What to Pack in a First-Aid Travel Kit

There are certain niggling details in life that are easy to overlook, but can ultimately prove important, like flossing, or saving receipts. For planners on a trip, packing a first-aid kit is another. You’ll probably never need it, but if or when you do, having first-aid supplies handy can feel like a (metaphorical) life saver.

Sure, any hotel or DMC worth its business license will have a first-aid kit (and in some cases, defibrillators!). But does the staff know where to find them? And how long will it take to get to you? Who knows, you may give up waiting and just limp your way to the nearest drugstore.

Which makes packing some essentials in a small and easy-to-toss-in-your-bag first-aid travel kit a no-brainer for those rare moments when you or an attendee need a bandage and some antiseptic for a scraped knee. You may also be in need of some pain relief while in your room late at night, and that drugstore is long closed.

To hold your supplies, use a small plastic container, like a Tupperware or lunch container with a lid that snaps in place. You can also find ready-made first-aid kits in drugstores, but will want to customize it for your travel needs. And you don’t need to stuff it full of bandages; just a few of each item will get you through any minor scrapes.

Here’s what to include:

Bandages are probably thing one to pack in a first-aid kit. Besides the unforeseen scraped knee or bonked head, band-aids can come in really handy for blisters as you and your group tromp around on a sight-seeing excursion. Toss in several of different sizes.

Thing two is ibuprofen, which is useful for relieving aches of many types.

A gauze pad can be used for different things, like cleaning up a scrape or wound, or to staunch bleeding on a cut. Several are squeezed into one square packet, so just one packet is all you need to include.

Also found in packets, antiseptic or alcohol wipes or important for disinfecting wounds. Alcohol wipes can also double for cooling down sunburned skin. Toss in a couple, they’re small. You can also include packets of hand sanitizer, bug repellent and sunscreen, but I would bring larger containers of these, apart from your kit, if you know in advance you’re going to need them.

There’s something out there called Green Goo, which comes in a tin and helps relieve symptoms of everything from poison ivy, insect bites and blisters, to sunburn, rashes and chafing. In lieu of multiple other items, pack a tin as a do-it-all remedy.

If you’re the type to carry a Swiss army with a full complement of blades and other tools, great. Otherwise, pack a pair of tweezers for pulling out splinters or glass from a wound. They can also double for cosmetic use, plucking out stray hairs that suddenly appear.

Some kind of muscle relaxant is advised, whether in pill form or topical creams. This is especially useful for achy or cramped muscles after an outing.

Antacid tablets are important for any stomach issues from the inevitable upset in your normal diet while on the road, as well as from eating new and unfamiliar cuisine. Likewise, you may be traveling to a pollen-heavy zone, which means a few antihistamine pills should be packed as well, which can also be used to relieve effects from motion sickness.

An easy way to confirm if someone is running a fever is with the thermometer you packed in your kit. You can then treat their runny nose and sore throat with the cold medicine pills you put in there too.

Bring additional items depending on your destination and the activities planned during your meeting. Going on a desert hike during your meeting in Tucson? Pack some rehydration pills. A fishing trip planned during that incentive trip to Cancun? Bring some motion sickness pills. Hopefully, you’ll never need it, but packing a small first-aid travel kit is worth the peace of mind.

Photo credits: Shutterstock.com

John Anderson

John Anderson

John Anderson is an award-winning journalist, travel writer and blogger based in San Jose, California. He has covered the meetings and hospitality industry extensively since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @jcax01

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