Going on trips to unknown places can pose a bit of a conundrum. You don't want to over-pack and be forced to lug your too-heavy bags everywhere, especially on the strong chance that your destination doesn't have elevators, but you also don't want to be stuck missing something important.
The need for first aid will inevitably be part of your holiday. Whether you have a bug bite, a scrape, an allergic reaction or a headache, a good, travel-friendly first aid kit is a must when you travel. Let's discuss how to make a good first aid kit for when you're on the go.
Tip 1. Do your research
Check in advance if there are any pharmacies or supermarkets in the area you're visiting. A jungle trek through the Amazon? Bring a well stocked first aid kit and try to be prepared for any situation. Visiting Roatan? You can get everything you need here, so don't worry so much. We have plenty of pharmacies on the island, and the supermarkets all sell basic first aid equipment, so you're pretty well covered.
Tip 2. Take everything out of the boxes
While you want to stock up on your medications and first aid tools to make sure you're covered for any (normal) situation, keeping everything in their boxes will only take up space. Take medication out of the boxes and cut them up to cut down on the bulk. If you have plasters and sanitizing wipes, be smart. There's no need to bring a 100-pack box of plasters with you. Take out a reasonable amount for your first aid kit, and leave the rest at home.
Tip 3. Anticipate travel stomach
Not to be a bummer (ha!), but there's a very good chance that you or your travel buddies will get a bad stomach on holiday. Every place in the world has different bacteria on their food, and while that isn't a bad thing in and of itself, if your stomach isn't used to that particular bacteria or your immune system is weakened (which tends to happen on holidays), you're going to have stomach issues. Anticipating stomach issues will mean you're prepared if it happens, and if it doesn't happen, then you're extra happy!
Tip 4. Make your own ear drops
If you are going on a water-based holiday and are prone to ear problems, make your own ear drops and bring them in a travel container instead of purchasing manufactured ear drops. You can make a half-and-half mix of rubbing alcohol and vinegar, which should be two products that you would have lying around at home anyways, as a way of preventing ear infections. The rubbing alcohol dries your skin out while the vinegar balances the pH to prevent bacteria from growing, and you know exactly what went into the mixture so you don't have to worry about loading your body up with weird chemicals. You'll smell like a salad, but you'll be ear infection free!
Tip 5. Keep everything separate
The environmental side of me says to put everything into one bag. The practical, travel side of me says to keep everything separate. Get reusable bags (look for recycled, water-resistant materials), or sandwich bags that you have lying around, to keep your medications, plasters and bandages, tweezers, and any liquid items separate from each other. You can keep reusing the bags for however long they last so it's not a repeated expense, but it saves you having to tear apart your first aid kit looking for something, and you can avoid the dreaded soggy plaster.
So there are our Top Five Tips for packing the perfect travel first aid kit! Of course, we hope you never have to use it, but it's always better to be safe than sorry. Happy travels!