Navigating through foreign lands can be an exhilarating experience. The culture, the history, and the experiences make it all worth it.

However, for all of the adventure and excitement travel ensues,  so too does it bring the risk of potentially falling ill and impacting your health. Being sick is never a pleasant experience in any case. Add in being away from home and trying to find the right medicine in foreign territory to the mix and your mild stomach upset quickly becomes the stuff of nightmares.

Have you ever tried frantically miming “I have food poisoning” to an amused foreign pharmacist?

We can confirm, you don’t want to!

Perhaps you were enticed into trying the local delicacies in an Arabian spice market, but you weren’t accustomed to the pizzazz of the flavors and infusions, leaving you holed up in the bathroom all day swearing to God that you will never eat anything but plain bland foods again. Or perhaps, that Aperol Spritz by the Duomo in Milan was so incredibly good, you inhaled multiple before remembering it had any alcohol content.

Falling ill when traveling is almost inevitable.

But it gets worse if you’re traveling with family. When you’re traveling with kids, it’s no longer just your health you need to worry about, but also the health of your little people. Such responsibility can easily add further levels of stress to your travel experience. Fortunately, as a family that travels full time, we have acquired some handy tips and tricks for medical and health considerations while adventuring around the globe that we want to pass on to other intrepid explorers (whether accompanied by children or not).

The Ultimate Family Medical Kit

Travel Health: The Ultimate Family Medical Kit

Travel Health: The Ultimate Family Medical Kit

Having a sickly person in your party can impede your travel experience. For that reason, we put a lot of thought and consideration into our travel medical kit. Our supplies are comprehensive and contain both a mixture of store-bought items, and our own tried and tested special blends. We maintain the notion that prevention is better than cure and as such, the contents place a focus on aiming to prevent and control infections.

It may seem as though we are carrying an awful lot of medical supplies with us, but when you’re traveling to new countries, you never know what you will need, when you’ll need, and where you can find it (especially if going “off the beaten track”). Though it’s extensive, our travel health kit supplies are lightweight and do not take up too much space.

Travel Health:The Ultimate Family Medical Kit Contents

Travel Health: The Ultimate Family Medical Kit

Travel Health: The Ultimate Family Medical Kit

For ease of use, we have included a list of everything contained in our kit at the end of this article but let’s take a look at what we include and why.

Travel Health: Natural Remedies

Travel Health: The Ultimate Family Medical Kit

Travel Health: The Ultimate Family Medical Kit

Natural remedies can work wonders in treating a range of ailments and in making a family travel experience a much more comfortable one. To this end, we never travel without the following.

Arnica oil

Any parent will tell you that their kids are accident prone, walking disasters. Wherever they go, they seem to find something to bump in! Arnica oil is a perfect natural solution since it can be gently rubbed into the skin to ease any pain or swelling associated with bumps, bruises, aches and pains. You can also use it to cure muscle ache (ideal for parents after spending the day carrying a heavy backpack filled with supplies!) and treat insect bites.

Lavender Oil

Whether you have just arrived at your next hotel spot and it’s not entirely up to par, or you want to diffuse any unpleasant odors that arise in the room, lavender oil is perfect for freshening up a bad smelling hotel room. Better still, the smell of lavender can help you to relax when you’re trying to unwind at the end of the day when you’re too anxious or excited to get to sleep!

Wheatgrass

There are plenty of general health benefits that come from wheatgrass. You can purchase it in a variety of forms (Powder, pills, juice, etc.). The best health benefits of wheatgrass come when consuming it in a format that is as close to the natural form as possible: liquid. But drinking liquid wheatgrass shots isn’t exactly practical when traveling on a long-term basis (you may not have a blender everywhere you go to prepare your own juice!), and as such, the pills come in as a close second. Wheatgrass can boost metabolism and flush out toxins from the body. If you are traveling in places where the cuisine is wholly different to that which you are used to, wheatgrass can do wonders in flushing out that “icky” feeling.

