Travel Health Essentials: Items Everyone Should Have In Their Suitcase

Be prepared for any travel ailment with these must-have supplies.

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Swimsuit? Check. Camera? Check. Evening attire? Check. When you’re thinking about what to pack for your vacation, your mind probably gravitates right toward the fun stuff. While there’s no shame in packing 10 Instagram-worthy outfits, there are some other key items that deserve some space in your suitcase as well.

Before you head to a foreign land, it’s wise to put together a travel health kit.

Since access to essentials may be limited where you’re going, your travel health kit should have everything you need to stay healthy during your trip.

While each person’s kit may differ depending on their health needs, this list is a great place to start. Be prepared for any health ailment while traveling with these tips and must-have supplies:

Prescriptions medications

  • Check in with the foreign embassy before your trip, to make sure your prescription medications are allowed in the country you’re visiting. Each country has different guidelines about which medications are legal. For example, some inhalers and allergy medications are illegal in Japan. If your medications are not allowed, talk to your doctor about your options.

  • Pack your medications in your carry-on. You don’t want to be left without them if your suitcase gets lost.

Over-the-counter medications

  • Pain medicine (ibuprofen or acetaminophen)
  • Anti-motion sickness meds
  • Antidiarrheal medication
  • A mild laxative
  • Antifungal and antibacterial ointments or creams
  • An antihistamine
  • A decongestant
  • A cough suppressant and cough drops
  • 1% hydrocortisone cream

Supplies to prevent illness or injuries

  • Sunscreen
  • Eye drops
  • Bug spray
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Condoms

First-aid essentials

  • Bandages
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Antiseptic
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors
  • Cotton-tipped applicators

Gear for a good night’s sleep

  • An eye mask
  • Ear plugs
  • A neck pillow
  • A sleep aid

While this list may seem steep, when it comes to your health, it’s often much better to be overprepared than underprepared. Seemingly minor ailments—a sunburn, headache, or travelers’ diarrhea—can really add up and put a damper on your trip.

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