“You need more than that!”
My sister looked at me despairingly as I showed her the contents of the small plastic food container I now called my first aid kit.
“What about the latex gloves? You’ll need syringes. Oh, and don’t forget a bandage or two. Stay there, I’ll be right back…”
A few minutes later I pushed the pile of medical supplies to one side. “Sis, I know you’re a paramedic and all, but seriously? I’m not taking all this shit with me!”
Having carted armfuls of medicine around the world with me in the past – all of which eventually expired without seeing the light of day – I had decided on one simple rule for the upcoming trip.
Less is more.
I regularly get asked by people planning a trip what they should take in the way of medicines and a first aid kit. Other than the everyday items like sun screen and insect repellent, everything I list below fits into a box six inches square and two inches high. As far as travel first aid kits go it is basic, but has been sufficient to deal with all of the minor sicknesses and scrapes of several months on the road. So here goes:
I also carry a basic Leatherman tool with pliers, blade, can and bottle opener etc, as well as a few miscellaneous rubber bands and safety pins.
You’ll probably notice a few things that aren’t on the list as well.
Obviously I’m a guy, so in the interests of editorial integrity I asked renowned hypochondriac Lauren for a female perspective. Surprisingly the two lists were remarkably similar, with only a few additions:
So that’s it. Unless I’m going to particularly remote, dangerous or high-risk disease areas, this kit will cover me for the basic health issues that I’m likely to face as a traveller. For anything more serious there are hospitals and travel insurance, and I don’t have to use half my baggage allowance carrying round a small pharmacy.
What does your travel first aid kit look like? More stuff? Less? Nothing at all?