Pack Essentials: The First Aid Kit

The first aid kit is your travel buddy

Life never goes perfectly to plan so neither will your travels. That’s why it is important to carry a small emergency kit with you wherever you go. Most all-purpose stores like Target or Walmart will sell a small first aid kit or emergency kit. They will usually have the most important things like aspirin, an antibacterial salve, and of course bandages. But I think there are other essentials you should bring in your bag.

Medicine

Anti-histamine medicine can make or break a trip when you start breaking out in hives. Especially if you haven’t traveled very far and exposed yourself to the different elements of this planet we call Earth, you have a good chance of having some sort of allergic reaction to something at your travel destination. I got particularly bad rashes in Germany and Taiwan. Something about the dust in the air that makes my skin swell to make me look like a third degree burn victim if not properly treated.

Anti-malarial tablets for those who want to caution on the safe side are available with a prescription from most doctors. I have heard that it won’t prevent malaria, but makes the symptoms less severe. Everyone should be using mosquito repellant anyways because of other diseases mosquitoes can carry.

Motion-sickness medication for those who can’t rock it on a boat. If you’re going to be on the ocean or flying frequently, then carry these with you at all times. Most local drugstores in the world will carry some sort of motion sickness medication.

Stomach medicine like pepto-bismol is a must for me as well. My stomach can only take so much punishment. Spicy foods will especially rev the engines in my stomach and make the juices in my insides go to battle. Wagner’s Flight of the Valkyries is playing and my stomach cannot refuse the dance. You’ll be thanking me when you find yourself in a fetal position grabbing your stomach from food poisoning.

Mosquito Repellent

I have found that herbal oils and DEET based repellents work just as well for me. I am a mosquito magnet so I douse myself in the stuff every time I step out of the door. It is so important to have repellent because of the disease they can submit. Everyone knows of malaria and the harm it can do, but at least you can prevent some of the symptoms. Dengue fever is just as prevalent and more dangerous than malaria. During my travels through Southeast Asia, I met several people who have known someone who contracted those diseases and met one person with Dengue myself. My repellent routine is to always everyone part of exposed skin covered in repellent and to spray it on windows and doorways so they don’t come into my room. Make sure it’s on every part of the skin because they will move to an unexposed part of the skin even if it’s just an inch away. Besides transmitting diseases, being bitten by a mosquito is just annoying. Tiger balm works well at relieving itch spots.

Other Sundries

Wet napkins are a handy tool to have when traveling. You can have them when trying to clean up dirty hands when you accidently touch some mysterious sticky goo, clean up a bloody wound, or wipe vomit from your clothes.

Parting Words

As with everything else you pack, make sure the first aid kit is light. You can almost always by travel size medicine from your local everything mart. Most of the items in the kit might be used only once or twice so there is no need for you to bring a regular sized bottle. You can also swipe a few pills from the medicine cabinet. Remember that the kit is your fall back. Even if you don’t end up using most of the items in the kit, you might be able to help a cute fellow traveler along the way.

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About the Author

John is always trying to find his way back to the road. He has an affinity for Germany due to his three years studying German at Cal, and a year working as an intern in the Stuttgart area. He also likes chocolate cake and good cheese.