If you travel for work on a regular basis (like I do), your body will experience all kinds of interesting aches, pains, sicknesses, etc. Over the years I’ve developed a business traveller’s first aid kit of sorts that I carry with me on all of my business trips. This travel first aid kit has saved my bacon several times!
My travel first aid kit contains the essentials for dealing with any number of minor (and some major) medical “stuff” that might come up for the business traveler while grinding it out on the road. I highly recommend that any serious business traveler build one and keep it in your bag!
In this article I share some of the common issues travelers might deal with and make some suggestions on what to put in your traveller’s first aid kit.
By the way, the tips provided here apply fairly equally to leisure traveller’s too…but as a I road warrior I’ve tuned them a bit towards the business traveler.
Maladies the Business Traveler Might Face from Time to Time
As a road warrior there are a variety of maladies that you might encounter. Here are some common ones:
- Jet Lag (read How to Get Over Jet Lag)
- Headaches (even Migraines – read my migraine travel horror story here)
- Stomach issues (indigestion, heart burn, food poisoning, diarrhea)
- The occasional cut
- Common Cold
- Muscle Aches / Back Pain / Cramps, etc
- The Flu
- Pre-menstrual cramps
- Sore throats
- Dry mouth
- Torn fingernails / ingrown toenail
These are, of course, on top of any unique medical conditions you might personally be dealing with (e.g. something chronic or ongoing).
I’ve personally dealt with every single one of these issues (except the female medical issues, obviously) at one time or another. In addition to some of those issues I’ve also dealt with a few other unique medical issues while traveling for work inducing:
- Kidney Stones (my own stupid fault for not drinking enough water and drinking far too much coffee)
- Sprained ankles – fell off a ladder once while painting my daughter’s room. Yep, still had to travel.
- Oozing raspberries (until recently I played soccer every Sunday night as a goalkeeper. Enough dives and your are bound to get a few serious (and oozing…gross) scrapes.
- Broken Toes – again, soccer.
- Recovering from ACL Surgery (and still had to travel…)
- Tooth Aches / Serious Tooth Pain – I’ve cracked a tooth on the road…not fun!
This guide to creating the perfect business traveller’s first aid kit is only for the more common medical issues that might arise. I’ve left the heavy stuff aside as they require special provisions (and often doctor’s input).
Speaking of Doctors…I am not one. The advice I provide here is not medically approved and is based on my own personal experiences (and thus, is common sense…). Always consult a medical professional.
Business Traveller’s First Aid Kit
The business traveller’s first aid kit is based on the principles of being prepared and traveling light. The below list provides a veritable cornucopia of medical essentials to stock your first aid kit with – without going overboard and without traveling too heavy.
- Painkillers – I always carry two kinds of painkillers with me. Aleve (which is my go-to drug for headaches and muscle pains) and Extra Strength Tylenol (which is my backup plan). I also carry Excedrin Migraine tablets with me in case I get a doozy.
- Cold Medicine – I’ve carried DayQuil with me for year. Never the whole pack – just 2-3 capsule packages (of 2 each). I also carry 1 NyQuil capsule packet with me too.
- Allergy Medicine – I take a daily Claritin D and always carry my supply with me. If you suffer from seasonal or occasional allergies, bring a few of your favorite allergy meds with you in your kit.
- Sleep Medicine – I carry Tylenol PM which is my wonder drug when I am having trouble sleeping. But maybe it’s ZzzQuil for you. Always consult with a medical professional regarding sleep aids.
- Stomach Aids – I personally carry the following stomach related items with me, but I suggest you personalize this to your needs:
- Band-aids (assorted sizes) – I always carry a few assorted Band-Aids with me. And then I store them in this small Band-Aids plastic container that’s great for traveling.
- Neosporin – A small container of Neosporin is a must-add to your business traveler’s first aid kit.
- Rashes / Itches – To fight the occasional rash I carry a 2 oz of Gold Bond Rapid Relief Anti Itch Cream.
- Assorted Cough Drops – I typically carry a few (not many) Ricola Cough Drops and some Ludens (because they taste great).
- Travel Wet Wipes – Like these cool “Dude Wipes” – but a small pack
- Anti Bacterial Hand Sanitizer – I always carry a small travel size bottle of Purell.
