If you are wondering what things you should have in a travel first aid kit – or why you even need a travel first aid kit – this post is for you!

We’ve listed 10 things you should have in a travel first aid kit, plus a few extra things that might be an added bonus to have. And if you’re anything like me and love checklists, there’s even a handy checklist at the bottom to print out and use each time you get ready to pack.

Why should you take a first aid kit when you travel?

While no one wants to think of the possibility of accidents happening while on vacation, the reality is that something MIGHT happen and having a travel first aid kit is essential!

Especially if you are travelling with young kids, chances are that scrapes and cuts will happen and you will want to be prepared with some first aid items! 

So what do you need to take in a first aid kit while travelling?

While you can’t predict every emergency that might happen, there are some essentials that you should always carry.

Keep in mind that every medicine cabinet at home will look slightly different, so every first aid kit will look a little different as well. But there are definitely some things that should be in every first aid kit, especially if you are travelling with young kids.

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Use this post (and checklist!) as a guideline while packing so you know what things to have in your travel first aid kit and feel free to add anything extra that your family might need, or things that you use on a regular basis.  

Side note: my son uses a puffer and if you are travelling with one, it has to be kept in a carry-on bag and can’t be checked. If any medication is prescribed, keep it in the original packaging with the Rx label still attached. Also be sure to carry medication, even over the counter medication like Advil, in original bottles. I haven’t had a problem yet, but have heard of some people who have. Just to be safe, we always keep anything in their original containers, even though those may be somewhat bulky.

10 Things to Have in a Travel First Aid Kit


1. Bandaids

Bandaids, also called plasters, are a necessity for everyone, not just in a kids’ first aid kit. Whether it’s a cut, scrape or even blisters after walking around in shoes, bandaids are sure to be used while you’re travelling. There are fun, printed ones for kids, or the regular plain ones. You probably already have these in your house, just add a few to your first aid kit! (You can also purchase some on amazon here.)

2. Gauze

Gauze is super important to have in your travel first aid kit! Usually used to for scrapes, minor cuts and even burns, gauze is excellent at absorbing anything. It helps to stop the bleeding and keep the wound clean, and it also protects the area from dirt and other things that will cause the cut or scrape to get infected. Which you definitely don’t want, especially while travelling.

3. Antibiotic Ointment

If you do get those cuts, scrapes or burns, after cleaning the area, apply the antibiotic ointment to help reduce the chance of infections. Even if you don’t need gauze, the antibiotic ointment will help prevent infections in any spot where the skin is broken. You can find antibiotic ointment such as Polysporin here on Amazon.

4. Anti-Inflammatory Medication

There are several types of anti-inflammatory medicines, with the two most common ones being Tylenol and Advil. While both are used for different things (Tylenol provides pain relief and reduces fever; Advil provides pain relief and reduces swelling), you may want to carry one or both in your travel first aid kit. If you have some in your medicine cabinet at home, just bring those while you are travelling, or you can purchase some here on amazon.
* Ibuprofen (Advil) is not recommended to be used if a child is vomiting, dehydrated or not eating much, and most of the time while we are travelling, if the kids are not feeling well, those are the symptoms they have. We tend to just carry Tylenol, but you may want to have both in your travel first aid kit.

5. Adult Pain Relief

Good for headaches, fever and general aches and pains, adult pain relief will probably be in your travel first aid kit too. Tylenol, Advil, Motrin are some common ones. Most people tend to have a preference, so take whatever you prefer to use. It’s important to have adult and child specific ones though, so make sure you take both!

6. Allergy Relief

Whether it’s seasonal allergies, mosquito bites or bee stings, it’s always a good idea to have Benadryl or other allergy relief handy! We’ve made the mistake of not taking it before, even on local trips and as luck would have it, one of my guys swells up with certain bug bites, necessitating an emergency run in to the nearest pharmacy for some Benadryl. Now it’s a staple in our travel bag, whether we’re heading away for a cottage weekend or a longer vacation.

7. Scissors

Scissors come in handy to cut pieces gauze or even to cu regular bandaids in half to make them more child-sized. They’re also handy when you have those loose strings coming from a shirt! Just be aware that scissors won’t be allowed to go in carry-on luggage! 
**If you are travelling with carry-on luggage only, you can usually find a pair of scissors at your destination.

