What you need to pack in your travel first-aid kit

Travelling Well | Sarah Marinos | Posted on 26 August 2019

It's easy to forget this essential item, but a first-aid kit is a must-have when travelling.

You’ve packed your passport, tickets and itinerary, clothes and sunnies. But before you begin your road trip, head for your holiday campsite or board a plane for another country, slip some basic first aid supplies into your luggage. 

Travel should be a happy and relaxing experience, but accidents and illness do happen. Poorer hygiene standards can lead to stomach upsets and diarrhoea from contaminated food and water. Insect bites and stings can cause discomfort, and you (or the kids) might cut yourself in a fall. Motion sickness is also the bane of many travellers’ lives.

So packing a few basic first aid items can keep you comfortable, reduce the risk of something minor becoming more serious and get you back on your feet and enjoying yourself more quickly.

Travel first aid kit

Dr Sonny Lau of Travel Doctor in Melbourne recommends carrying some of the following items in your luggage, focusing on those you’re most likely to use:

  • Antiseptic wipes or solution to clean scrapes, cuts, wounds or insect bites.
  • Plastic bags to dispose of contaminated dressing or materials after treating a wound.
  • Disposable protective gloves – to be worn when treating a wound to avoid infecting an injury. The gloves will also protect the person treating the wound from any infected body fluids.
  • Tweezers to remove splinters or slivers of glass if you tread on something on the beach.
  • Sterile gauze swabs that can be applied to a wound to stop bleeding, or to clean cuts. Place gauze under a bandage to keep a wound clean until you can get medical treatment if needed.
  • Saline solution to thoroughly wash and cleanse a wound.
  • Crepe bandages – handy to wrap a sprained wrist or ankle or an insect bite.
  • Absorbent non-stick dressing to apply to cuts and minor burns or scalds.
  • Burnaid gel sachet – soothes minor sunburn or burns from hot water and helps reduce the risk of infection.
  • Electrolyte replacement powder – this comes in sachets and prevents dehydration that can be caused by vomiting and diarrhoea. It’s particularly important if you’re travelling with children.
  • Diarrhoea medication – this is the most common health problem when travelling. It strikes about 40 to 50 per cent of travellers overseas, so pack some Imodium or Lomotil to slow down and stop the discomfort and embarrassment of this all too common travel problem.
  • Motion sickness tablets are important if you’re going to spend time at sea or spend lengthy periods in a car. Children aged around two to 12 are most likely to get motion sickness. Choose from tablets, chewable tablets and liquid medicine.
  • Antihistamines to help control allergic reactions to hay fever, bites and stings.
  • Anti-nausea medication – if you find it hard to swallow tablets, try anti-nausea wafers that melt on your tongue instead.
  • Paracetamol to relieve general aches and pains.
  • Antibiotic drops to treat ear and eye infections. Consider packing these if you’re going to spend time snorkelling and diving.

Heading overseas? RACV Travel Insurance has you covered.