Small Bottle of Coconut Oil

It’s no secret that coconut oil is renowned for possessing numerous health benefits. After all, many health and beauty products all around the world use its powerful extracts. We always carry a small bottle with us while traveling for a number of reasons:

1. It promotes softer skin – It is so easy for your skin to dry out while you are traveling. Sunburn peels and increased number of showers due to hot weather and rushing around can make your skin dehydrated and rougher to the touch than sandpaper. Coconut oil not only restores some of the moisture, but it also has anti-inflammatory properties.

2. L’Oréal “Because I’m worth it” hair – If you suffer from frizz or dry hair, heightened humidities and tropical climates are not your friend. Coconut oil tames and nourishes.

3. It reduces stress – After all, who wouldn’t be feeling happier about the world after being immersed in that beautiful coconut scent?

The beautiful thing about using coconut oil as opposed to other store-bought items is that it is free from artificial ingredients, preservatives and parabens and therefore much better for your body.

Vitamin D3

As we mentioned, we maintain the notion that when it comes to your travel health, prevention of ailments is much better than cure. Vitamin D3 is an optimal daily supplement from our perspective since it improves overall body health.

Magnesium

Magnesium is another item that falls into our chosen supplements. It aids and optimizes so many bodily functions that keep the body running like a well-oiled machine. Various scientific studies have proven that those who do not have sufficient levels of magnesium in their diets are more likely to be at risk of some major health conditions (heart disease, diabetes and bone disorders to name but a few). We take magnesium supplements while traveling to aid in our quest to keep our overall health as high as possible.

Smudge In Liquid Extract Form

An item that was adorned and traditionally used by Native American healers, liquid smudge is often used to create a pleasant (and fragrant) ambience in a particular space. Made from a wonderful infusion of cedar, sage and other fresh herbs, it is perfect for freshening up a hotel room, a car after a long road trip, and other compact spaces during travel. If you practice mindfulness and meditation while traveling, liquid smudge can set the perfect atmosphere for you to begin.

Black Walnut Extract

When it comes to maintaining a healthy diet that provides all of the nutrients that you need, nuts and seeds are some of the best food sources around. Among them, walnut perpetually ranks as one of the best nuts for improving health. Black walnut extract (in either liquid or capsule form) can be used to treat respiratory issues (coughs, asthmatic, etc.), eliminating parasites, and treating skin problems (such as eczema and psoriasis).

Bioeffectives

Produced using pine needles, bioeffectives are filled with natural ingredients (typically containing over 800 active compounds). Their health properties are extensive and diverse. They are:

  • Antimicrobial – They protect against respiratory and gastric illnesses and infections.
  • Gastrointestinal – They improve overall stomach health for a happier gut.
  • Antioxidant – They promote a better immune system and an improved overall health.

Travel Health: General Medical Items

Travel Health: The Ultimate Family Medical Kit

Travel Health: The Ultimate Family Medical Kit

The items that we discuss here we consider as the absolute must-haves – the bare necessities of travel health if you will. An element of personal preference is involved where natural remedies are concerned (and we shared ours), but this section looks at the must-have travel health items for any world traveler.

Calendula Cream

Adventure travel means continuously experiencing minor cuts, scrapes and sunburns – especially when traveling with kids. Calendula cream is an absolute must-have item for soothing these minor irritations.

Calendula cream also aids in soothing painful and unsightly rashes which are more common than you may expect while travelling – especially if you find yourselves exposed to unusual plant life or having an adverse reaction to a new food.

A Comprehensive First Aid Kit

A first aid kit is about as essential as it gets and you should ensure that it is well stocked throughout your trip and constantly carried around by one person in your family wherever you go. You can buy store bought pre-packed kits which have enough space inside that you can quickly add additional items to them.

We would recommend that your travel first aid kit contains the following:

Band aids in various sizes, gauze, sterile dressing, scissors, disposable sterile gloves, tweezers, alcohol free cleansing wipes, safety pins, tape, painkillers, thermometer (optional), antihistamines, eye wash/eye drops and insect bite treatment. We would also recommend adding your calendula cream into here.

