How to pack a medicine kit for travel

Think about how many times in a week you need to grab something out of your medicine cabinet for you or your kids. Even something small like vitamins, headache relief, or lip balm. Now times that number by at least five because we all know that if you are going to need something from your cabinet, it will most likely happen while you are on vacation — Murphy’s Law and all.

How to pack a medicine kit for travel. Things to consider, tips and ideas for a stress-free time with your family. Photo credit: Buntes Handtuch mit Muschel on Fotolia

Packing a medicine kit is easy enough if you consider these things before getting started.

TIP: Even while on vacation, kids are curious. Keep your kit out of reach or locked in your suitcase when not in use.

How to pack a medicine kit for travel


Where are you going? What is the temperature like? Are there bugs? Are you likely to suffer from too much sun, heat, cold, humidity, or dryness? Then consider what you would need to make yourself and your family comfortable while you are on vacation. Lip balm, sunscreen, hydrating lotion, Tylenol (and kids Tylenol), cough candies, etc.

Also consider if anyone in your family has any issues that arise in different climates. Rosacea, Eczema, and a whole list of conditions can flare up when it gets more humid or dry, and vacation time is the worst time to experience your symptoms, especially when you’ve left everything you need thousands of miles away.


Do you have someone in your family who gets car sick? Will you be going on a tour by vehicle or taking a bus to the hotel after a long flight? Our youngest has a time limit on vehicle travel, so we are always carrying kids gravol in liquid form. 

Think about all of the activities you want to do individually and as a family and consider what might be needed.


These are hard to find if you need them, so review your last few months worth of prescriptions to determine if your initial issues are gone or if they are ongoing. If you have time, make a doctor’s appointment to get any refills you may need.

Inform your doctor where you are going and ask if there is anything that they think you may need. It’s not pretty, but Traveler’s Diarrhea can happen in many sun destinations and your doctor can prescribe something to take with you in case you need it.

You may not need them at all, but having your prescriptions on hand already will save you at least half a day with the doctor, and running around for medicine. You can also save yourself some additional charges and hassles.

Individual Issues

Go through each one in your family and write out any problems that each have, no matter how small. Then pack for those issues that would really make you (or them) uncomfortable. Some items can stay at home, but others may need to find a spot in your travel kit.

One of our daughters has very mild asthma so we bring her inhaler. It is rare that she needs it, but do I really want to be without it in case it does happen?

Travel delays

This is something to consider for your items that your family absolutely needs on a daily basis. Many medications recommend that you not miss a day, so a hurricane or poor weather could leave you stranded, or diverted to another city.

In this situation, make sure you are traveling with your needed medications on your person as luggage is more likely to be routed to a different city or temporarily lost. The stress of changed plans would be made ten times worse if you didn’t have your necessities to keep your family healthy.

The easy stuff

Many people think, if my kids cut something, we can just go to the onsite doctor. The point of our vacation is to spend as little time as possible doing our everyday things. There could be a lineup or an emergency that the doctor is attending to. Keeping your own medical kit will only cost the time spent to run back to the room, clean up the scrape, put on a band-aid and fix it with a kiss. Then back to building castles in the sand and making memories as a family.

Some kids also dislike the doctor, so spending unnecessary time in their office has just ruined a part of their vacation.

Packing your kit

Your kit will fit nicely in your suitcase since a lot of what you will bring may be in liquid form.

If you are traveling with anything that may be essential (eg. it would be very detrimental if left behind), then you should bring it with you in a carry-on. Be aware of restrictions on how much liquid each person can bring on board and contact your airline ahead of time if you have any issues.

Your kit should be fairly water resistant, especially in more humid climates, and should close firmly. Having a clasp to keep it shut is ideal as luggage gets tossed around and no one wants to sort all of that. I use the Sterilite storage bin.

Make a list of all of the items that you want to fit in before you buy your carry case as you will need to have a good idea of the size.

If some items, such as vitamins take up too much space, you can take what you need from the original package and put them in clearly marked plastic bags. Count out what you will need for your time away and leave the extras at home. Prescriptions should be kept with their bottle in case any issues arise while on holidays (doctors will need to know what medication you were on).

Suggested items for your travel medical kit

These are general, non-prescribed items that you can also consider:

  • Bandaids
  • Vitamins
  • Gravol (adults / kids)
  • Tylenol (adults / kids)
  • Lip balm
  • Cough candies
  • Tensor bandage
  • Polysporin (adults / kids)
  • Anti-septic wipes / lotion (great to put on your own hands before you treat a cut on your child)
  • Cooling pad (you can find travel sized ones that cool when bent, etc)

You can also access a fabulous list of additional products you should consider at the London Drugs Travel Clinic website. I need to share one of their fabulous tips here, but I recommend reviewing their travel site to get as much information as possible at I am using this as a reference for our travel in a couple of weeks.

Travel tip (courtesy of London Drugs): Write down the names of your prescription medication, and put it in your travel kit in case you misplace or run out of your medication during your trip. You may also want to include necessary doctor phone numbers.

Looking for more peace of mind? London Drugs also runs onsite travel and immunization clinics at some locations. You can book an appointment online to speak with a member of the pharmacy team. Click on the location closest to you in Alberta or BC at For my friends in Edmonton, we have two clinics listed, so you are covered. Check it out.

 Disclosure: I am proud to work with London Drugs as their ambassador. Opinions are my own.

Found in Travel