What to bring, whether you’re hightailing it to Hong Kong for a month or packing for a long-weekend glamping trip.

By Kiera Aaron
October 11, 2016
Illustration by Michael Brandon Myers

The Essentials

A list of your prescriptions (in case you lose them)—bring a translation if traveling abroad.

  • Hydrocortisone cream, for rashes and bug bites
  • Pain and fever reducer, such as Tylenol or Advil
  • Bandages
  • A copy of a recent EKG, if you have heart problems
  • Antihistamines for allergic reactions
  • Tweezers
  • Small scissors
  • Adhesive tape
  • Alcohol wipes

For Traveling Abroad

Emergency Contraception: “It’s not easy to find internationally,” says Anne Terry, director of the travel-medicine clinic at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Travel Insurance: Compare different types of plans at insuremytrip. com, and check out our full travel insurance guide.

Antibiotics: Ask your doctor for a prescription that will address diarrhea from bacterial infections.

Rehydration Powder: If you spend half of your trip in the bathroom, you’ll need to rehydrate. Stock up on packets of Adventure Medical Kits’ oral rehydration salts.

For Seniors

Spare Specs: Lost or broken eyeglasses will make you even more vulnerable in an unfamiliar place, suggests Christopher Davis, medical director of the University of Colorado’s travel clinic.

Extra Meds: Pack an extra week’s worth. (This holds true for travelers of all ages.)

Antibiotic Cream: Older skin tends to be drier and thinner, putting seniors at greater risk of cuts that could get infected, says Joshua Zeichner, assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

For Kids

Pedialyte: Children are more prone to dehydration from gastrointestinal illnesses, Terry says. Get a powder form for easy transport.

Extra Antihistamines: “If you're children are prone to seasonal allergies, bring an antihistamine,” explains Nava Yeganeh, a pediatrician at UCLA.

Cold Meds: Always travel with Children’s Tylenol, especially during cold and flu season. “A crowded place like Disney World can be a petri dish of infection,” Terry says.

Digital Thermometer: Test the battery before you leave home.

For Adventure Travelers

Backup Power: If you plan to venture off the grid, take a portable power pack, like the Goal Zero Venture 30 Recharger, which can juice up your phone or camera battery.

Blister Care Pack: Carry alcohol wipes to clean the skin and a needle to drain fluid before bandaging the injury, Zeichner says.

Iodine Tablets: That bottle of water won’t last long if you’re stranded unexpectedly; pack iodine tablets to purify water in an emergency.

Dramamine: Bumpy roads or rough water can make even a seasoned traveler queasy.