What to Pack in a DIY Travel Medical Kit

While it is impossible to be prepared for every situation we may find ourselves in while traveling, a well-packed medical kit is an essential item everyone should bring with them, regardless of where they’re going.

It’s one of the first things to go in our suitcases and is always kept readily accessible and stocked with items we never think we’ll need, but inevitably do. I tend to pack items I never use at home, but would hate to be caught off-guard without!

Be sure to scroll down for your free printable checklist!

travel medical kit first aid kit

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These relatively inexpensive items we buy at home can be ridiculously high-priced at resort gift shops or stores and pharmacies in tourist hot-spots, or perhaps not carry what you need at all!

This is a general list of what we bring – and depending on what activities you’re doing or where you’re going, you may find you need more or less of certain items. I am by no means a health expert, so please contact your doctor for any advice on health issues or on what medications are appropriate for you to take.

what to pack in a travel medical kit DIY
The beginnings of a well-packed kit

Medical Kit Items

  • Advil (or similar): Absolutely the number one item I always have a large stock of. From headaches on the plane to dehydration headaches, it’s an absolute must!
Advil Liqui-Gels Pain Reliever and Fever Reducer,…
  • One package of 80 Advil Liqui-Gels Pain Reliever and Fever Reducer Liquid Filled Capsules, Pain Medicine for Adults with Ibuprofen 200mg for Headache,…
  • 200mg ibuprofen liqui-gels that provide faster and stronger pain relief than Tylenol Rapid Release Gels, right where you need it most, while also…
  • New packaging will feature 20 percent less plastic to keep nearly 500,000 pounds of plastic out of landfills
  • After-bite/Anti-itch cream: For any adverse reactions to bug bites or plants.
After Bite Itch Eraser (Pen) 14 ml
  • Extra heavy duty material
  • Reinforced components
  • For tactical or civilian use
  • Gravol: I tend to get car sick if I sit in the backseat, so usually the first thing I do just after leaving the airport is take one of these.
Gravol Coated Tablets 50mg for Motion Sickness Prevention and Relief, 10ct ​
  • For fast, effective treatment and prevention of nausea, vomiting and dizziness due to motion sickness
  • Safe for adults and children ages 2 years and older
  • Patented Filmkote coating makes tablets easy to swallow with no aftertaste
  • Pepto: Just because you never know! This covers a few bases, so if you are on a limited budgt and trying to decide which few items to pack, make this a top one.
Pepto Bismol Caplets Ultra for Nausea, Heartburn, Indigestion, Upset Stomach, and Diarrhea – 5 Symptom Fast Relief, 24 ct
  • 5 SYMPTOM Stomach Relief: Nausea, Heartburn, Indigestion, Upset Stomach, Diarrhea
  • COATS AND SOOTHES: Pepto Bismol’s coating action calms your stomach and soothes your digestive system to provide fast stomach relief equally as effective as Pepto Bismol Liquid
  • CONVENIENT FORM: Pepto Bismol Caplets are a convenient way to get on-the-go relief from your upset stomach symptoms
  • Loperamide: More commonly known as Imodium. Trust me, this is one you definitely do not want to forget at home! Between different drinking water to foods we don’t normally eat (or sugary drinks!), your system may be turned upside down. Inexpensive yet effective, I always make sure I am fully stocked!
Imodium A-D Diarrhea Relief Caplets with Loperamide Hydrochloride, Anti-Diarrheal Medicine to Help Control Symptoms of Diarrhea Due to Acute, Active & Traveler’s Diarrhea, 24 ct.
  • 24-count package of Imodium A-D Caplets with loperamide HCl to help control and treat diarrhea symptoms for effective relief
  • The proven formula of this anti-diarrheal medicine works with your body to slow down your system and helps restore its natural rhythm and balance, allowing you to get back to doing the things you love
  • Each anti-diarrhea medicine caplet contains 2 milligrams of loperamide hydrochloride to help control symptoms of diarrhea due to acute, active and Traveler’s diarrhea
  • Alka-Seltzer: As someone who is prone to getting heartburn, I never leave home without these. It doesn’t stop me from enjoying spicy meals though!
Alka-Seltzer Heartburn Relief Lemon Lime Flavor Effervescent Tablets, 4-in-1 Relief from Heartburn, Sour Stomach, Acid Indigestion, and Upset Stomach, Dissolvable Antacid, 36 Ct
  • FIZZY, FLAVORFUL HEARTBURN RELIEF: The heartburn relief you need in a tasty lemon lime flavor. Alka-Seltzer Heartburn Relief Lemon Lime Flavor Tablets are an antacid heartburn relief product that neutralize 99% of excess acid to get you feeling better fast
  • FAST 4 IN 1 SYMPTOM RELIEF: Refreshing, crisp relief so you don’t have to second guess those tasty meals. These Lemon Lime antacid tablets relieve heartburn, sour stomach, acid indigestion, and upset stomach symptoms
  • TASTY, FUN, FIZZY FORM (ALT: THAT FIZZY FEELING): Experience the magic of Alka-Seltzer’s iconic effervescent form. 2 antacid tablets in water provide fast relief that neutralizes 99% of excess acid.
  • ANY TIME. ANY PLACE: With a dose per sachet, these Heartburn Relief Lemon Lime tablets make for convenient, on-the-go relief and are designed for easy storage so relief is always within reach, from the pantry, to the glove compartment, to your pocket
  • TRUSTED BRAND: Alka-Seltzer has been a trusted brand for over 90 years
  • Claritin/Benadryl/Aerius: One of my worst fears is having an allergic reaction to food or the environment I’m on. I’ve never had to take one of these fortunately, but this is one of those key items I’d be sorry not to have on hand.
Claritin Liqui-Gels 24 Hour Allergy Relief, Non-Drowsy Allergy Medicine, Loratadine Antihistamine Capsules, 30 Count
  • 24-hour allergy relief
  • Easy-to-swallow, liquid-filled capsule
  • Non-drowsy relief against pollen, mold, dust and pets
  • Temporarily relieves runny nose, sneezing, itchy, watery eyes, and itchy nose or throat
  • Dayquil/Cold and Flu medicine: I don’t know how many times I get sick on vacation, and it isn’t fun, especially when I lose my sense of taste and smell! Having these on hand can help quell your symptoms. I prefer the packs that contain nighttime pills, so they help me sleep more comfortably.
Tylenol Cold + Flu Severe Day & Night Caplets for Fever, Pain, Cough & Congestion Relief, 24 Count
  • 24-count combo pack of Tylenol Cold + Flu Severe Day/Night Caplets for multi-symptom cold and flu symptom relief. From the doctor recommended pain…
  • The Daytime relief caplets are formulated to reduce fever, loosen phlegm and relieve headache, body aches, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion and…
  • The Nighttime relief caplets help reduce fever and relieve runny nose, sneezing, headache, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, sinus congestion and…
  • Sore throat drops: Having a sore throat can be miserable. Easing the discomfort, even temporarily, can go a long way in improving your mood.
HALLS Relief Mentho-Lyptus Cough Drops, Economy Pack, 80 Drops
  • One economy pack of 80 HALLS Mentho-Lyptus Cough Drops
  • Menthol lozenges relieve coughs, soothe sore throats and cool nasal passages
  • Contains 5.4 mg of menthol per drop to quickly relieve symptoms
  • Slowly dissolve one drop in mouth every two hours as needed for symptoms
  • Resealable bag is easy toss in your bag for convenient access whenever symptoms strike
  • Aloe-Vera: We’ve all been there – spending our first day in the sun soaking up the rays, only to pay the price that night after not applying enough sunscreen! The natural aloe vera options may be a bit more money, but there is no dye in them.
Banana Boat Aloe After Sun Gel for Radiate Health
  • Will leave your skin radiating health
  • Soothes dry sunburned skin
  • Formulated with aloe vera