Altitude Sickness Tablets

Whether you actually take these or not is personal preference since everyone’s body has a different tolerance and reaction to traveling at high altitudes. Some people feel perfectly fine, whereas others suffer from nausea, headaches and lightheadedness. We would recommend packing these just in case (better to be safe than sorry, right?) particularly if you are planning on hiking or exploring regions with high altitudes (i.e. mountain ranges in South America or the Himalayas) or if you are traveling with a particularly sensitive person in your party.

Imodium

Sometimes it seems that you can get sick with an upset stomach regardless of how careful you are being. Perhaps you took all of the necessary precautions – you didn’t drink the water and you avoided the street food, but you still got sick. It happens. Imodium is a godsend because it can stop the symptoms of an upset stomach fast – even after just one dose.

Benadryl

Even if you are not the type of person that typically experiences allergies, being in an unfamiliar place can expose you to plenty of new irritants (foods, plants, unknown detergents in accommodation, etc.). Benadryl is excellent as a “one size fits all” antihistamine that can quickly lessen the symptoms of allergies, pollen intolerance and cold/flu (i.e. runny noses, scratchy eyes, rashes, etc.).

Para Rid

We are crazy about para-rid because not only is it a fantastic solution for digestive issues, it is also incredibly sensitive on the tummy and therefore perfect for our kids also (anyone over the age of two can take it). Para-Rid works to settle icky stomachs and flushes out any parasites that a person may have picked up. This is especially useful when traveling since many countries do not have the same approach to food hygiene standards as that which we are used to in the western world. We love dabbling with new cuisines and experimenting with street foods, but the risks associated with this can be high.

Probiotics

While we’re on the subject of stomach health, we never forget to travel with probiotics either. The “live” bacteria contained inside helps to strengthen your stomach in its fight against parasites and infections – meaning that even if you do eat a questionable taco that you immediately regret, your stomach will be iron strong for preventing potential taco related illnesses.

Activated Charcoal Tablets

Activated charcoal tablets are lightweight and can easily be included in your first aid kit. They can effectively be used to treat food poisoning, as well as reducing any bloating or gas caused by long journeys on trains, planes, etc.

Xlear Nasal Spray

A perfect decongestant if you or someone in your group is struggling with cold/flu symptoms or just feeling a little stuffy after a long haul flight. The ingredients contained within this nasal spray are natural, and the spray is available in both an adults and children’s version, so it is suitable for the whole family to use.

Badger Bug Repellents

Insect bites and stings are the bane of many people’s lives while traveling. You go to sleep at night feeling safe and confident in the notion that you have assembled your mosquito net correctly and then you wake up to welts the size of golf balls from insect bites. Badger bug repellents prevent that from happening and help you to keep your skin intact. We love this particular treatment since it doesn’t contain DEET yet still maintains its effectiveness. (Anyone who has used solutions containing DEET will know that it is not only offensive smelling, but it can be a skin irritant to boot).

Travel Health: Medical Kit Contents

As a parting summary, our medical kit contains:

Arnica oil
Lavender Oil
Wheatgrass
Small Bottle of Coconut Oil
Vitamin D3
Magnesium
Smudge In Liquid Extract Form
Black Walnut Extract
Bioeffectives
Calendula Cream
A Comprehensive First Aid Kit
Altitude Sickness Tablets
Imodium
Benadryl
Para Rid
Probiotics
Activated Charcoal Tablets
Xlear Nasal Spray
Badger Bug Repellents
Travel Health: Parting Tips From the Andersons

The majority of items contained on this list are available for purchase over the counter at a pharmacist or health store. It’s important to note that our family medical kit and travel health advice cannot be a substitute for actual medical advice from your doctor, however, this is what we have learned to be useful from our time on the road. As a family that travels full time, we understand how frustrating it is when you realize that you’ve forgotten to pack something which is why we compiled this comprehensive guide.

FOLLOW US

facebook twittler instagran
family-img
Families
are like
Branches
on a Tree
we grow in different directions yet
our roots remain as one.