First aid kits are often overlooked by travellers, mainly because most minor ailments only occur when you’re surrounded by other people or medical supplies are readily at hand. But when the biting ants gnaw between your toes on a secluded beach, believe me, you’ll wish you packed a travel first aid kit.

You can buy an essential travel first aid kit at your local chemist. Find a suitable storage bag and fill it with the contents listed below and you’ll save yourself a pretty penny.

The Essential Travel First Aid Kit

For dressings (cuts, bruises and sprains)

1 x roll of medical tape

1 x box of plasters in different sizes

Non-adherent dressings

2 x bandages (1 large, 1 small)

1 x small scissors


Latex gloves (to protect you from someone else’s blood)

Top Tips: Cling film is fantastic for burns and other abrasions and as you can see through it, you can keep an eye on a wound without tampering with the dressing.

You don’t really need to carry safety pins – just tie a knot in the dressing and avoid stabbing someone :-)


Antiseptic (You can buy bottles or sprays of standard antiseptic, or get ready-prepared antiseptic wipes.)




Anti-diarrhoea drugs

 Other items that may be useful in certain circumstances

Medicine to prevent altitude sickness (white ibuprofen)

Water purification tablets

Commercial suture/syringe kits to be used by local healthcare provider

Your personal prescription medications

A spare pair of reading/driving glasses


*Some countries have extremely strict rules about both over the counter medications and prescribed drugs entering their borders. Check before you travel that you are not breaching any of those rules.

** A first aid quick reference card is really useful in the event of needing to use the contents of the first aid kit. Read it before you need it and keep it in your first aid kit for future reference.

***Make sure you keep the dosage information leaflets with your medications. If you don’t know how to use the contents of your travel first aid kit, you are almost better off without it.

****Think about where you’re going and what you’ll be doing. What are the more likely accidents you may need to pack for? Go going to desert? You might need to think about heat exhaustion or sunburn. Going to the Arctic? Maybe you need to think about hypothermia treatment.


If possible attend a first aid training course before your road trip. It will give you piece of mind on what to do in the event of some injuries and who knows, you may even save somebody’s life one day.

This may seem a lot of medical kit, but it is surprisingly light and compact. Keep it well stocked, make sure the medications remain in date and always have it handy. You never know when you might need it.

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Are you planning a road trip? Read all our road trip travel tips here.