Note: Since most places sell aloe vera over 100 ml, you will have to put it into a reusable travel bottle if you are travelling with a carry-on only!

  • Antibiotic Cream: For any cuts or scrapes along the way.
Polysporin First Aid Antibiotic Ointment Without Neomycin, Travel Size, 1 Oz Tube
  • 1-ounce tube of Polysporin First Aid Antibiotic Ointment for care of minor cuts, scrapes and burns
  • This topical antibiotic ointment helps provide effective infection prevention for minor wounds
  • To use, apply a small amount of this wound care ointment on affected area 1 to 3 times daily
  • Band-aids: All shapes and sizes. Enough to have you covered for burns, scrapes, or blisters.
Band-Aid Brand Adhesive Bandage Family Variety Pack, Clear, Tough, and Sport Bandages, Assorted Sizes, 30 ct
  • 30-count box of Band-Aid Brand Adhesive Bandage Family Variety Pack includes sheer and clear bandages in 5 different shapes and sizes to help provide coverage and protection of both large and small minor wounds
  • These first aid supplies feature a Quilt-Aid Comfort Pad designed to cushion painful wounds while you heal
  • With Microvent Technology, the backing on these adhesive bandages offers superior breathability and the unique Hurt-Free Pad on these bandages won’t stick to the wound, allowing for gentle removal
  • Eye drops: For any dryness or irritation from plane travel, wind burn, or general sense of eye tiredness.
Systane Ultra Eye Drops Lubricant High Performance,Two 4ml bottles, 0.14 Fl. Oz (Pack of 2)
  • It is used for temporary relief of burning and irritation due to dryness of the eye.
  • Eye drops offers the ultimate in high performance dry eye therapy.
  • Formulated with a unique intelligent delivery system, it delivers extended protection that lasts.
  • Extended protection means that your eyes feel comfortable longer, with fewer interruptions in your day to day life

If you are traveling with prescription medication, ensure they are left in their original containers and keep them in your carry-on baggage.

