International travel with kids can be scary. We trot the world with our two and I would be lying if I said that I never worry.

While my overarching emotions on the road are thrill and excitement, I always have a voice in the back of my head that tells me ‘be careful!’ and suggests to me worrying scenarios. What if you get sick on the road? Would you know what to do, where to get help, how to react?

I don’t like to dwell into negative scenarios but anxiety has its purpose and being prepared for unexpected events is important before embarking on any adventure. I joke now (it wasn’t that funny at the time) that we have been sick on each of  the 3 continents we visited and this has taught me something.

While you can never be prepared for everything life may throw at you, there are some simple things you can do to cope with the unexpected, and a well thought out first aid kit is one of them!

The first emergency-kit we aver bought was a pre-made one. It was small enough but served us well and we still use it now that we have kids.

Before we travel, we restock it with essentials and this helps us feeling somewhat prepared and keep costs down: you don’t need a super fancy kit to travel, just one with the right things!

Our is usually stocked with:

Prescriptions and Jabs

    • Prescription medicines you usually take, together with the original prescription (get it translated if needed) and the generic name of the medicine, should you restock while abroad. If you travel with a medical condition, make sure you talk to your medical  travel insurance provider before your trip and bring your health insurance cars and copied of claim forms with you
    • Special prescriptions for the trip such as anti-malaria tablets
    • DEET insect repellent
    • Vaccination booklet with relevant jabs, if needed
    • Sunscreen with UVA  and UVB protection
    • Water purification tablets if needed

Over the counter medications

      • Anti-diarrhea tablets
      •  Antihistamine creams and oral solution
      • Eye drops for adults and kids
      • Ear drops for adults and kids
      • Anti-motion sickness medication
      • Pain / temperature relief (paracetamol / ibuprofen etc) for adults and kids
      • Medicine for pain or fever (such as acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen)
      • Mild laxative
      • Antibacterial cream
      • Burns ointment such as aloe vera
      • Oral re-hydration solution packets

First-aid and wound dressing essentials

      • Antibacterial hand wipes or alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol
      • First aid quick reference card
      • Basic first-aid items (bandages, gauze, ace bandage, antiseptic, tweezers, scissors, cotton-tipped applicators)
      • Blister plasters
      • Aloe gel for sunburns
      • Digital thermometer

Having this type of kit with us always helps to keep at bay my anxiety.

As an extra precaution, I also always study availability of health care at our destination and proximity (and quality!) of local hospitals: I used to laugh at myself thinking I was being excessive but after a late night run to Lisbon hospital, is one of the first things I do when planning a trip! One day, I’ll share that story too…

Is there anything you always carry with you to feel prepared? What is it?


Scared about your first international trip with kids? Talk to us! Check out how to guides or get in touch: if we can, we’ll be happy to help!


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