Travel Pharmacy and First Aid Kit Checklist

Don’t get us wrong, we’re all for packing light - we even have a whole post about how packing carry-on only is the best way to travel stress free (post coming soon), but some things are essentials and this definitely fits into that category. After all, humans have a tendency to get sick when stressed, exposed to new environments, or come into contact with large crowds. And if murphy’s law is anything to judge by, it will inevitably occur right in the midst of your vacation. 

We’ve created a checklist of all of the basic necessities and plenty of things you didn’t know you needed; but don’t forget to tailor your pharmacy to your own requirements. If you are diabetic or asthmatic or have any other conditions that require medication, make sure to include that medication as well.

Let’s break it down.

First Aid

This is probably what everyone thinks of first, but it’s important to have more than just that tiny First Aid kit from the travel-size products section of your local store - although it’s a good start, since that kit gives you different shapes and sizes of band-aids and some alcohol wipes. A proper travel first-aid kit, however, should be thorough enough to cover all of your bases while out and about, whether that means camping or having a fancy afternoon tea.

Band-Aids of various sizes, alcohol wipes, and Neosporin are a must for those cuts and scrapes when - while in Europe - you trip, fall, and slice open the palm of your hand. Yep, that happened.

Hydrogel Dressing for burn care. This one is particularly important if your activities include fire, like when camping but it’s also useful to have for those heat-related everyday activities like cooking.  

Moleskin is for preventing or cushioning blisters, because traveling usually means a lot of walking, whether hiking or wandering through sprawling museums. Moleskin can be cut to the size that best suits your needs and applied to your shoe or your skin.

Hydrocortisone for bug bites, poison ivy rashes, and any other itchy situations.  

Travel-size Aleve (or Aspirin or Ibuprofen) are great because not only are they painkillers but they are also anti-inflammatory drugs - meaning they can help reduce the effects of sunburn inflammation.

Stomach Upset

This section of a pharmacy is likely one of the most important, though it can often get forgotten when packing. Travel typically means trying new foods and while that can be a delicious experience, it can also lead to stomach trouble of all kinds. 

Pepto Bismol is a must for all those times when food or stress upset your stomach while you are out and about.

An Anti-Diarrheal like Imodium might seem like a redundancy but for extreme situations you need a strong solution to get you through the day.

Fiber pills because, moment of truth, sometimes food you aren’t used to is going to cause a different kind of upset stomach.

Gas Relief, like Gas X, is important for addressing bloating and discomfort.

Antacids keep heartburn at bay when eating spicy and acidic foods.

Ginger Drops are one of my favorite stomach aides because they are natural and help relieve nausea in a conveniently candy-sized drop. If you get severe motion sickness or seasickness, Dramamine might be the way to go; but for mild issues or morning sickness, Ginger drops from TummyDrops are amazing.

Cold and Flu

Planes re-circulate all of their air, which means you’re breathing in a lot of what others are breathing out. On top of this, you’re probably squished into coach and touching more people and germ-carrying things than you want to really think about. Most forms of transportation while traveling will bring you into contact with more people and public surfaces than your body is used to. This means all travel, particularly flight based travel, is ripe for giving you a cold or flu. 


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Daytime Cold Capsules are exactly what you need when you wake up to a head cold and need to push your way through a fever, cough, and congestion.

Cough Drops help suppress coughing.

Ricola Herbal Immunity Support to help boost your immunity against colds or to nip one in the bud early on.


Electrolyte Tablets because when you’re sick, it can be hard to keep food down or stay hydrated. These Nuun tablets come in a variety of flavors, some of which include caffeine so watch out for that if you want to avoid being overly caffeinated. Emergen-C, which has vitamins and acetaminophen, is good too - but since it doesn’t have electrolytes and must be used sparingly due to the acetaminophen, consider bringing both if you are a fan of Emergen-C.

Antihistamines, like Claritin or Benadryl, to alleviate your allergies. 

Tea. I’m a big fan of the healing power of tea. It’s no replacement for medication to be sure but it can give you an additional measure of relief when sick. Some of my favorite herbal teas are Ginger Peach to help an upset stomach, Traditional Medicinals’ Breathe Easy and Throat Coat for colds, and Valerian Nighty Night Tea for getting to sleep with shifting sleep schedules.

You can keep your travel pharmacy in a cheap zip lock bag or organize it with a travel make-up/ toiletry bag. I’ve tried it both ways and while I typically lean toward cheaper options, in this case I like the travel make-up bag to keep all those odds and ends tidy. 

We hope that you find our checklist helpful when creating your own travel pharmacy and first aid kit, but feel free to leave a comment and let us know if you think something should be added.