The 6 Best First Aid Kits for Travel 2023

Stay prepared with compact, pre-made first aid kits fit for any adventure.

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Best First Aid Kits

Travel + Leisure / Kristin Kempa

First aid kits are often one of the most overlooked travel accessories, even though they can make or break your vacation experience. In best-case scenarios, you won’t ever need it, but on the off-chance you do, it’ll quickly prove to be one of the most savvy additions to your packing list. First aid kits come in handy for help with everything from headaches and dehydration to cuts, scrapes, and bites, or even sprained appendages. 

For expert insight on what to look for in a travel first aid kit and why they are one of the most essential travel accessories, we spoke with Raelene Brooks, PhD, RN, Dean of the College of Nursing at the University of Phoenix. Based on our research and experience and Brooks’ expert advice, we compared various top-selling travel first aid kits on the market, making sure to consider the overall size, number of items, variation of ailments covered, and variety of items included. The waterproofed Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight Watertight .5 first aid kit is our favorite thanks to its wide array of wellness gear despite its compact size — but if you’re looking for something a little different, we’ve got plenty of great first aid kit picks below.

Best Overall

Adventure Medical Kit Ultralight Watertight .5

Adventure Medical Kit Ultralight Watertight .5


Why We Love It
  • It treats a wide variety of issues and comes in a lightweight, double-waterproof pouch.

What to Consider
  • The bag lacks any interior organization.

The Adventure Medical Kit Ultralight Watertight .5 is our go-to first aid kit for travel. We’ve traveled around the globe, staying in posh safari lodges and in backpacker hostels with this kit and it has never let us down. It comes with over 40 pieces of first aid to help tackle everything from splinters and blisters to minor cuts or scrapes to bug bites. We like that it also comes with two doses of various over-the-counter pain relievers, plus antihistamine, antibiotic ointment, and tools to remove ticks and fasten bandages. You’ll also get a good variety and number of bandages and wound dressings. We’ve found that it’s also easy to replace these items as needed while on the go. Fully stocked, the contents are enough to cover one person for about two days (with the same affliction).

Standout features are the durable double-waterproof bagging (which comes in clutch not only on rainy days and water adventures but also in case of spills or heavy humidity), the minimal 3.6-ounce weight, and two exterior corner loops that make it easy to clip the kit onto your backpack for easy access. The bright yellow color makes it easy to find in a pinch, though we will say that the lack of interior organization may cause some people to fumble through the contents of the bag trying to find what they need (not ideal in an emergency situation). 

Price at time of publish: $23

The Details: 5.5 x 11 x 1 inches | 43 pieces

Best Basic

Johnson & Johnson First Aid To Go

Johnson & Johnson First Aid To Go


Why We Love It
  • It covers bandage basics and leaves room for you to customize your kit.

What to Consider
  • The included items will likely help minor cuts or scrapes only.

If you’re just looking for the bare minimum of what you might need while out on a trip, the Johnson & Johnson First Aid To Go kit is your best bet. This smaller-than-your-hand-sized kit contains 12 first aid items, mostly centered around minor scrapes and cuts. You’ll get sterilizing wipes, two sizes of bandages, and a couple of gauze pads — all tucked and stored nicely in a sturdy plastic case with a snap-tight closure. There’s no medicine or tools in the case, but there’s plenty of room left in the case to add your own custom extras to beef up the kit (which is what we’ve done in the past) such as over-the-counter pain pills, prescription medication, allergy pills, cotton swabs, tweezers, or other travel-sized first aid items. It’s still a great and convenient kit to just toss into your day bag or day tripper waist bag.

Price at time of publish: $3

The Details: 3.8 x 4.3 x 1.1 inches | 12 pieces

Best Comprehensive

First Aid Only 298 Piece All-Purpose First Aid Emergency Kit

First Aid Only 298 Piece All-Purpose First Aid Emergency Kit


Why We Love It
  • It includes items that many other kits leave out, like a thermometer and gloves.

What to Consider
  • You may want to upgrade with your own OTC medicines.

This nearly 300-piece kit contains everything you’d need to use in an accident situation involving burns, cuts, or scrapes — down to the disposable gloves, scissors, and a thermometer. Like most kits, it’s heavily focused on bandages, and includes a variety of adhesive, fabric, and gauze bandages, as well as butterfly wound closure bandages, knuckle bandages, and fingertip bandages. You’ll also get key ointments and wipes to treat burns and stings, and fight germs. Additional tools include a tongue depressor (which also doubles as a finger splint), thermal blanket, cold pack, and tweezers. Impressively, all this and more fits inside a double-sided zippered case no larger than the usual toiletry bag. Although it’s packed with first aid accessories, we would like to see more medicine included.

Price at time of publish: $21

The Details: 9.25 x 2.87 x 7 inches | 298 pieces

Best for International Travel

My Medic Ready Mini First Aid Kit

My Medic Ready Mini First Aid Kit

My Medic

Why We Love It
  • It comes with individually-packaged, ailment-specific mods that cover a wide range of first aid needs.

What to Consider
  • It’s a little bigger than we’d like.

