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HOW TO MAKE THE ULTIMATE DIY FIRST AID BAG FOR FAMILIES

INSIDE: The ULTIMATE GUIDE of the things you MUST pack in your Family Travel First Aid Bag. 

After I experienced the most revolting Bali Belly poo horror of a day when vacationing in Bali, with the kids in tow, we NEVER EVER leave home without our First Aid Bag, and a roll of toilet paper.

That experience is forever seared in my memory, and I carry war wounds.

Our first aid kit supplies are stored in a medium-sized travel cube bag.

(We bought our travel cube from Kathmandu. Find similar packing cubes suggestions below.)

Our destination is the thing that determines what first aid supplies are necessary for each trip. 

We pick and choose from THIS huge list of First Aid solutions below. 

You can mix and match according to your needs too.

Take a look. 

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links, we may receive a small commission at NO extra cost to you.

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The Ultimate First Aid Bag Supplies List

First up, how to store your kit.

The best thing about using a travel cube is the see-through netting on the front face.

It makes things so easy to see, we can spot what we need before the bag is even opened.

This one is small enough to carry, but big enough for most emergencies.

Our emergency medical first aid bag is small enough to fit in the base of our day pack when we are travelling in Asia.

It comes EVERYWHERE with us, as first priority.

It goes in first, before the snacks, and water bottles.

When we are on a road trip in our own car, or a hire car, we keep the first aid bag kit in the boot of the vehicle out of reach of inquisitive kids, but close enough to hand to get it quickly when we need it.

People often ask me:

  • what’s in a first aid bag, or
  • what should be included in a car first aid kit, or
  • what should you ALWAYS have in your first aid box,

so I wrote a big list.

(It’s just one of our tried and tested travel tips from our years of travel with kids)

Where to buy first aid bag that is ready made for you? 

Are you wondering “where to buy first aid bag” that’s readymade, instead of going DIY?

Here’s a link to the best first aid bag we recommend if you want to go this way.

(This one is in a soft first aid bag)

Image credit: Hans Braxmeier via Pixabay

Travel First Aid Kit Checklist

Emergency Medication Only

Here’s the thing, we hardly ever take any medication at home EVER.

I’ll suffer through a headache, or period pain rather than put a chemical in my body.

My first option is always homeopathics, and I’ll try this first.

If the pain is excruciating, doesn’t abate with the usual self care methods (such as rest, heat packs, or a nap) or I have to work to a deadline, I may then seek help with a medication. 

Nor do we often use medication on our travels, or road trips, or camping weekends away either. (Touch wood.)

BUT I’ve learned from experience that if I don’t have it with me, I’m going to need it.

So I don’t risk it.

Not with kids.

I take a good supply of first aid items with me, just in case. 

The trick is to make sure everything is up to date before you go.

I put 6 monthly reminders in my diary to do a seasonal check on the kits. (just like I do for my kids regular dental appointments.)

Most importantly, it’s empowering to be able to help yourself with basic first aid, and hopefully prevent a doctor’s visit in a foreign country, especially in Asia, India, or the like.

READ MORE: Our Trusty Guide to Packing a First Aid Kit especially for Bali. 

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Travel First Aid Kit Essentials to Know

Correct at time of publication on Roam the Gnome. Please check with venue for updates. We apologise in advance if there have been any changes we are unaware of. All prices in US dollars, unless otherwise stated

Here’s a list of all the things we keep in the first aid bag.

I’ve organised it in groups of similar products, so you can edit the list as you see fit, depending on your family travel needs, and where you are going.

I’ve included things you need in a toddler first aid kit travel pack, a baby travel medicine kit, and an international travel first aid kid. 

You’ll need to pack certain medications for places like southeast Asia or India (for example, first aid for belly upsets) where you might not be able to find a doctor open until the morning.

But when you are traveling in western countries or cities where a pharmacy or hospital is readily accessible, and you can read the language, your first aid kit will be fairly minimal. 

Start with an empty first aid bag, then pick and choose!

PS: You can also fill a first aid box with these first aid supplies to make a basic first aid kit for:

  • home (for babies, toddlers and kids)
  • school
  • camping and caravanning trips
  • RV trips and adventures
  • fishing expeditions
  • hiking and bushwalking, and
  • community groups events.

You can also start off with a readymade first aid kit, and add to it.

Disclaimer:

I am not a doctor and I do not have a degree or expertise in medicine. I am providing the aforementioned and forthcoming information based on:

  • our extensive travel experience, AND
  • discussions with local doctors for our own purposes.

