Blog, Travel Tips, & News

Creating your Travel Medicine Kit

My weird travel prep project featured image-PP

With that ‘start fresh, get organized’ feeling from this time of year, and a travel schedule starting a couple of weeks from now, it’s the perfect time for me to get ahead and update one of my ‘be ready for travel’ kits. Most of tips and ideas that I offer I have learned from experience, so today I share this idea…

Creating your Travel Medicine Kit 

If you’ve ever gotten sick while you were outside of the country, you can appreciate how difficult it is to find the needed medicine when you can’t even read the labels on the boxes. It doesn’t even matter if you’re in an English-speaking country, because pharmaceuticals in Europe are different from ours in the US. Their terminology and the over-the-counter drugs vary quite a bit from what we are used to.

Once I was in Belfast and wanted to buy motion sickness pills, and the pharmacy next door to the hotel could not sell them to me. They told me they weren’t authorized for that type of medicine, so I needed to go to a different type of pharmacy five blocks away. That was an easy solution, but what if I had been in a small town and the other type of pharmacy was harder to get to or was closed?

Based on a few experiences of having a cold or nagging cough and having a hard time finding what I wanted in foreign drugstores, I created my ‘Med Kit’ that I take with me when I’m traveling.

I decided to prepare for my upcoming travel year by refreshing my Med Kit after using various components of it last year.

This has been so helpful to me over the last few years which is why I’m sharing it now – because if you take the time to do this, I promise there will be an occasion that you will be really glad you are prepared with the medicines you are familiar with and feel confident using.

I went to the neighborhood pharmacy to get a selection of over-the-counter drugs that I thought I might need while I was traveling. I looked for some specific brands that I like and included some generic brands for drug categories where I’m not that particular. I got medicines to manage cold symptoms, flu symptoms, stomach issues and motion sickness.

The key to purchasing these medications is that, whenever you can, you want to get the pills that are in the flat packets called blister packs that are sold in a box. That helps create a small little pack that I can include on every trip that has a lot of medications in it, without taking up very much room in my luggage.

I don’t want to have a bunch of bottles or anything bulky, so the blister packs work very well. Most cold and flu medications are sold in blister packs, so when purchasing the various drugs, I looked for those that I could find in boxes with the blister packs inside.

There are some medications that will only come in bottles, like Excedrin, aspirin or sleep medication so for those I got a bunch of small zip lock bags and a Sharpie to label the little plastic bags.

For the boxed medications, I emptied all of the boxes and then reviewed the back of the blister packs to see if it had specific instructions. Some of the medications don’t even have the name on the back of the pack, so I went through and labeled those blister packs with the drug name using my sharpie.

I wanted to have the appropriate directions for each of the medications, so I cut out the little part of the box that had directions printed on it, wrote the name of the drug on the opposite side, and then I put all of those little instruction squares into another mini-ziploc bag.

After getting rid of the boxes, I condensed the bottles down into little flat ziplocs. By eliminating the boxes and bottles, I took that stack of bulky medicine and made a much smaller amount to fit into my little pouch. I had a small, zippered pouch that originally held an eye mask and socks from an overnight flight years ago, and I repurposed that to hold my Med Kit. Now I have a 6” x 4” x 1.5” pack filled with my preferred medicines that is ready for my travels.

This whole project was less than an hour. I spent about 20 minutes in the CVS picking out my favorite drugs and took about 20 minutes to assemble the kit while we watched the afternoon NFL game.

I am well prepared for all of my trips this year with the medicines I may need if I happen to feel some symptoms coming on. I’m really pleased that I that I got this project done and hope that the idea helps you.