Quick Tip #7: First-aid kits for backpackers

You’re overseas. You’re all alone. And you feel, like crap. What do you do? 

When you’re traveling in a foreign country, trying to hunt down a doctor or medical professional is one of the last things you want to do. From not being able to converse to confusion over payment, a visit to the doctor’s office can be more trouble than it’s worth, and avoided if prepared. Obviously, some problems demand immediate attention from a licensed physician – say, if you’re jumping ruins in Rome and a bone is protruding out of your lower leg – you might want to get that checked out. But when it comes to minor injuries and discomfort, from an unexpected burn (like that pictured above after carrying a mid-sized backpack up Kilimanjaro) to annoying and embarrassing travelers diarrhea, having the right medicine on hand is a great way to skip the doctor’s office and carry on with your travels, pain free.

So, what do you need to take with you while traveling abroad? The medicine you should pack is largely dependent on where you’re headed. If, for example, you are traveling to East Africa, anti-malarial medication should definitely be included on the list (unless you plan to buy it there), but if you’re heading to Sweden, you can probably leave that one off the list.

Wherever your travels take you, here are some of the staple (medicinal) items that may come in handy somewhere along the way:

  • Swiss army knife (useful for everything from opening cans to removing pieces of wood from the bottom of your foot)
  • Acetaminophen (pain relief)
  • Ibuprofen (anti-inflammatory)
  • Antibiotic Ointment (for any minor cuts or scrapes)
  • Tweezers
  • Waterproof Band-aids
  • Waterproof Matches
  • Antifungal Cream (to combat fungal infection)
  • Antihistamine (to combat allergic reactions)
  • Anti-nauseant (for road travel, boat travel, or bad reaction from food/heat)
  • Sunscreen and aloe (even if you think you won’t need it – just pack some)
  • Earplugs (more preventative than medical – great for overnight trains)
  • Anti-diarrheal  (self explanatory – bad food may taste good on the way in… but not so good on the way out)
  • Re-hydration salts (in case you’re puking your guts up, you’ll need to re-hydrate)

Stay healthy wherever you are by packing smartly for any adventure.

What would YOU add to this list?