8. Tweezers

While this might not seem like something important enough to take in a travel first aid kit, I have to tell you, tweezers have come in handy quite a few times! Somehow my kids always seem to get slivers or splinters while we are away somewhere and having a set of tweezers handy definitely helps!

9. Medical tape

Medical tape is useful for many things. Before travelling with kids, I always kept it in my bag to help keep gauze in place if I had a blister while walking miles on vacation. Now that I travel with kids, medical tape is still a great thing to have, as it’s good to cover gauze or to help secure bandaids when they don’t want to stay on – really anything that needs a bit of extra help staying in place!

10. Thermometer

While I’m not one to use a thermometer at home that often, it does come in handy while travelling. Especially when travelling with young kids, you’ll want to be able to check their temperature if they don’t feel well. Digital ones are best and most are small enough to fit in a first aid kit without taking up too much room.


Other Things to have in a Travel First Aid Kit


Cough and Cold medicine

It’s common to pick up a cold or cough while on a vacation, especially when you’re travelling on an airplane or in other confined spaces. Also, the change in weather, general stress or lack of sleep, plus jet lag and adapting to a new climate definitely puts stress on your immune system. While we don’t always carry cough and cold medicine, it might be something you want to consider taking! There are lots of different brands out there – we love the 0-9 brand you can find it on amazon here or search for other kinds.

Nail Clippers

While these might not seem like an important first aid item, nail clippers are a staple in our travel first aid kit! Those split nails or hangnails may cause more problems if not taken care of properly! 

Oral Rehydration Solutions

Oral rehydration solutions are used to treat dehydration caused by gastroenteritis (ie, diarrhea) which is often common while travelling. Luckily we haven’t had to use them yet, but I will be adding them to things in our travel first aid kit.

Gloves

You may also want to consider packing sterile gloves in your first aid kit as well!

You probably have all, or most of these things around your house and can easily make your own travel first aid kit. If not, you can also check out pre-made first aid kits here on amazon.

Creating your Own Travel First Aid Kit

I keep the basic first aid things (without medication that has an expiry date) as a permanent first aid kit in my travel backpack, along with the checklist that you can download below. When we are packing for a trip  or vacation somewhere, I can easily see on the checklist what I have to replenish or ‘borrow’ from the medicine cabinet at home. Click on one of the images below to download your own copy!

list of items to have in a travel first aid kit

I hope this post has helped you to plan and know what to have in a travel first aid kit. Print out the checklist and place it in with your travel gear, so you won’t forget to pack anything when it comes time to take that trip somewhere!


You can find other tips on travelling with kids in the Tips for Travelling page.

Also be sure to check the Destinations page for ideas and kid-friendly places to travel to.

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11 Comments

  1. Great list! We ALWAYS travel with a kit… Mr. Bump didn’t get his nickname by accident… wait… YES, he did! LOL. One thing I also carry with me are Steri-strips. We have had instances where cuts are pretty deep, and the strips will work better than bandaids, and we can avoid stitches.

    1. Yes! I’ve used steri strips too – I should add them to our travel kit! I’m SURE they will come in handy sometime. (and love the nickname!)

  2. Great list! These are always things I try to keep on hand!

  3. This is a great post and good information and tips to have when traveling. Thanks for the information. It is definitely helpful!

    1. Thanks! I’m glad it was helpful!

  4. Your post was very informative and I enjoyed reading it! I go on road trips often and as someone who is extremely clumsy this will definitely come in handy.

    1. Thanks! I hope you don’t end up needing to use them, but always good to have just in case!

  5. Great post and ideas. I really love the printable checklist! Nail clippers are something not in my first aid kit but I always seem to look through it hoping they are there when I need them. I will be adding them tonight!

    1. Me too! Until I made myself a checklist every time. We actually have several pairs now, and one lives permanently in the travel first aid kit.

  6. Thank you for the informations! I am a very preventive person so your list will make me sure to forgot nothing! I always tend to bring things “just in case”!

    1. It’s always good to have things ‘just in case’!

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