Here’s your downloadable checklist!

As you’ll see, many of these items are small and take up little space in your suitcase. Over time you’ll be able to pinpoint what items you really need and can customize your own kit best suited to you. I pack my liquid and cream items in a clear quart bag (so I can toss if something leaks) and so I can easily see what I need to grab. I tend to pack extra for family or friends – so it doesn’t hurt to be overstocked on some things! In my experience, the most-used items have been Advil, Loperamide, and Gravol.

What items do you pack? Let me know if you think of one I should be adding!

Traveling to an all-inclusive vacation? Be sure to grab your printable checklist for what you should (and shouldn’t) be packing!

Pin it for later!

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  1. July 6, 2020 / 3:31 pm

    Oh, thank you so much for this post! This was super helpful! Love the checklist. And the ginger stuff for nausea was new to me. I’m going to pick up some of that and give it a try.

    • Sarah
      July 6, 2020 / 4:23 pm

      Thanks Amanda! I hope it helps you – I can’t go anywhere without it now since I get carsick and nauseous haha. 🙂

  2. Angela
    July 6, 2020 / 5:55 pm

    OH man, I am a carsick queen too. Funny is I can ride any rollercoaster or spinning ride but the back seat – no way. I need to get those pills!

    • Sarah
      July 6, 2020 / 6:14 pm

      Isn’t that funny!? I’m the same! 😂 They really help me – good luck!

  3. Cindy Mailhot
    July 6, 2020 / 6:36 pm

    I love the checklist. I do try my best to pack light so I tend to only pack a dose or two and that will get us through until I can pick up something where we are. In Europe I usually find there stuff is better.

    • Sarah
      July 7, 2020 / 8:12 am

      Yes! When we go to the UK I usually hold out to buy stuff there because it’s so cheap (and sometimes even more effective than here!). I won’t chance it if we go to an all-inclusive – usually the prices are jacked way up!

  4. July 6, 2020 / 6:48 pm

    We have a travel-sized first aid kit we take camping with us, plus a bag of pills for whatever might come up. Basically we have an extra bottle of everything we keep in the medicine cabinet for the road.

    • Sarah
      July 7, 2020 / 8:13 am

      That’s great! a lot of people don’t do that. I’d hate to be caught short!

  5. Emily Ackerman
    July 6, 2020 / 9:42 pm

    yes to all of this. I don’t knnow how many times I’ve been stuck without a bandaid for my kids

    • Sarah
      July 7, 2020 / 8:26 am

      I’ve been caught short a few times too – I’d rather be overprepared!

  6. July 6, 2020 / 11:41 pm

    Some meds I never thought to add. We always have meds for the kids. This is a very helpful list. Thanks!

    • Sarah
      July 7, 2020 / 8:27 am

      You’re welcome! I’m glad you found it useful 🙂

  7. July 7, 2020 / 1:22 am

    Oh man, I needed this with my kids. Even though we can’t travel right now, we’re going on LOADS of hikes and I totally needed to up my medical kit game! Thanks for the tips!

    • Sarah
      July 7, 2020 / 8:30 am

      You’re so welcome! Glad you found it useful!

  8. July 7, 2020 / 10:13 am

    This is a great list, especially when traveling out of the country or on a cruise. It’s quite expensive to purchase these things once away.

    • Sarah
      July 7, 2020 / 10:32 am

      Thanks! I thought so too!

  9. July 7, 2020 / 12:46 pm

    I love this! You never know when you are going to need a medical kit! We have one in our cars and in our hiking bags at all times!

    • Sarah
      July 7, 2020 / 3:24 pm

      Exactly!! Glad you’re prepared!

    • Sarah
      July 8, 2020 / 7:13 am

      Thanks Annette! I’m glad lots of people carry these kits with them!

  10. July 7, 2020 / 9:58 pm

    Great tips! I will consult this one again!

    • Sarah
      July 8, 2020 / 7:12 am

      Thank you!

  11. Lynda Frappier
    September 18, 2022 / 1:17 pm

    Hi. Just a quick thing…the aloe vera gel is a great idea, but the green ones have dye in them. Try to find the clear gel. Natural!

    • Sarah
      September 19, 2022 / 2:13 pm

      Totally agree! I always recommend the natural ones!

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