When traveling to a foreign country, acquiring some first aid items may be more difficult due to a language barrier, overall access, or how the healthcare system works. The My Medic Ready Mini First Aid Kit is packed full of first aid accessories to cover everything from allergies to cuts to suspect water quality. The exterior is water-resistant and easy to wipe clean, while reinforced zippers also help keep water out. Inside, two mesh stash pockets are loaded with My Medic color-coded mods — individually packaged kits containing items to treat specific issues — so you can easily find what you need. Standout features include pieces for wound irrigation, a digital first aid and survival tips guide, a flashlight, hydration packets, water purification tablets, and a whistle. We’re also big fans of thoughtful items like hydrocortisone cream, friction frosting, and petroleum jelly. We appreciate that the kit is small enough to hold in one hand, but it can still feel like it’s taking up a fair amount of packing space.

Price at time of publish: $80

The Details: 7.5 x 4 x 7.5 inches | 100 pieces

Best for Kids

KeepGoing First Aid GoKit

KeepGoing First Aid GoKit


Why We Love It
  • It’s a TSA-approved first aid kit designed with kids’ needs in mind.

What to Consider
  • It doesn’t include any medicines.

Looking for a cheery take on a first aid kit? KeepGoing First Aid GoKit comes in multiple, cute kid-friendly patterns to help make the first aid experience a bit brighter. The kit comes with 130 pieces of first aid items ranging from bandages to moleskins and disposable thermometers — all with kid-friendly patterned packaging. Some of the standout features include tick removers, cotton-tipped applicators, trauma scissors, and 20 stickers to award brave kids. While this kit does come with a good assortment of creams (hydrocortisone, burn relief, lip balm, and antibiotic), it doesn’t have any medicine included, so you may want to add your own.

Price at time of publish: $40

The Details: 6.75 x 5 x 2 inches | 130 pieces

Best for Dogs

Adventure Medical Kits Me & My Dog

Adventure Medical Kits Me And My Dog Kit


Why We Love It
  • It’s a kit that can be used for both you and your dog!

What to Consider
  • For dogs, it mainly centers around the treatment of paw injuries.

You do everything with your dog, so why not share a first aid kit? We love this kit because you don’t have to pack two different kits; you and your dog can both be helped with the contents in this one kit. The Adventure Medical Kits Me and My Dog Kit has bandages, gauze dressings, antiseptic wipes, wound irrigation, and sterile gloves for cuts and other wounds. It also has two doses of aspirin and antihistamine each, a cold compress and wrap for sprains, and key first aid tools like trauma scissors, tick removal tweezers, a thermal emergency blanket, and a leash. One of the bandages doubles as a muzzle for scared pups, and if you’re unsure how to apply any of the items to your furry best friend, there’s also a pet first aid manual to help guide you. Since this is a simple zippered case, it could be worth adding some medications as advised by your vet as this kit mainly covers injuries from walking and not other hazards like foreign object ingestion or non-paw maladies.

Price at time of publish: $57

The Details: 7.5 x 3.5 x 5.3 inches | 48 pieces

Tips for Buying a Travel First Aid Kit

Prioritize size and durability

In a best-case scenario, you won’t ever have to use your travel first aid kit, so it will be traveling with you often. Give extra points to kits that are durable enough to survive multiple trips and that come in a size that can be packed in all different travel situations (think lightweight and compact).

Check how many people can be treated with the kit

Consider your travel group size when buying a travel first aid kit. Does one kit cover the entire family or just one or two people? Be sure to pack enough first aid to treat each person you’re responsible for.

Consider the conditions and risk of your trip

Different trips will dictate the exact items you’ll need in your first aid kit. Look for kits that can address specific dangers or injuries you may face on your trip, from sunburns to sprains and insect bites to serious cuts.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Why should I pack a first aid kit?

    Carrying a first aid kit on your travels stocks you with essential life-saving items that can help provide temporary care during an emergency situation until help can arrive, Brooks says. She also adds that locating these items in a foreign country or when traveling can be difficult, making it best for travelers to have their own kits on hand.

  • What should I look for in a first aid kit?

    According to Brooks, some of the most essential items a kit should include are medical tape, compression wound dressing, gauze, irrigation wound wash, antiseptic/antibiotic ointment, alcohol pads, cleaning/prep pads, and assorted sizes of blister strips and bandages. She also says it’s useful to have pills to treat motion sickness, allergies, and mild pain, plus cold packs, wound closure materials, a thermal blanket, hydration packets, and even a multi-purpose plastic bag that can be used as a splint, as gloves, or as a CPR shield.

  • How can I make a DIY first aid kit?

    Buy products that cover the essential must-have first aid kit items, and then add any specialty custom items for your specific travel situation, activities, or health concerns. For example, Brooks advises that anyone with asthma include an albuterol inhaler, while travelers with diabetes should include some candies or glucose for low blood sugar. Those with cardiac issues should pack nitroglycerin tablets or spray, along with aspirin.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure? 

For this list, Katherine Alex Beaven talked to a medical professional about essential items that should be in a travel first aid kit. Alex also considered kits based on her own 15 years of personal experience as a frequent, accident-prone traveler. While researching first aid kits for travel, we spoke with Raelene Brooks, PhD, RN, Dean of the College of Nursing at the University of Phoenix.

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