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What should be in your travel first aid kit? – A checklist and tips

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A well-stocked travel first aid kit should be part of every adventure. What medications need to be included? And what do I need to pay particular attention to when travelling with kids? Here are some tips for your first aid kit.

In my backpack I’ve got a sleeping bag, the tent – and the travel first aid kit. Putting together a travel first aid kit might be a bit tedious the first time around, but after that you’ll be ready for any adventure.

What should be in a travel first aid kit? Below you’ll find an overview of the most important medications and equipment as well as some important tips for travel first aid kits.

This article was written in collaboration with the Travel Clinic of the University of Zurich.

Putting together a travel first aid kit

It’s best to get all the medications you need before you leave. If necessary, you could also buy these on the go, but there are a few things to consider: Do you speak the local language so well that you can describe any health problems? In addition, you have to find a pharmacy, it has to be open and the medicine has to be available. That’s why it’s easier and safer if you’re prepared for an emergency.

The following medications should be included in a travel first aid kit:

For your protection

Bandages and other equipment for your first aid kit

With the right travel medications, you’re already well supplied for an emergency. But you also need the following equipment. You will often find this equipment supplied in a compact form in a ready-made first aid kit.

Travel medicine: what you need to bear in mind

The right equipment is important. But you should also consider aspects of travel medicine in your planning. You can find advice and specialist centres here:

Travel first aid kits: five key tips

  • Pack medications that you know and that you know you can tolerate well.

  • If you’re travelling with the whole family, check with a medical professional whether pregnant people, babies, kids or the elderly may need other medication.

  • Before you leave, check the expiry date of your medications.

  • Keep the original packaging and leaflet so you always have the instructions on how to take them.

  • Find out about the import rules for your medications. Is there a limit on quantity? Or is there a regulation concerning the active ingredients?

Store medication correctly

Ideally, travel first aid kits are made of a waterproof or water-repellent material. If you are transporting your travel medicine in a toilet bag, it is best to pack this in a sealed plastic bag. That way everything stays dry even in a monsoon or tropical, humid climates.

It is best to store your medications at room temperature between 15 and 25 degrees. If it is warmer or colder for a short time, this usually does not affect the effectiveness of the medications. However, direct sunlight should be avoided. Some medicines also need to be kept refrigerated. Find out whether it is possible to keep your medication refrigerated on the boat, train, bus or plane. Otherwise, a cooler bag is required.

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