The Safe and Healthy Traveler’s Guide to Packing: Part Two2 min read
As we promised in Part One of this series, we’re moving on to putting together your own medical kit. Obviously, what you need to pack varies greatly depending on where you are going, how long your trip will be and the medical condition of those traveling. For these reasons, it is best to research your destination to understand the special needs that may be present there.
Q: Is there safe drinking water?
A: Bring water purification tablets.
Q: Will I be in the sun?
A: Bring sunscreen.
Q: Will I be subject to attacks by wild animals?
A: Pack a rifle.
You get the point.
Minimally, you’ll want to bring the following:
Typical first aid supplies such as bandages, tweezers and an antibiotic ointment.
Over-the-counter products that you use may not be easily available overseas, so don’t forget to consider vitamins, pain relievers, decongestants, antacids, contact lens solutions, sunscreens, mosquito repellants, contraceptives, etc. as you pack.
Prescription Medications – The medications you bring depend on your medical history and your host country, but antibiotics (for both travelers diarrhea and skin infections), jet lag and motion sickness remedies, and injectable epinephrine (for unexpected allergic reactions) should all be seriously considered and discussed with your regular physician. You can avoid problems with curious customs agents by keeping all medications in their original bottles and including a letter from the prescribing doctor in the kit explaining why the medications are necessary.
The most comprehensive source for healthy packing is the CDC. In their Travelers’ Health – Yellow Book, they have a section on medical kits in Chapter Two. They also include information for a pediatric travel health kit at the bottom of a page all about traveling safely with children and infants and one for pregnant travelers. Finally, for the Mother Theresa in all of us, the CDC details an extended travel kit for humanitarian aid workers. Even if your “voluntouring” trip has not been planned yet, it would be a good idea to read through the items included in this extended kit. Many of them are applicable to general travel.
There are many commercially available kits, but doing a little thinking about your specific needs will help you decide the right choice for you – make or buy or a combination of the two.
Stay tuned for Part Three of our Guide to Packing which will help you decide what to pack for safe driving on your trip.