Please do your own due diligence when making your own small first aid bag, and seek medical advice as required before you leave. 

Image credit: Elizabeth Albert via Flickr CC by 2.0

TRAVEL FIRST AID KIT CONTENTS

Wondering what to put in a travel first aid kit?

Here’s a comprehensive list of 68 things you could include in a large first aid bag for all kinds of first aid situations on a trip.

Basic First Aid Kit supplies – Bandages and Bandaids

All the gear and everything you need for wound care in your medical aid bag.

No.1.  Bandaids

Add fabric ban, waterproof bandaids, and regular plastic bandaids too.

We also pop one pack of kids bandaids in there for good measure. It’s amazing what a picture of a superhero can do! 

Butterfly bandaids for wound closures are a good idea too.

No.2. Compression Bandages 

 Compression bandages for snake bites and bleeds  (More than one if we are travelling and bush walking in Australia)

No. 3: Triangular bandages

Triangular bandages for dressings for broken bones and sprains  (ditto above)

No.4:  Gauze pads

Extra padding for wounds, or to clean up injuries

No.5: Elastoplast bandage

Elastoplast bandage is the one you can cut to size.

Add it to your equipment. 

6.  Pair of scissors

A sharp pair of first aid scissors can be used to:

  • cut bandages to size
  • dig out splinters in the event there’s no other suitable tool 
  • cut t shirt material into strips, and
  • to open packages. 

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First Aid supplies for Cuts, Scrapes and Bumps

Pop these items in your first aid medical bag too.

No.7: Disposable cold packs 

Grab some of the disposable instant cold packs, the ones you snap to make it cold.

No.8: Antiseptic wipes 

Antiseptic alcohol wipes are essential to clean out the nasties

No.9: Antiseptic ointment

Add Savlon antiseptic cream, a bottle of Betadine liquid antiseptic iodine or a bottle of Dettol to keep the nasties out.

No.10 Antiseptic spray

Rapaid First Aid Spray Antiseptic with Tea Tree Oil is soothing for cuts and bites.

No.11: Teatree Oil

One of our essentials in the first aid kit isThursday Plantation Teatree oil for antiseptic back up

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Basic First Aid for Ticks

Jack’s reactions to tick bites are getting worse, so now we always carry these things with us.

No.12: A bottle of antihistamine

Essential for tick bite emergencies where someone begins to swell unexpectedly after a bite,  due to hives, or extreme allergic reactions. 

See #25 for more information. 

No.13: A homeopathic first aid kit for ticks

First aid homeopathic kit should include at the very least:

  • Arnica for swelling and trauma from bite
  • Apis for localised swelling, redness and stinging
  • Ledum for localised itching and tenderness
  • Ixodes for headache and general response to tick bit, and
  • Dragon’s blood to soothe itching. 

(We bought ours from Mullum Herbals in Mullumbimby, near Byron Bay)

No.14: A tube of Lyclear scabies cream.

The most recent advice in Australia for removing ticks in young children is to smother the tick in Lyclear scabies cream for a few minutes to suffocate them, before removing the tick carefully with tweezers.

The key to success is being sure to get the head out.

No.15: Wart Off Freeze Spray

(Note: For older kids over 8 who can sit still during the process, and adults only).

The latest advice from the Australian Government for tick removal on adults and older kids is to kill the tick by spraying it with a product that contains ether, such as Wart off freeze spray, Aerostart, or Elastoplast cold spray.

Then using fine tipped forceps (not household tweezers) grab the tick as close to the skin as possible, and pull it upwards using steady pressure.

Do not jerk or twist the tick as this may inadvertently force tick poison into the person’s body.

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Prevention & First Aid for Bites and Stings

No. 16: Insect repellent

 THIS ONE is our go-to brand

No. 17: Mosquito Patches

Buy mosquito patches made from natural citronella to apply to clothes and hats of both kids and adults. 

Mosquito stickers are also good to put on your pillow, and the kid’s pillows to keep the mossies away from your face when you sleep. 

No.18: Mosquito Bands

Mosquito Bands (also called mosquito bracelets) are another popular choice for avoiding mosquito bites, especially in tropical parts of the world such as Northern Australia eg Darwin, Broome & north of Cairns, Indonesia, Asia, India and South America. 

Try these stretchy coil ones with natural plant based ingredients of citronella, lemongrass oil, and geranoil. DEET free. 

