Friday, February 28, 2014

DIY First Aid Travel Kit

I try really hard to not pack absolutely everything, but I also believe in being prepared.  With the weather getting warmer here, I just overhauled my at-home first aid kit - checking for expired product and making sure I'm not running out of anything.  This time around I had to pick up bandages, sterile gauze pads, antiobiotic ointment (Neosporin), gauze tape and Mylanta (always a part of my kit).  It also put me in mind to create my own first aid kit for travel.

While I've always brought a few things with me, I've never really sat down to figure out what I should be taking.  Obviously, I won't have room for a complete kit, but I can take the basics with me for planes, trains and (road trips in) automobiles.  Here is what I put in my kit and why:

Neo To Go spray protects against infection with a bit of pain relief.  It doesn't sting or require touching the wound.  And while it does have to go in my TSA baggie, I have plenty of room for it thanks to my obsession with solid products.  A couple of antiseptic wipes go into the kit because sometimes you need to clean up a bit.  I also pack a travel sized tube of Neo To Go ointment in my checked bag if I'm going to have scrapes from my adventures to treat while on the road (as it were).  Or...because I'm paranoid.


While my prescriptions have to travel in their pharmacy bottles (when you go through customs, this makes life easier), I use teensy Ezy-Dose disposable pill pouches to carry a few Aleve, Aspirin and Excedrin Migraine in my kit.  This way I can carefully label them and they don't take up much room.
For blister prevention, I have a few squares of Moleskin and Julep Doublestep Foot Treatment Stick (Band-Aid makes something similar) in my checked bag, but that's more about prevention.  For treating a blister on the go, I always keep a few Band-Aid Activ-Flex bandages on me. They're thin, flexible and waterproof. 

I also take a couple each of various bandages for knuckles, toes, fingers, etcetera, in addition to your basic small, medium and large sizes.  And I only get the sheer, waterproof kind.

In my on-plane beauty kit, I always carry a few things to hydrate and soothe, but you may choose to put them in your First Aid Kit instead.

My favorite eye drops are by Rohto.  Amazon doesn't have the ones I got, but your local drugstore probably will.  The key is to find eye drops that will hydrate and little else.

I recently tried saline nasal gel to prevent dryness and really liked the one I picked up by Ayr, since it has aloe in it.  I've read some frequent travelers' raves about lining the inside of their nose with this kind of gel for hydration (which, in turn, is said to help prevent catching something on the plane).  Make sure to bring a few cotton swabs for application.

While you can't pack for all possible accidents, you should pack for the kind of adventures you have  planned.  If you think a pack of steri-strips are a wise investment, then those should be in your kit.  If you're like my dad and think sticking nasal gel into that particular cavity is just plain weird, then consider investing in a spray.  No matter what you bring, make sure it's only enough to fill a quart size bag.  That way you won't overpack and regret the loss of space.

With a bevy of bandages, wipes and packets of ointment, the Coleman All Purpose First Aid Tin is great for road trips, camping and hiking, as well as kind of adorable.  However, you'd have to remove the safety pins and razors for a plane trip.  Either way, I honestly think it's better to raid your own at-home kit and create a travel version tailored to your needs.  Will you be walking a lot?  Hiking?  Likely to get bitten by bugs?  Think ahead and plan accordingly.

In other news, I've just realized that my quart-size, TSA-approved bag o' liquids will only contain 4 things: travel antiseptic spray, nasal gel, eye drops and my greatest savior: a small spritzer of toner water to rehydrate my skin.  That's not enough to fill the bag, so I'm pretty pleased!

And now for you guys - do you bring a first aid kit with you when you travel?  Is it a pre-made one or DIY?  What do you make sure always goes in it?

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