What’s in your first aid kit?

This is a Hipmunk guest post from Jodi Ettenberg

Part of being a savvy traveler is knowing what to pack. I recently wrote about some useful and fun USB travel gadgets, but I wanted to go back to the basics: a first aid kit.

(photo credit: mwichary)

I rarely leave home without mine, and it’s been the subject of some gentle (and not so gentle) mocking. But the travelers who split their calf open on a rusty nail in the middle of a Dominican Republic national park (true story) or fell down the stairs and got bitten by a blood-sucking cockroach in the Philippines (also a true story) didn’t laugh: they were just happy I had something to help make it better.

Many of these can be purchased and/or replaced from the road, but if starting out in a more remote destination, it’s a good thing to have a more thorough kit from the get-go.

For general travel:

  • Neosporin or a similar triple antibiotic cream 
  • Anti-itch cream
  • Benedryl or other anti-histamine
  • Small sutures/stitches 
  • Burn gel
  • Diclofenac (anti-inflammatory cream sold over the counter)
  • Gauze
  • Sewing kit 
  • Safety pins (large size)
  • Matches
  • Duct tape
  • Ibuprofen
  • Band-aids
  • Moleskin for blisters
  • Diflucan (for the ladies)
  • Anti-mozzie spray
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Tweezers
  • Leatherman Micra (mini and awesome multitool)

For travel to developing countries, I add the following:

  • Ciprofloxacin (if you get food poisoning/stomach infections, you will want some of this), though self-medicate at your own risk. I’ve done so in the past, but only when I’m nowhere near a clinic  or doctor and really ill.
  • Metronidazole (for giardia or amoebic dysentery; I’ve picked these up for reasonable prices in Thailand or other parts of Southeast Asia)
  • Immodium, but only to take if absolutely necessary since trapping whatever bacteria you’ve got in your intestine is a bad idea. I only use it if I’m about to board a bus for 8 hours and know that I’m not going to make it without copious bathroom breaks. 
  • Anti-malarials if you are heading to a malarial region.
  • Oral rehydration salts

What’s in your first aid kit? 

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