You can also check out these itchless mosquito bracelets made from a soft fiber material, by Itchless 

No.19: Para’kito Mosquito repellent bands 

If you want a natural product rather than chemicals, take Para’kito Mosquito wristband bracelets and clips for clothes and bags. We’ve used these in Bali the last few trips, as a back up measure. They help, especially at dusk and dawn, or rainforest areas.

No.20: Stingose spray or gel

Pack Stingose spray or gel pain relief for bites and stings.

This is a MUST HAVE.

It’s the number one treatment for bites and stings in Australia to reduce pain, itch and swelling.

We don’t go ANYWHERE without it. We also keep a tube in the car in case of green ant bites at our local football field. 

No.21: Bactroban ointment (or similar)

Bactroban ointment is an antibiotic that prevents bacteria from growing on your skin.  It needs to be kept cool.

This may have different names, depending on where you live, or travel.

No.22: Calamine Lotion  

Calamine Lotion is the best treatment to calm the skin and stop itching from mozzie bites, chicken pox, or similar. 

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Travel 1st Aid Kit for Asthma and Allergies

No.23:  Ventolin inhaler

We always carry a few ventolin inhalers with us .

  • one goes in my handbag
  •  another in our daypack
  • one in my carry on, and
  • one in Neds. 

This medicine is essential for asthma sufferers, as well as those with allergies or illnesses that may affect breathing or the lungs. 

See your doctor before buying or taking any medication to ensure there are no contraindications. 

No.24: Ventolin spacer 

The current advice is that using a Ventolin spacer with a puffer makes it easier to both take  the medicine and get more of the medicine into the lungs so that it works more effectively.

No.25:  Antihistamine tablets 

Antihistamine  comes in tablets for adults, and liquid for kids.

These medications relieve and reduce symptoms associated with:

  • allergic rhinitis (including hayfever), such as sneezing, runny or itchy nose,
  • burning or itchy eyes for allergic reactions 
  • skin swelling reactions to beestings and other bites
  • other unexpected swelling in the body in reaction to a foreign invader (food, bites etc) 

Antihistamines for Adults:

  • Telfast
  • Zyrtec, or
  • Claratyne/Claritin (Loratadine) for adults

Antihistamines for Children: 

  • Phernagan or
  • Benadryl for kids

Image credit: James_Seattle via Flickr CC by 2.0

Eye Health & First Aid for Eye Injuries or Infections

No.26: Contact lenses and glasses

Don’t forget these. 

  • Contact lenses and solution
  • Prescription glasses and cleaning cloth

No.27:  Eye ointment for conjunctivitis. 

We called for a doctor visit to our hotel last Bali trip, as Jack’s eye filled with pus after days and days of swimming in the hotel pool.

You guessed it.

Conjunctivitis. 

Antibiotic cream prescribed by a doctor is the quickest way to clear it up so you don’t risk the infection worsening.

You may be able to purchase this over the counter for emergencies.

Add it to your kit. 

No. 28.  Saline, and an eye cup

You never know when a flying stick is coming your way!

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First Aid Supplies for Vomiting & Dehydration

No. 29: Air sickness bags  (Vomit bags) 

We ‘borrow’ one or two new motion sickness bags from every flight we take, and add them to our kit.

We’ve also added a small supply of eco-friendly plastic bags on a roll that can be reimagined to be a sickness bag in a vomiting emergency. 

We also use these eco plastic bags:

  • to keep our rubbish together on the plane
  • to pick up roadside trash when we are out exploring in a new town
  • to keep our clothes dry inside a day pack or back pack in heavy rain, or, as
  • a rain poncho at Disneyland when there’s no alternative

No. 30: Hydralite Electrolyte oral rehydration supplements (in tablet form)

Hydralyte tablets are the best way to rehydrate after a vomiting or diarrhea bug. 

It’s not a bad idea to carry a few licorice, peppermint or camomile teabags in your day pack to help too.

Sometimes, a herbal tea is the only thing I can drink when I feel nauseas.

Image credit: Pixabay

First Aid for nausea, car sickness, seasickness

No.31: Natural anti-nausea medication

Blackmores Travel Calm ginger tablets are a good option for seasickness prevention, and cure. 

In fact, any ginger tablets may help. 

No.32: Sea-bands

Try seaband accupressure wristbands for travel sickness.

These work by pushing on pressure points on the wrists, and are a proven natural remedy for motion sickness. 

(They are also helpful to combat morning sickness nausea)

Try:

  • Travacalm travel bands, or
  • the original, Sea-Band Australia. 

