Do you have a mobile first aid kit in your car? What about in your luggage? I learned the hard way not to count on a hotel having Immodium when I needed it and bled all over my suitcase in Mexico city when I couldn't get a bandage. Don't let your gut ruin your trip or your blood ruin your suitcase.
Whether you're traveling for work or for fun, by car, plane or train, you should be prepared for accidents and incidents. I used to just pack light and hope for the best but that got me to a drugstore at midnight in Ft. Lauderdale, scaring people away because they thought I was on drugs in London and using a pillowcase, ice and an exercise band MacGyver style in Brazil. When I started adventure racing and was required to carry a first aid kit, I realized that I could pack everything I needed for mere ounces and not have to worry about calling the front desk for Gatorade in the middle of the night. Prepackaged first aid kits are great but check them at least twice a year for expired products and to replenish as needed. Also consider that if a pain reliever has been in your -10 and 110 degree car, it may not be good anymore.
Items to have in your first aid kit:
- Antacids – have these if you frequently suffer from heartburn. These shouldn't be eaten like candy or a supplement. Antacids can cause constipation, which is already an issue for people when they travel.
- Sunblock – Not just for your beach weekend. Car windows can filter out UVB rays but not UVA rays. Unless your car has tinted windows, make sure you apply sunblock. This isn't something you can keep in your kit all the time because the heat of your car will degrade it, however it's a good idea to pack it for your trips.
- Anti-diarrheal medication – This is a no-brainer. No need to pack the whole bottle, just a couple of tabs and repack as you need them. For a natural fix for a mild case, coconut can help.
- Motion sickness medication or wristbands – I hurled my guts up all night after taking the Vomit Comet from Dublin and missed the last dinner with my family before they left to go home.
- Moleskin – you can cut these to whatever size you need. Great for blisters or friction spots.
- Body Glide – also great to prevent blisters or chafing. They come in mini containers to pop in your pocket if you are out for a long day and might need it.
- OTC pain medicine – Tylenol, aspirin, NSAID – whatever works for you. You can keep a couple in your kit or you can pay a 3 bucks for one at the hotel desk.
- Antihistamine if you have allergies and even if you don't. People who suffer from allergies are usually prepared but often we don't know if we are allergic to something until we are exposed. Have a couple just in case.
- Bandages – a few different sizes
- Hydrocortisone cream
- Epi Pen if you're allergic to bees and have a prescription (these expire – take note).
- Antiseptic towelettes
- Duct tape – not a whole roll. You can just wrap duct tape around a bottle and reuse it if you need to.
- Tampon and liner. For women, this is a necessity. For men who may be traveling with women this is a necessity. For people who accidentally shoot themselves, this can stop the blood until you get to the hospital (yeah, don't ask).
What else do you pack in your mobile first aid kit?