Your Personal Medical Kit

It's wise to always travel with a personal medical kit. Why?  Primarily because you need this stuff quickly and readily available – and that’s not always convenient when you're traveling.  Additionally, you'll find in remote destinations that much of what we take for granted as "basic" supplies is simply impossible to find.

This list can be expanded depending on where you are going and what your doctor advises, but the basics should include:

Basic Kit

antiseptic cream/lotion
headache tablets
small scissors/tweezers
any antibiotics or prescription drugs (with a letter and a copy of the prescription from your doctor)
crepe bandage + safety pins or butterfly closures
contraceptives(again, take a copy of the prescription from your doctor)
latex gloves
hand sanitizer... (Basic hygiene also goes a long way to ensuring you don't get sick in the first place)

'A huge, wet, thick bird turd was stuck on my arm and the remains were oozing down the side of my head… we poured on gobs of hand sanitizer, thanking god for its invention.'
Tjwhale is hit from the sky

Off the beaten Track

If you are going off the beaten track or to developing countries, also pack:

anti-diarrhoea tablets and laxatives (for changes in diet and water quality)
fluid and electrolyte replacement medications (eg. Gastrolyte, a water-soluble powder)
water purification tablets
Malaria tablets - this varies according to the destination and the mozzies' resistance levels
antihistamines – very useful for savage insect bites

'Since arriving…I have accumulated bites from the following creatures - bed bugs, mosquitos, leeches and green fly things (no name in English) that left my legs bleeding as if I had walked naked through a thorn bush'
Jonnygo tackles Thai wildlife

Adventure Travel

Well, you're getting into a whole new league here.  Exactly what adventure you're  undertaking should dictate what else to pack.  It's fair to say, you might need:

A sling (do you know how many people sprain/break limbs whilst in the snow?)
Additional wound treatments – the self-adhesive kind are especially handy to have. Mountain-bikers, take note!
If you've missed the point above about antibiotics because it means a trip to a doctor to get a prescription.. think again.

'I can feel my peripheral vision shrinking by the second and grab my head with both hands in a last attempt to salvage or stabilize a single awareness beyond my shaking body' 
Solbeam gets giardia whilst trekking Peru.

Travel with Kids

And if you're traveling with children, our two top First Aid tips are:

packets of antiseptic hand wipes for cleaning sticky fingers before and after meals
enough liquid paracetamol or similar to get you through at least a week of a bad fever.  Whilst it seems commonplace to buy this over the counter in many Western countries, it simply does not exist in developing nations.

'Three days later 5 year-old Riu contracts a fever, has a heart rate of 142, has shivers and a headache.'
Simon Monk, the Original World Nomad talks about travel in Indonesia.

Crossing borders with a First-Aid kit

One thing to be aware of is the different attitude in foreign countries to various over-the-counter drugs that you might take for granted back home.  

For example, did you know that Note that codeine is considered a narcotic in Greece and should be covered by a doctor's prescription. You do not want to attract the attention of customs staff by accidently bringing this across the Greek border without a script!

So, whilst we offer tips for your travel health and safety, please be aware that you need to make decisions based on your own circumstances and the local laws of the countries you will visit. Check with your Foreign Affairs Dept and WHO website for the most recent information.

Putting it all together

You might like to shop around, visit your doctor and slowly pull together a medical kit that suits the kind of travel you're doing. 

However, the fast and convenient option is to buy a ready-made one.  Experts far wiser than you or I have spent a lot of time putting together exactly the right combo of things in nifty little pouches... check out specialist kits for wilderness lovers, canoeists, mountaineers, backpackers and families from a company like Adventure Medical Kits.

About FLY Backpackers keeps you traveling safely. Whether you’re off for a long weekend, looking for the ultimate adventure or living the nomadic dream, you’ll stay safe with Travel Insurance you can buy online, anytime, and the latest travel safety advice.