No.33: Travacalm chewable tablets

Travacalm is a medication containing:

  • dimenhydrinate antihistamine that has an anti-vomiting effect
  • hyoscine hydrobromide which is a anticholinergic drug that blocks the neurotransmitter or chemical messenger that affects how your body functions,
  • and caffeine.

Travacalm is used to treat travel sickness but is indicated for adult use only.

Ginger tea bags or ginger lollies (such as chewy Budermin ginger bears, or Gin-Gins chewy ginger candy) can be helpful in combating travel sickness too. 

Image credit: Sofie Zborilova via Pixabay

First Aid for Tummy Upsets

Calm, quiet and rest is the key to managing stomach pain and illnesses such as diarrhoea or cramping.

This is when we retreat to the hotel room, put on the tv or get out the devices, and lay low for a while.

No.34:  Charcoal tablets

Activated charcoal tablets are sometimes used to treat stomach pains from gas, diarrhea, or other abdominal issues resulting from eating food that you aren’t used to, or mild food poisoning from contaminated food.

Seek advice before taking any medication or adding it to your first aid bag. 

No. 35: Travelan 

Travelan diarrhoea prevention tablets (not suitable for children under 6) are clinically proven to help reduce the risk of getting Travellers’ Diarrhoea by up to 90%.

This product is high in antibodies designed to target and neutralise bacteria before they can make you sick.

Travelan must be consumed before a meal. 

No.36: Antacids

Antacids are helpful for indigestion, flatulence, wind pain, and heartburn (eg Mylanta or Gaviscon)

No.37: Anti-vomiting medicine

I carry anti-vomiting medication just in case I’m struck down.  There’s nothing worse than being on your own with kids, when the vomiting starts (and stops, and starts again)  

NB: Adults use only. See your doctor or chemist for advice. 

No. 38: Anti-diarrhea medication

Gastrostop, Lomotil or Imodium for diarrhoea is another necessity. 

NB: Adults use only. See your doctor or chemist for advice. 

Image credit: Darren Foreman via Flickr CC by 2.0

In case of a poo emergency!

Don’t get stuck in a pickle like I did.

Tissues or toilet paper is a MUST have item.

No.39: Tissues & toilet roll 

Throw in an emergency box or small pack of tissues AND a roll of toilet paper.

No.40: Disposable gloves

A few pairs of disposable gloves will not go astray.

Thank me later!


Image Credit: Roger Williams via Flickr CC By SA 2.0

First Aid for Toothache and Mouth Ulcers

No.41: Toothache gel 

Bonjela pain relief gel can be helpful for toddlers, preschoolers and adults too. 

No.42:  Oil of Cloves

Oil of cloves is an old remedy for toothache.

Put a drop on a cotton bud, and dab on the tooth.

Or you can chew cloves. Buy them from the spice aisle in the grocery store. 

Ask your chemist for advice first. 

pain relief

Pain Relief for Headaches, Joint pain, Sore back, Injury & Flu

Always follow dosage instructions, know the child’s correct weight, and use the dose measurement tool that comes with the medicine.

Don’t give cough or cold medicines to children under 4, or aspirin to children under 18.

No.43:  Pain relief tablets

Pain tablets for adults to deal with headaches, pain, injury eg Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Panadol

No.44:  Pain relief for children

Tylenol, Advil Junior, Motrin, or Ibuprofen are common brands.

Choose either suspension liquids or chewables. 

If you have any concerns, call the doctor as your first priority. 

In Australia, the common brands of pain relief for kids is either Panadol or Nurofen for kids.

No.45: A bottle of Eucalyptus Oil.

A drop on a handkerchief or in a bowl of hot water can be helpful for sniffles, colds, flu etc

No.46: A bottle of Lavender oil 

Lavender is a good remedy for headaches. Put a drop on your temples, close your eyes, and rub it in.

No.47:  Ural sachets (adults only) 

Ural provides effective relief from Cystitis and UTI symptoms

No. 48.  Tissue salts/ Cell salts

We never leave home without Magnesium Phos for restless legs, aches and pains. 

No.49 Cold and flu medicines 

If you are worries about catching the flu, and finding a good relief medication in a foreign country, put your regular Cold and flu medication, if you use it, into your kit.

Remember to take a letter from the doctor for any kind of medication, including prescription medication and over the counter medication, as some countries have strict restrictions on what medicines you can legally take in and out of their country.

Don’t risk a fine, or worse. 

Homeopathic First aid kit for children

No.50: Homeopathic First Aid Kit

Must have’s include:

  • apis for bites
  • arnica for bruises, and
  • nux vom for vomiting

Make up your own natural first aid kit for travel using this list too.

