I guess we’ve all heard with a heavy heart what happened to the two girls in Cambodia last month. Reading this, I remembered once again how important it is to take all the essential medicine with you. It might be a pain in the ass because it’s an extra weight but as you can see, it might be life saving.
And even if it doesn’t go that far, it still saves you money. I remember when I had bed bugs in Vietnam (well my hostel claimed it wasn’t bed bugs, but whatever it was, it was itching badly and I had bites all over my body), I went to the pharmacy and they sold me two things, one of them were actual pills. Turns out they were not for anything close to bites but for something to do with your nose. While it might not have killed me it wouldn’t have been helpful at all either. So lesson learned, I’ll bring my own first aid kit with me from now on.
But what does it have to contain? Let’s go through the essentials.
It doesn’t have to be aspirin, but anything that helps with a headache or maybe any other type of pain you might have, such as sore muscles. Or maybe even the start of a cold.
#2 Aloe Vera creme/gel
Especially in all the typical backpacker countries around South East Asia or South America, I saw plenty of sunburnt girls walking around. Clearly, you are on the beach all day, going in and out of the water constantly and you might forget about putting on sunscreen all the time. Try not to forget, since sun burns are very very bad for you, but if you end up having one, it’s such a relieve to put some aloe vera on it!
#3 Medicine for your digestion
I want tell you any brand here, because it depends on what’s helped you before. But definitely take something for your stomach! Because no matter how careful you might be while traveling, you can always get some type of stomach problem, either from drinking the water, eating something that wasn’t cleaned properly or swallowing dirty ocean water (that’s what happened to me on Bali for example).
Tip: If you have a sensitive stomach as it is, always wipe your cuttlery with a clean napkin before you eat, make sure you don’t drink anything with ice in it, wash off the fruit you buy on the street with bottled water and only eat where lots of people are eating. Just to make sure.
#4 Anti-bite creme
Yes, bites. It doesn’t have to be bed bugs it can just be any type of bites. So take any creme with you that you can put on them for you to stop scratching and for them to heal more easily. And if you are at it, take bug spray as well.
And maybe take something a bit stronger on top of it, in case you’re as lucky as I am and get bed bugs!
#5 Any medicine against a cold
That’s probably a pretty common thing. You might think you’re in a hot country and you won’t get a cold, but there are always things that might trigger a cold – ACs, swimming in the cold ocean, sleeping with wet hair.. You name it. So make sure to pack something that helps you with a cold every time!
#6 Band Aids
No matter if you’ve walked too much and got a blister, stepped into a shell or cut yourself with a knife – Band Aids are always useful!
#7 Anti-inflammatory medicine
Okay, I would have not thought of taking that before my last trip, but now I’ll definitely think of it every time.
When I was in Australia last year, I got bitten by a fish (don’t laugh, I might tell that story another time) and it got infected pretty badly. Lucky enough I was still in Australia (left for Vietnam a few days later), so I just went into the pharmacy and got the right medicine. But who knows what they would have given me in Vietnam?
It doesn’t have to be pills, I just used a creme and it helped perfectly!
Other than those 7 essentials, make sure to pack medicine against any issues you might have a lot. I, for example, always have problems with my sinuses whenever I get a cold, so I try to take my medicine for that with me. And never forget the protection you are using – birth control pill, condoms, whatever you need and use.
AND always make sure to get all the shots you might need for your destination. Check with a doctor or a specialist a few months before your trip (or at least a few weeks, depending on how spontaneously you planned it) what shots you might need to cover. Because trust me, you’d rather be safe than sorry.