Feeling Under the Weather While Traveling? Pack These 9 Items.

published Mar 19, 2022
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Upper view of modern woman in white pants and striped blouse at modern home in sunny summer day packing first aid kit and SPF in open travel suitcase.
Credit: Shutterstock/Alliance Images

Time away from home should be relaxing. But with all the logistics involved in travel, especially these days, trips often involve an element of stress. That’s especially true if you happen to feel sick while you’re away from home, an all-too-common experience when you’re exposed to new germs (or, of course, if you’re prone to motion sickness).

While you may not be able to prevent feeling ill on a trip, you can be as prepared as possible in case a stomach bug or tickly throat hits you unexpectedly. Here are nine suggestions for what to pack in your first-aid kit, according to people who always get sick on trips.

Peppermint Gum 

If there’s one thing travel photographer Kevin Mercier always keeps on hand when he travels, it’s peppermint gum. “It helps relax my stomach and gets rid of that tight, uncomfortable cramping feeling,” he says, adding that peppermint also helps him with motion sickness and nausea when he’s traveling. 

Bottled Water

Because hydration is an important part of feeling well, Mercier says he always makes sure to drink enough water before and during his travels. To make water consumption easier, he always keeps water on hand — and if he’s worried about the safety of water in his destination, he sticks with bottled water.

Motion Sickness Remedies

Kelli Lovett, who blogs about traveling in a converted van, says she always gets motion sickness, whether she’s riding in a car, plane, or boat. To stave off that woozy feeling, she uses motion sickness wristbands, which use acupressure to relieve motion sickness. Dramamine ginger chews, she says, also help her keep nausea at bay.

Herbal Tea 

When you’re sick at home, there’s almost nothing more comforting than a hot cup of herbal tea. You may not have room in your pack for your favorite mug, but you can pack your favorite tea bags for comfort in case you get sick like frequent traveler Axel Hernborg, CEO of Tripplo. “Peppermint tea is my savior for hectic travel days,” he says. Along with helping him when he has bloating and stomach bugs, Hernborg says it’s great for relieving headaches and promoting relaxation on trips. 

An Antihistamine

Nikola Webster, founder of Brit on the Move, says her allergies often act up when she travels (especially by plane). To stave off coughing fits, she brings extra Zyrtec, an antihistamine that can alleviate allergy symptoms, along with her on trips. (If you struggle with allergies, it may be worth bringing allergy medication in your carry-on like Webster does, or taking some before you board.)

Pepto Bismol 

Another tool Webster keeps in her travel kit: Pepto Bismol. Having a stash of chewable Pepto Bismol tablets  for occasions she’s dealing with stomach discomfort or diarrhea on a trip are non-negotiable.

In a pinch, she says, sipping ginger ale can help too!

Essential Oils 

If you find essential oils calming or if they help you with other ailments like headaches or tummy troubles, pack them along! Craig Miller, who travels frequently for his job as founder of Academia Labs, says he often brings along his favorite essential oils along with a diffuser he can use in his hotel room. 

Cold Remedies

If you wake up at a hotel or Airbnb feeling under the weather, it’s convenient to have pain relievers already on hand. Eva Keller says she always seems to get a cold when she travels somewhere with a different climate, so she stocks up a small bag of go-to medications just in case. Breathe Right Strips and Vicks VapoRub help her ease congestion on trips, and she always keeps Advil Dual Action on hand for fevers and aches.

A Heating Pad 

Rachel Conforti, vice president of marketing at LoopMe, says she loads her luggage with supplies just in case she gets sick when she’s out of town. One of her go-to tools? A heating pad, which she can plug in and use to soothe sore muscles or cramps.

This post originally ran on Apartment Therapy. See it there: 9 Things People Who Always Seem to Get Sick on Vacation Keep in their Travel First-Aid Kit