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Do You Travel with a First Aid Kit?

First aid kits. Do you travel with one? If so, is it regularly updated before you venture off on your well-deserved vacation?

We have been travelling with a small first aid kit since 2013. During that time our most used items have been:

  • Panadol tablets for various aches and pains.
  • Hydrolyte tablets to rehydrate during and after bouts of diarrhoea and vomiting.
  • Po Chai or Charcoal tablets to stop diarrhoea (a well-known brand is Imodium).
  • Plasters.
  • Blackmores Liquid Echinacea (which we take on a daily basis in orange juice); although it is specifically for colds and flu’s we use it more as an immune booster.
  • Antiseptic hand gel.

Hydrolyte tablets or hydrolyte drinks replace fluids and electrolytes after bouts of diarrhoea and vomiting. Once the tablet dissolves, sip on the drink at regular intervals making sure to throw it out if it is not refrigerated. If you can refrigerate, it will keep up to 24 hours.

If you haven’t heard of Po Chai or Charcoal tablets, that’s perfectly fine. Po Chai tablets can be found in Asia, e.g., Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, and we have been using them since we found out about them whilst living in Singapore in 2000.

We have purchased Charcoal tablets, a.k.a., Carbon tablets, in Mexico. Po Chai and Charcoal tablets assist in stopping diarrhoea and vomiting.

Our Travel First Aid Checklist

You can use our checklist as a guide for your travels, and depending on your destination you may need to add or subtract other items:

  • Panadol tablets
  • Hydrolyte tablets
  • Po Chai, Carbon, or Imodium tablets
  • Range of adhesive dressings, scissors, and antiseptic wipes for cleaning wounds prior to bandaging
  • Antiseptic hand gel
  • Rubber gloves to avoid cross infection in blood
  • Face masks – N95 or similar. We have used these in Chiang Mai during the smoking season and in dense traffic areas such as Vietnam
  • Safety pins to hold bandages in place
  • Small scissors and tweezers
  • Tape to hold dressings in place
  • Stingos – for the relief of bites and stings
  • Thermometer
  • Penicillin tablets – we can purchase penicillin tablets over the counter in some Asian countries
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen

Top Tips to Always Keep in Mind

Keep Your First Aid Kit Updated

Before you travel, check your travel first aid kit and update any products that are out of date.

Check Vaccinations

Check the countries that you are planning to visit for any mandatory or recommended vaccinations – you may need to have a booster. You may also need to be tested for Covid at the border entrance.

Malaria Prone Countries

Speak to your doctor if you are travelling to a country with a high risk of malaria. Some medications that you may already take may have adverse reactions to malaria tablets and some malaria tablets can give you adverse reactions.

Purify Your Water

If you are trekking or hiking, you may consider taking water purification tablets with you.

Stock Up on Medication

Make sure you have adequate supplies of your current medication. Whatever drugs you take daily may not be available for purchase in your destination, so stock up.

Stock Up on Batteries

If you have a hearing aid, ensure that you have plenty of batteries to carry with you.

Include Skin Protection

No matter where you’re traveling to, take sunscreen and insect repellent with you.

Don’t Neglect Hydration

Buy your own refillable water bottle and refill where possible.

Always ensure that you take out travel insurance as soon as you book your flights, accommodation, and tours. This practice will save you a lot of headache.

Safe travels!

What do you carry in your first aid kit? Which items do you use most often? What have you never used but still carry with you? Please share with the community!

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The Author

Jane and Duncan Dempster-Smith are nomadic semi-retirees, baby boomers, travellers, House Sitters and co-founders of To Travel Too Their motto is “Age is no barrier when it comes to travel.” Although not yet pensioners, their goal is to travel the world on what is currently the Australian Age Pension of approx. AUD 33,716 (USD 25,110) per year, or AUD 92 (USD 69) per day for two people.

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