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The Essential Travel Medicine Bag for Adventure Travel

By Alice Teacake

This article may contain affiliate / compensated links. For full information, please see my affiliate disclaimer here.

“If you suddenly found yourself within a zombie apocalypse, which item would you choose to protect yourself and what would your role be within the community?” It’s a question I love to ask travelers I’ve just met. It sparks creativity, highlights our strengths and really gets us thinking about what we would actually do if we did get stuck together in that location together! And if things really became bad, would we have enough canned baked beans to survive, exciting books to read and supplies in our travel medicine bag to make it out the other end, alive and human!

Possible zombie apocalypse scenarios aside, the amount of times I’ve been chased by salivating dogs, accidentally burnt myself on motorbikes and cursed in gas station toilets as another urinary tract infection has hit me, needs to be discussed. And don’t get me started on the traveler’s diarrhea (thanks Cambodia).

This post is sponsored by Jase Medical. As always, opinions remain Teacake’s own.

Let’s get your medicine bag for travel ready

Courageous travel needs preparation and with the possibility of more natural disasters and pandemics happening in this current climate, it’s good to have a game plan of your medicine for travel. Self care whilst traveling is a top priority. So without further ado, let’s get you set up for travel success and plan your medicine bag together. 

A red travel medicine kit surrounded by first aid supplied and travel medicine on a blue background

Make sure you pack the right travel medicine bag for you

Medicine for Travel

Every medical kit for travel needs some safe and trusted medication within it. I highly recommend the following medicine to pack when you’re traveling and being adventurous. 

Antibiotics

I’ll never forget the time I was racing across Kazakhstan in the middle of nowhere during The Mongol Rally and crying out for the sixth time to my co-driver to stop the car so I could pee. I was going through a period in my life where urinary tract infections just kept showing up at the most inconvenient times. And my word, for all the ladies out there reading this right now…you know how painful they can be.

As I was hanging on to the side of the car door and trying to maintain my modesty, panic was rapidly setting in. Where on earth were we supposed to get antibiotics out here? Yes, I had travel insurance. But getting to a doctor in the next “town” was going to take all day.

Luckily, a friend was carrying a spare antibiotic with her in her travel medicine bag. I swiftly swallowed it and within a couple of hours, peace was restored. But after this experience, I vowed to never travel without a supply of medication for emergency use again.

Previously, I was going to questionable pharmacies to see if they could give me antibiotics over the counter. But after returning home and showing doctors what I was prescribed, they were telling me that what I had taken wasn’t the right antibiotic, or way too strong for what was needed at the time.

Mongol Rally

The Mongol Rally is no mean feat! It took us 3 months to get from London to Mongolia and 2 months to get back!

Paracetamol to eliminate pain

Paracetamol, known as acetaminophen for all my US readers, has helped me out when I’ve had a headache, my temperature has been running high and when I’ve possibly had one too many beverages at the bar. If you’ve ever been subjected to those “buckets” in Thailand…you know what I mean.

Ibuprofen to diminish inflammation

Yes, ibuprofen is very similar to paracetamol but it is an anti-inflammatory so if you get any aches, sprains and injuries of this nature, it’s brilliant to have in your travel medicine kit. I’m particularly obsessed with hiking, and sometimes I can get too excited on those mountains.

Antihistamine for allergies and insect bites

I’m obsessed with animals. I was repeatedly told not to pet the dogs in Vietnam, but I completely ignored that advice and paid the price. I’m still not sure what caused me to have such an allergic reaction but carrying antihistamine tablets with me ensured those allergies went right away. If you’re prone to reacting to insect bites too, this is a great medicine to have in your medical kit.

A brown and fluffy street dog looking up against a blurred colourful background

Stray dog on the street that you can encounter whilst traveling and having an allergic reaction to

Rehydration Sachets

Keep hydrated ladies! If you’re traveling around in very hot heat, hiking intensively or recovering from diarrhea, pack some rehydration sachets with electrolytes in your travel medicine bag. You need to keep well hydrated and these nifty sachets will do the job.

Motion Sickness Tablets

I’ve been known to get seasick on a pedalo boat, so whenever I meet the water, I know that I need to take a motion sickness tablet. If you’re a sensitive water baby like me, you’ll know that you need this whilst diving too! Anyone else get seasick diving?

My latest adventure in Egypt involved me being hurtled up and down within a wooden boat repeatedly like I was on a pogo stick. Even though I took the medication, I warned my fellow passengers that things may go wrong. But it turned out that the woman in front of me who was confident she could handle it, ended up spending most of her time hunched over the side of the boat all the way to the island. Don’t underestimate those waters!

Alice diving in Coron surrounded by crystal clear blue water and looking up at the surface

Diving is one of my favourite solo female travel activities but I have to pack motion sickness tablets to do it. I’m a very sensitive water baby.

Travel First Aid Items

Now that you’ve got your travel medicines covered, here’s some other nifty items I recommend packing in your first aid kit, so that you’re covered.

 

Plasters (Band Aids)

The biggest reason I pack plasters is to help me out when I’m hiking and trekking long distances. There was one time whilst walking in Menorca where I was severely caught out by underestimating the time it was going to take me to reach my end point around the island and ouch…those shoes I was wearing cut right through my ankles. 

Don’t buy just any old plasters. Opt for the thick padded ones. And if you really are trekking, you can get plasters that mimic your skin. There are others that can also be placed over blisters to protect them and ensure they heal well.

Antiseptic Wipes and Hand Sanitizer

If you find yourself in a situation with cuts, scrapes and open wounds, we need to act quick and make sure we zap those chances of an infection happening. I always pack some antiseptic wipes and hand sanitizer so that I can attend to wounds swiftly and keep them clean. I’ve had quite a few friends get caught up in corals whilst snorkelling and having these wipes ensured we did the best we could before heading to a doctor.

Bandages and Gauze

To also attend to wounds efficiently, pack some bandages and gauze. Gauze can clean wounds, apply pressure to them and minimize any bleeding. Use the bandages to keep the gauze in place before you can reach a health professional.

A red first aid kit for travel containing medicine, band aids, bandages and swabs

Medicine is important but do not forget your first aid items such as band aids and bandages to take care of your health while traveling

Bonus item: Tiger Balm

If you can, get your mitts on a jar of tiger balm. Ever since discovering it in Asia almost 12 years ago now, it is an ointment that just keeps on giving. It’s become so popular that I’ve even seen it stocked in Europe and yes, it’s available in the States. Tiger Balm is an analgesic heat rub that can be used for muscle pain, common colds, headaches, minor burns, insect bites and even stretch marks! Its primary ingredients are camphor and menthol and I love having it in my pocket.

What items are in your travel medicine bag?

Let me know if I’m missing anything here. 

Maybe there’s an item in your medical kit that you cannot live without? 

Related Reading

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How to travel while on your period

How to stay fit while traveling mentally and physically

About Alice Teacake

I'm a feminist British kickass solo female traveller who believes in women facing their fears, pushing their boundaries and reaching their full potential through solo adventure travel! I have been featured in Nat Geo Traveller UK, Lonely Planet, the Daily Mail and Buzzfeed and spoken about solo female travel safety on BBC One, whilst working with a bunch of awesome brands. Follow me for travel advice and inspiration, so you can go forth and challenge yourself to reach your own personal goals!

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