The first aid travel kit

Essential items that should be in your First Aid kit

A well stocked first aid kit for travel should be an essential item in your bag, but what items should it contain? Well with the aid of The NHS “Travel health essentials” page and “How to Assemble the Perfect Travel First Aid Kit” from IAMAT I have put together my definitive list.

The Basic Kit

This should be the foundation of any travel first aid kit, if you intend to travel without checked luggage you may need to exclude certain items such as scissors and tweezers.

  • Sunscreen – Broad-Spectrum to protect against UVA and UVB rays at SPF 15 or above (at least start here and go to a lower SPF when you actually have a bit of a tan!!).
  • Insect Repellent – Prevention is always better than the cure! Protect yourself against bites.
  • Standard first aid kit – containing the usual items and a few extras; bandage, gauze, fabric plasters, compeed plasters for blisters, tape, scissors, tweezers, safety pins, tick removers, antiseptic wipes and antibiotic cream to avoid infected cuts.
  • Painkillers – Ibuprofen and paracetamol. I also like to carry some ibuprofen gel to help with any minor strains or back issues.
  • Anti-diarrhoea pills and rehydration sachets – Anyone who has travelled across India or South East Asia knows how easy it is to have a problem, so its an essential in my book.
  • Antihistamines – always worth carrying to help with stings or an allergic reaction.
  • Pre existing medical treatments – Always carry your required medication and copies of your prescriptions to avoid running out or issues at immigration.

Extra items that may be required


Items you might want to consider for your kit, especially if you are going to remote locations such as a trek to a remote Amazonian village or mountains in Nepal.

  • Anti-malarial drugs – If you are travelling to a location that Malaria is present make sure you get the relevant medication and follow the guidelines to the letter.
  • Mosquito net – Planning on getting off the beaten track? I would recommend carrying a net with you. They take up so little room its well worth having one.
  • SAM splint – Again for remote locations its worth having for sprains or stabilization of injured limbs.
  • Broad Spectrum Antibiotics – for remote locations but you should discuss with a doctor first.
  • Blood clotting agents – Celox, Quik-Clot that can be bought in most outdoor stores.
  • Sling/Bandana – for injuries or to use as a dust mask if required .
  • Altitude sickness medicine – trekking to Machu Picchu? You might want to consider carrying some medicine in case of altitude sickness.
  • Emergency medical supplies – Kits available from pharmacies, including sterilised and sealed syringes, sutures and needles, can be useful when visiting developing countries, where hospitals and dentists may not have properly sanitised equipment.

Hopefully you will never need any of the items in your kit, however its always better safe than sorry!

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