- Gum – I always carry a pack of gum with me. Helps fight dry mouth, and bad breath, as well occasionally needing to pop your ears while flying.
- Q-Tips – keep your ears clean, besides nothing worse than water in your ear after a shower. I use a small travel container size version of Q-Tips and I keep it my hygiene bag – not my medical kit.
- Kleenex – a MUST-HAVE in your kit. Ever tried blowing your nose with a paper towel from an airport bathroom? #BloodyNose
- Fingernail Clippers – I usually just bring toenail clippers instead of BOTH (to save space)
- Refillable Water Bottle – hydration is one of the key ingredients to fighting many of the travel maladies that road warriors face. Always bring (and use!) a refillable water bottle like this Collapsible Gogo Bottle are great for business travelers.
- Whatever female needs you have – since I am a guy I am going to let my female readers handle this all on their own.
- Any Prescription Meds you are on – always bring your meds – and make sure to bring proof of your prescription (usually your photo ID and your properly labeled pill bottle will suffice).
I don’t carry the following items unless I happen to be dealing with them at the time I am traveling:
- Preparation H Cream (or Wipes)
- Large quantities of Cough Drops – I only bring larger quantities if I am actually sick
- Ankle Wraps / Knee Braces – only when needed
Don’t forget: Make sure you are aware of the TSA regulation (3-1-1) on liquids and avoid liquid medicine if you can (it can spill, too). And make sure to stay current on any TSA regulations regarding traveling with prescription drugs too.
By the way, you might like the following articles on Healthy Travel that we’ve put together here at the CBoardingGroup:
- How to get over jet lag while you travel – 11 Tips every traveler needs to know
- The 7 Habits of the Healthy Business Traveler: How to Stay Healthy While Traveling for Business
- 9 Healthy Travel Snacks – eat smarter on the road
- 13 Long Haul Flight Tips – how to survive a long flight
- Travel News: Business Travel Is Bad for Your Health (Reblog)
How to store your Business Traveller’s First Aid Kit
The list above might seem huge. But in reality, it’s not. And that’s because I don’t bring the whole container with me. Just enough for the trip. A few of each key element and then properly packing it is the key here.
Speaking of assembling and packing all of this, here’s a few ideas on how to store your business traveller’s first aid kit:
- Keep it loose in your backpack – often this is sufficient. Perhaps use a few baggies, or if you have a backpack that has good sections and pockets (like the Ogio Metro Backpack that I use) you can designate one pocket to hold your Business Traveller’s First Aid Kit.
- Buy a small travel sized bag just for this purpose – a great option is to purchase a purpose-built small travel bag that you can use to store all of your gear in one convenient place and then simply pack that bag into your gear. A >small hygiene or toiletries bag actually works great for this.
- Store it in your hygiene bag – Another option is to simply store much of your business traveller’s first aid kit in your hygiene bag itself. You might find things a little tight though, so you will need to experiment so consider a separate one, like below.
A few other important thoughts on the business traveller’s first aid kit
- What happens if you don’t have something in your kit? No sweat. Most airport convenience shops will have something close to what you need (although you will pay an arm and a leg). Or find a local pharmacy near your hotel. I’ve even asked a fellow traveler for pain killers once.
- Never store your traveller’s first aid kit in your checked bag (in fact, never check a bag, anyway!). Keep it in your carry on and preferably your backpack.
Final thoughts on the Business Traveller’s First Aid Kit
If you’ve ever spent any time on the road as a serious business traveler you know how tough things can get. A nasty cold, some food poisoning, or a migraine can turn a trip sour really quick. Use this list of items to build your perfect Business Traveler’s First Aid Kit.
What did we miss? What’s your favorite “first aid” item that I didn’t cover? Tweet us or drop a comment, below
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And, of course, if you are interested in more travel tips and travel advice, you might like these great articles:
- 147 Business Travel Tips – the ultimate list of road warrior tips & tricks
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- Product Review: OGIO Metro Backpack, The Business Traveler’s Backpack
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- The Best Travel Gifts for Her – A Gift Guide for Women Who Love to Travel
- The Ultimate List of the Best Travel Blogs 2019 Edition
- How to get over jet lag while you travel – 11 Jet Lag Tips for every traveler
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