A first aid kit is an essential when traveling, no matter where you’re going. You can buy a pre-made kit, but it’s simple to make your own too. Your first aid kit list should include basics like bandages, gauze, and antiseptic cream, plus things like pain and stomach medication.
You might think you only need a first aid kit if you’re heading on a rugged backpacking adventure, but that’s not the case. It’s easy to get blisters after a day of walking around a new city, and accidents happen all the time in every area.
This first aid kit list helps you pack a bag that’s small enough to carry anywhere, but functional enough for most minor injuries. Of course, if you suffer a major injury while traveling you should seek medical attention immediately, but hopefully having things like antiseptic and wrap bandages will help you hold off extra injury or pain until you can find a hospital or medical help arrives.
Many items on this first aid kit list come with more than you will need for one trip. This makes it easy to stock up at home before each trip, and not have to constantly be going to the store or ordering more supplies. Here are our 10 first aid kit list essentials for any trip:
1. Multiple Sizes of Bandages
A selection of bandages is one of the most obvious items on any first aid kit list, and also one of the most important. Adhesive bandages help protect cuts, scrapes, burns, blisters, and more.
Opt for a variety of sizes, like this multi-sized pack of 305 (you don’t have to pack all of them in your first aid kit at once, though). If you’re doing a lot of active travel it’s a good idea to pack a few that are specifically meant for foot blisters.
This pack of bandages comes with 100 large, 75 medium, 65 small bandages, and 65 circular bandages. They’re made from a cotton and spandex blend that stretches with your body and allows skin to breathe. Each one is lined with a sterile gauze patch and sticker adhesion.
Users say they are comfortable and flexible, though they wished they could order certain sizes separately. They are not guaranteed to be latex free, which is something to keep in mind if you have an allergy.
2. NexSkin Bandages
This cotton and elastic stretch bandage is for when you have something that smaller adhesive bandages can’t cover. It will help keep a wound clean and put pressure on it until you can seek medical attention.
The NexSkin bandage stretches up to 15-feet long, and comes in a one, two, or three pack. These bandages are used in emergencies and as a placeholder until you can seek medical help, so you only need one or two on your first aid kit list.
The bandage uses a hook loop closure, so you don’t have to worry about tape. It’s washable and reusable, and latex free. Aside from covering cuts, it can be used to stabilize sprains and other aches.
Users liked that the bandage is able to be secured without tape, and said it was high quality, supportive, and comfortable.
3. Sterile Gauze Pads
No First aid kit list is complete without sterile gauze pads. They’re used to apply pressure and stop bleeding, clean and sterilize wounds before putting on bandages, clean up blood, apply medication, and more.
This 50-pack from Band-Aid uses low-lint fabric, so wounds stay even cleaner. The 4 x 4 inch sponges are small enough to pack in any first aid kit, but large enough to treat most travel injuries. Use one to clean the wound and apply pressure, and another to apply ointment or medication.
Users liked that they were affordable, easily portable, and functional. The low-lint material was a plus, and people added that the plush fabric was soft on cuts, allowing for more delicate care.
4. Waterproof Surgical Tape
This essential first aid kit list item helps you secure bandages in place, tape up wounds, hold extra gauze in place, and more. You probably won’t use it often, but when you need it, you’ll really need it. This 1.6 ounce roll is light enough to carry around even if you never use it, but enough to help you out when you need it.
The surgical tape is latex free and waterproof, so it will stay on through rain, or if you’re kayaking or doing other outdoor water activities on your trip. “As far as flexibility, adhesion, and waterproofness, this tape is quite incredible,” said one user. The only complaint was that is is not very breathable.
5. Antiseptic Wipes
Antiseptic wipes go hand in hand with gauze in your first aid kit. Both serve a similar purpose–to clean cuts–but are different. Where gauze can also be used to apply medication, antiseptic is mainly used for cleaning wounds.
These wipes help clean blood, wipe off dirt, and get rid of bacteria on wounds before applying bandages. They can also be used as hand wipes if you don’t have soap and water. The main purpose is to prevent infection anywhere on the body.
These extra large wipes come 20 to a box, though there is a 100 pack option as well. They’re individually wrapped, so you can pack only as many as you think you’ll need for a trip. They’re an “Amazon’s Choice” product, and users rave about them, especially for the low price.
6. First Aid Kit Scissors
A small pair of scissors should be on your first aid kit list to help cut bandages or gauze to the correct size. These are stainless steel, professional quality scissors.
Users said the scissors worked well for bandages, and liked that they’re very small and didn’t take up much room in the first aid kit. However, because they are so small they have a hard time cutting thick gauze. Small gauze patches are fine, but not thick padding.
For their size and price, the scissors are sharp and have good alignment. They can double as tweezers to a point, though if you have room packing a separate pair of tweezers is a good idea too.
7. Neosporin 24-Hour Infection Protection
Carry an antibacterial ointment or cream like Neosporin to put on any cuts or scrapes. Not only does it provide 24-hour protection from infection with neomycin sulfate, bacitracin zinc, and polymixin B, but it also helps cuts heal faster. Plus, it prevents scarring.
Neosporin has patented technology that helps your skin look visibly healthier after an injury. Dab it on with a clean finger or with your gauze after cleansing and before a bandage. The tube is 0.5 ounces, so it’s easy to pack. Though it’s small, a tiny bit is all you need, so it lasts a long time.
Users love Neosporin, using it not only in their first aid kit when traveling, but also around the house. This one has a fine tip, so it’s easy to apply even if you don’t have gauze.
8. Individual Pain Medication Tablets
Pain medication like Advil helps with headache, aches, fever, and more. Add these individual packets to your first aid kit list, as they’re easier to travel with. The box comes with a pack of 50 (with two tablets each) so you can bring only as many as you need per trip.
Whether your muscles ache from a day of walking, you have a fever or headache from travel or weather changes, or other pains from injuries incurred on the road, a standard pain medication can provide temporary relief.
Advil, which is a brand using the medicine ibuprofen, has been a trusted brand for over 30 years. Users rely on it because it’s trusted, and liked the individual packet sizes for travel.
9. Stomach Medication
Stomach troubles while traveling are the worst. Sometimes your body can’t handle new foods and reacts in a way that makes you uncomfortable. Other times you actually get food poisoning. Whatever the issue, it’s not fun, but Imodium or another brand using the medicine loperamide can help.
These multi-symptom caplets relieve cramps, pressure, bloating, gas, and diarrhea. While they are not an antibiotic and cannot cure a stomach infection, they can provide relief to many other stomach symptoms.
Spicy foods, foods you’ve never eaten or haven’t had in awhile, too much pasta, cheese, or ice cream…there are numerous (often delicious) opportunities while traveling to eat something that could upset your stomach. One user said this worked “every time, and pretty quickly too.”
10. Allergy Medication
Even if you don’t have allergies at home, it’s a good idea to add an antihistamine like Zyrtec to your travel first aid kit list. Often there are different plants or other irritants in other countries or cities. Sometimes you might not even know you’re allergic to something until you’re confronted with it. This happened to me in Iceland, where a type of tree grows that I had never encountered anywhere else.
Hotels or other lodging options could also be dusty or use detergents or cleaners you’re allergic to. Stay on the safe side and pack some fast-acting, 24-hour allergy medication tablets.
These help relieve itching, watery eyes, coughing, sneezing, runny nose, and sore throat. Users thought the gel pills were easy to swallow, and they were fast acting.