Image credit: Cristian Ungureanu via Flickr Public Domain

Holiday first aid kit – Sun Protection & First Aid for Sunburn

No.51: Sunscreen options

If you are going on a beach vacation, or any summertime adventures, take a combination of sunscreen, natural sunscreen, and skin protection.

Make sure it’s:

  • Broad-spectrum protection (protects against UVA and UVB rays)
  • SPF 30 or higher
  • Water resistant

I love the Australian adage “Slip, Slop, Slap”

Slip on a shirt, slop on some sunscreen, slap on a hat. You can’t forget it! 

PS: Take sunglasses too. 

No.52: After sun lotion

 A bottle or tube of After sun gel or Aloe Vera is useful for sunburnt skin after a big day in the sun, ocean, or swimming pool. 

dettol-and-hand-sanitiser-pic-1

Kids first aid kit checklist- Sanitisation

I never use sanitisation gel at home.

It’s washing hands with soap all the way.

BUT when traveling, I take extra precautions with both my kids and I, for my own sanity.

I don’t want to be dealing with explosive poo, and vomiting (especially other people’s) unless I absolutely have to!

No.53: Antibacterial wipes

No.54: Hand sanitiser

No.55: Wet wipes

Wet wipes should be in your top 3 things to pack in a first aid kit. 

We no longer go anywhere without a pack of wet wipes, even though the kids are not babies anymore.

They are THAT useful. 

I’ve also lost count of the times I’ve used wet wipes (when I’ve had 5 spare minutes waiting to pick up the kids from somewhere) to clean my car dashboard, and remove food crumbs, hair, and debris from the center console in between the two front seats.

Gross but satisfying! 

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General items

No.56: Rescue Remedy Bach Flower Essence

A great remedy and support for anxiety, fear of flying, low moods, new circumstances

No.57: Vitamins and minerals

Taking Vitamin C powder is our daily ritual both at home and away. I also take iron every now and then, and a B vitamin when feeling a little low on energy.  

No.58: Tweezers

No.59: Fine-tipped forceps

(Put both tweezers AND fine-tipped forceps in your first aid kits. They have different purposes.)

No.60: Splinter removers

For when nothing else will work. 

No.61: Personal thermometer

No.62: Small ziplock bags 

Ziplock bags help us to separate and contain all the ‘stuff’, especially in a first aid kit.

They’re also useful to contain bottles with liquid inside, just in case of a spill or broken bottle. 

No.63: Cotton swabs 

A few cotton buds in a small container is always a good idea. 

No.64:  Pocket face mask for emergencies

You never know when you might need pocket face masks! 

No.65:  Pack of jelly beans

Good to bring up the blood sugar when you’ve not eaten for a while. 

You also never know when a jellybean might come in handy as a bribe!

Image credit: Kanonn via Flickr CC by SA 2.0

Regular Prescription Medicine

No.66:  Regular Prescription medication (or emergency prescription medication) 

As we said above, if you are traveling, be sure to take a Doctor’s note with you to show the customs officials if requested. 

Very Important Note on Prescription Medication & Natural Medicines

Some countries require you to register medication before you arrive. 

Other countries ban particular medicines that may be sold over the counter, or given as part of a prescription for your ailment.

If you take regular medication, either pharmaceutical or a natural medicine, please use due diligence and do your research on the official website or consulate of the country before you go.

You may need to adjust or alter your prescription temporarily while you are away.

Do not take banned medications in your luggage

DO NOT take these drugs to countries where they are banned, or you may risk a fine, being sent home, or jail.

First aid bag- bandage illustration

Other things you might like to add to your First Aid Bag

No.67: Emergency silver blanket

We don’t carry one but we know some people add an emergency blanket (silver) to their first aid bag too. If you have the space, it’s not a bad idea.

No. 68: Mini First Aid guide

A pocket First Aid Guide Book is useful too.

first aid bag - case

Image credit: Creative Commons Public domain 

Natural First Aid Kit for travel

Pick and choose from the list above to start.

Then pop in to your local naturopath or herbalist to top up with anything that’s missing.

5. S Free Printables 500

Want a printable version of this First Aid Bag contents list?

We made one.

Get your FREE copy of our Roam the Gnome First Aid Kit Checklist – subscribe to our travel love letter below, and we’ll send you a copy quick smart.

(You’ll receive our Packing Checklist as a bonus!)

PS: If you want to read more about my Bali Belly horror story, click here.

I know you want to!

first aid bag contents REVIEW

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