Travel Packing List :: Medication Must-Haves

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READING TIME: 4 min.

medicationI am fortunate to have the opportunity to travel quite often for both work and pleasure.  I have my packing list down to a science, but over the years I have discovered the importance of a specific genre of items: medication.  

In my every day life, my family has a couple of prescriptions, so that is a no-brainer to include those when packing for a trip.  In addition, I have a list that that I refer to when packing regardless if it is an adults-only trip or my kids are traveling with me:

  • Tylenol or Ibuprofen – for your standard aches and pains, or maybe a few too many glasses of wine one evening. If traveling with kids, I will also pack children’s Tylenol in both liquid and rectal form (in case they can’t keep anything down).
  •  Standard band-aids and blister band-aids – even my relaxing trips to a resort have resulted in needing a band-aid, and even more so with trips filled with sightseeing.
  • Imodium – for when a meal just didn’t sit well with me.  This is NOT for suspected food poisoning, as my doctor advised me that with food poisoning you want to let your body “get it all out.”
  • Gas-X – If you are traveling with a spouse or close friend, they will thank you for this one.
  • Antacids – If you just can’t turn down that local spicy chili but know your body won’t react well, antacids will be your best friend. 
  • Anti-Itch Medicine – Just because you are on vacation doesn’t mean that bugs are.
  • Antihistamines – Different areas have different allergies, even if you don’t suffer at home-you may in a new area.
  • Anti-Motion Sickness Preventatives – I discovered just how helpful this medicine was during a catamaran ride during our honeymoon, despite the fact that I never have experienced motion sickness before.
  • Electrolyte Packets – Dehydration can happen for many reasons during a trip, having these on hand for whatever reason needed can help get you back on the mend quicker and enjoy what is left of your trip.
  •  AZO – I have gotten a UTI while on vacation and it was miserable.  This helped me get through the rest of my trip until I was able to see my doctor upon my return home.
  • Cold and flu medicine – Once on a work trip, I woke up with a severe cold and this helped me get through my day (and then sleep through the night).
  • Prescriptions – Of course this is something you have to talk with your doctor about, but I try to travel with these two prescriptions, just in case:
    • Zofran – Not being able to keep anything down makes being away from home so utterly miserable.  My team once shared a stomach bug on a long work trip and this was the only way I made it through the trip.
    • Antibiotic for traveler’s diarrhea – My doctor will prescribe this for me prior to traveling internationally with the understanding that I will call and speak with them prior to taking it to discuss my symptoms and make sure it is an appropriate response. 

One last tip – with the exception of prescription medications (which must remain in original packaging) I will take only a small amount of each item.  For example, Gas-X or antacids, I will only bring one “sheet” of each item and label it on the back with a permanent marker so that there is no confusion over what each medication is.  With careful planning, I can fit all of the above items, as well as our daily prescriptions in one small bag. I highly recommend a bag like this that zips open on two sides so you can pack your items more efficiently.  

This is obviously a large list and may seem like overkill. I assure you though, if you ate an amazing four-course meal filled with rich and heavy food and woke up at 2:00 and realized you forgot your medication bag, you would realize how important it is to travel with all these items, just in case.  

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