol.
- Betadine. Iodine is mega-popular outside the US for even little scraps. it also can help with skin issues!
- Antibiotic powder. Ok, this is probably overkill with the other two above, but I still have it in case things get ugly.
- Dramamine. Super helpful for my kiddos that get sick in the car. Roads are windy and bumpy in lots of third-world countries and we’ve had many throw-ups in the car. I love the chewable kind because we can take it on the go.
- Nail Clippers.
- Cuticle clippers. These can double for lots of little things, like removing splinters
- Ciprodex. This is unique to my family and requires a doc for a prescription. We have dealt with A LOT of ear tubes, ear infections, etc. I think between my youngest three we have over 8 sets of ear tubes? We have funded some nice things for the ENT. I was really worried about this o this trip. However, a kind ENT in California sent me off internationally with three prescriptions of Ciprodex. He said if I suspect an ear infection to just start it. I’m nearly an expert myself in spotting them. This clears it up soon and opens the ear tubes (we usually start seeing draining right away). It has saved us.
- Dia-res-Q. We haven’t had to use this, thankfully, but have heard fabulous things about it when tummy troubles surface.
- Advil. We use both regular and PM.
- Melatonin. Another one of my BFFs! This is so nice for time zone changes, long airplane rides, or any time you need a gentle push towards sleep. We give the kids fractions of one tablet. Even I can do well with just half.
- Tampons. These are pretty much impossible to find in SE Asia. Thankfully I saw this on a blog before I left. Even if I can find something, these kinds of items (diapers and wipes included) are much lower quality than in the US. I always pack my own and have visitors replenish my stock! I’ll let you know when we go to Europe 🙂
- Deodorant. I haven’t had much luck finding a good deodorant/antiperspirant so far. I don’t do a ton of shopping, so I could probably find it if I tried harder. However, I’m just bringing my own. We sweat A LOT. We didn’t use to even use this at home except for some summer weeks, but it’s a constant for us now that we need some good deodorant.
I also do my best to prevent as much as I can. We lug around lots of vitamins and supplements with us as well:
- Airborne. This our new favorite thing when we start to get a sore throat, have a long flight ahead with little sleep, hear the sniffles in the kids, etc. We love the gummies and I know it has prevented more serious colds or illnesses for us many times. Sometimes you get little sleep on travel days.
- Elderberry gummies. Elderberry is a new hot topic! We are trying these out also.
- Zicam. Works wonders at preventing a cold from getting worse.
- Multivitamin gummies for the kids. I alternate these with Catalyn.
- Catalyn Multivitamin. I found this from a doctor in Honolulu. It is a very pure, high-quality multivitamin and I’m a believer. Check it out.
- Probiotic Gummies. I firmly believed this has gotten us through some less-than-ideal food situations! There are better quality ones out there, but I don’t want another thing to fight the kids on and can’t have it needing to be refrigerated.
- Fish Oil. Did you know this can help with depression? My doctor told me this when I had a new baby and was worried about baby blues.
- Vitamin D. This has literally changed Chris’ life. He need less sleep and feels so much better if he is keeping up on his VItamin D.
I love these bags to organize it all.
This is a lot of stuff and you have to decide what is important to you. All of this can take half a checked bag, which is a lot. However, for my own comfort and sanity, we are currently bringing all this with us. Thankfully we have a lot of kids and airplane tickets to go with checked bags 🙂
Comment below if you think of something that you might have to bring in your own DIY first-aid kit!