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Creating an Emergency Travel First Aid Kit

I can’t believe that it took me until this year to finally create a portable, comprehensive first aid/illness kit. We’ve been on the road a lot and usually that means I inevitably forget something. Having a bag full of “just in case” medications takes up a lot of space and wasn’t working for me. So instead I put together a small kit that I can throw in my purse, the car glovebox or suitcase and know that I have all of my bases covered.

Emergency Kit for Handling Sickness on the Road

The good news? You probably have everything you need already on hand! 

The contents of your bag will likely vary from mine but here’s a list of what I include;

  • Band-aids in a few different sizes.
  • Pepto Bismol tablets
  • Cough Drops
  • Gauze squares
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Anti-diarrheal medication
  • Congestion tablets
  • Gax-X
  • Advil and Tylenol for adults and children (tablets for kids it old enough)
  • Benadryl or other allergy medication
  • Nausea medication
  • Dramamine
  • Melatonin or other sleep aid
  • Toothpaste (because I always forget it!)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • a few day supply of other prescription medications your family needs

This seems like a lot of things and it is – I really feel like no matter what happens I’ve got something on hand. The key is not to overdo it. You don’t need  an entire bag of cough drops, you really don’t need a full package of any of these things. This is for emergencies. It’s enough to get you through a day or two until you can refill or find another source.

It’s for those illnesses i the middle of the night when you’re in a hotel room and have no access to any other medications.  For example when we were staying in Fez our oldest ended up with some mild food poisoning. I had pepto bismol, I had nausea medication, and I had Gas X all on hand. I wouldn’t normally pack these things.

Emergency Kit Contents

To keep everything together I use a zippered cosmetic bag. The bigger your bag, the more likely you are to over fill it. Keep it simple and stick with something that is small enough to fit into your purse and won’t encourage you to stuff in more than you really need. You probably already have several on hand but something like this cosmetic bag is a good size. (This one has two sizes, maybe you want to keep a smaller version in your purse and a larger one for your suitcase)

Once you get home be sure that you check your bag and refill it with anything you’ve used. This way you’ll be ready to go the next time and won’t be scrambling to refill it or find yourself missing what you thought you had in the bag.

Do you keep an illness/emergency kit on hand? What would you add? 

Sharing is caring!

Elaine McNeil

Sunday 16th of April 2023

Great list, thank you. I usually add two additional medications: Small tube of over-the-counter triple antibiotic ointment and a small tube of 1.5% (or 1% if that's what you can get) of cortisone ointment. The cortisone ointment was a lifesaver when I suddenly got a heat rash/cellulitis down the front of my leg. Cause was a combination of heat/lots of walking/possibly too much salt in my diet. This ointment was so handy to calm the rash and itching. Depending on where I am going, I might add a tube of "after-bite" which comes in an adult and child formulation.

Susan Flynn

Wednesday 3rd of November 2021

Your Emergency Kit is much like mine. I have had one sort or other since my children were young, I'm a Grandma now. The only other items I add to mine are: a small travel size tweezer (think splinters) and small pair of scissors.

Keep writing, I love your emails and miss Morocco.

Gigia Kolouch

Tuesday 2nd of November 2021

I always bring garlic pills and EmergenC in case I start getting a cold. Also I always take acidophilus when traveling and bring papaya enzymes for those meals when I eat too much!

Amanda Mouttaki

Tuesday 2nd of November 2021

Thanks for more ideas - I don't know about acidophilus or papaya enzymes but now I'm curious!

Mary Ramirez

Tuesday 2nd of November 2021

I add in Calcium carbonate chews (Tums). Also, a small roll of duct tape and water proof matches since it's my all around emergency kit. I put a little sticker inside with the date of whatever is expiring 1st. It's usually ok use expired meds for a few months but unhelpful to have way outdated diarrhea med in the middle of the night (guilty). I enjoy your posts, thanks!

Amanda Mouttaki

Tuesday 2nd of November 2021

those are great additions!

Joseph Cohen

Monday 11th of March 2019

Amanda, I can't thank you enough for all of your expert advice. You're a wonderful, knowledgeable writer! Much appreciated. Joseph