How To Make Your Own Travel First Aid Kits

By:    Published: September 6, 2011

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Getting sick or suffering an injury while you travel is a possibility that people tend to overlook when planning for an upcoming trip or vacation. Luggage, transportation, accommodation and schedules tend to fill up most of the travel planning process, leaving no time to prepare for possible medical emergencies. However, staying in a location far from home can leave you vulnerable in case a medical emergency does occur, even if it's as minor as a cut finger.

Finding the Right First Aid Kit Container

When preparing your own travel first aid kits, a large container or one made of metal, like the one you probably have at home, isn't very practical. Store-bought, travel first aid kits might be too small and only good for one time use. Depending on how large the group you are traveling with is, you'll want to find a suitable container to carry enough supplies that will be useful to treat everyone on the trip. A hard plastic or soft-sided container that is roughly the size of an overnight bag should be a suitable container for travel first aid kits.

Preparing for Cuts, Bites, Burns and Bruises

When starting your kit, make sure you have the proper contents to treat cuts, bites, burns and bruises. Topical creams, cleaners, ointments and bandages will all come in handy, especially if you plan to spend a lot of time outdoors while you travel. Here is a complete list of essential items for your travel first aid kit to treat these types of injuries:

  • Adhesive bandages of varying sizes
  • Sterile gauze pads
  • Gauze roll
  • Anesthetic sprays for rashes and bug bites
  • Antiseptic agent
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellant
  • Antibiotic ointment

Travel Medication

You'll also want to consider bringing useful medications purchased at your local drug store or market for common travel illnesses. These illnesses include:

You and your fellow travelers can suffer from anyone of these common travel illnesses for a variety of reasons. Exposure to allergens, sea sickness, not being used to the local water or cuisine are just few common causes of travel illness. Whatever the case may be, make sure you pick up some of these items for travel first aid kits:

  • NSAIDs like aspirin and ibuprofen for dealing with headaches and pain
  • Nasal decongestants
  • Antacid pills
  • Lip ointment
  • Antihistamine
  • Loperamide (medication for diarrhea like Imodium)

Personal Medication

If you or one of your fellow travelers require prescription medication, you obviously want to have these items on hand in your travel first aid kit in case of emergency. Extra asthma inhalers, blood pressure medication and kits for diabetics should be kept with your travel first aid kit. That way, the people with prescription medication in your group will have a back-up in case their medication gets lost during travel.

Other Essential Items

All travel first aid kits should have at least one of the following items in case of emergency:

  • Scissors: to cut bandages or clothing to reach a wound.
  • Tweezers: for the removal of splinters, glass and anything else that might be imbedded in skin.
  • Exam gloves: to avoid infection.
  • Hand sanitizer: to avoid the spread of germs and bacteria.
  • First aid manual: for general tips and directions for dealing with travel related injury or illness.
  • Plastic baggies: for storage or disposal of certain items.
  • Lighter or matches: to sterilize medical equipment before use.
  • Emergency contact list: phone numbers of family doctors, relatives back home and local healthcare facilities in the area(s) you plan to visit on your trip.

Bottom Line

While most drugstores carry travel first aid kits that you can purchase, they might not have all of the necessary tools, medications and other items required for your trip. Making your own travel first aid kit will also allow you to prepare for emergencies you might expect from your particular area of travel. If you are traveling to a foreign, exotic country, you should definitely fill your travel first aid kit with medicines to prevent to alleviate any gastrointestinal issues. For a seafaring trip, sea sickness pills will come in handy. These items might not be included in store-bought, travel first aid kit. Protect yourself and your loved ones by preparing for your trip with your own personalized travel first aid kit.

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