Packing for summer travel can be a tough task; remembering clothing for all the events to take place during your trip, cosmetics and other self care items, and items other family members may need can be daunting! One thing I never travel without is my OTC travel kit, which I compile from items I have at home or purchase before my travel. The items in this kit vary if I’m traveling internationally or have more outdoor activities planned for my trip, but I include many of the same things for every trip!
The CDC has excellent resources for travelers, which can help you know whether you need vaccines, prescription medications, or special-order products outside of a typical OTC travel kit. Always read and follow directions for when and how to use, warnings, and precautions for over the counter medications.
OTC items I take every time I travel:
- Adhesive bandages of varying sizes – use to cover a blister you got from walking during sight-seeing or take care of a scrape you got while hiking! My favorites are bandages flexible enough to be comfortable while moving or waterproof bandages for use at the beach or pool.
- Sunscreen – this is a must-have for summer getaways, whether you’re spending time swimming at the beach or in the pool, sight-seeing, hiking, or any outdoor activity! Mineral sunscreens are my personal favorite, as they are well-tolerated. Sunscreen sprays are often convenient, but they typically still need to be rubbed in! All sunscreens should be reapplied throughout the day.
- Pain reliever/fever reducer – use for typical aches and pains while you’re away from your medicine cabinet or to help relieve a fever that crops up unexpectedly. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are both in my OTC travel kit.
- Antacids and heartburn relief – to make sure you fully enjoy new, local foods, you might want antacids on hand for after-meal relief and long-acting heartburn relief for prevention or cases not relieved by antacids alone.
- Insect repellent – insect repellent wipes are handy if you don’t expect to need lots of insect repellant on your trip, since they fit in a day bag for unexpected needs while sight-seeing, and they are carry-on friendly.
- Motion sickness medication – keep motion sickness medication on hand if you are taking a long car ride, traveling by plane, or going on a cruise!
- Bonus item: ear plugs – ear plugs are helpful if your hotel room ends up near an elevator or high traffic spot, you are traveling with a larger group, or if you are generally used to having quiet at home!
How does my OTC kit change if I am traveling with children?
Make sure you have the children’s, chewable, or liquid formulations of pain reliever/fever reducers appropriate for children of the age with whom you’re traveling. Recognize that children shouldn’t take certain stomach relief tablets or liquid if they have a fever or flu-like illness or are under the age of 12.
Extra OTC items for international travel:
- Stomach relief – it’s more common to have stomach upset, indigestion, or diarrhea occur during international travel, when foods are more foreign to your body. A great first line of defense is stomach relief, which can help alleviate mild cases of traveler’s diarrhea and indigestion.
- Melatonin – if you are traveling across several time zones, melatonin can be used to help alleviate jet lag if taken at bedtime for your destination.
- Insect repellent – special insect repellent may be needed to protect yourself from mosquitos on certain international trips. Use the CDC’s travel resources and consult your pharmacist or other healthcare practitioner for help!
Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.