What could be worse than being somewhere rather exotic, somewhere that you’ve been looking forward to seeing and exploring for quite some time and then coming down with the flu, getting really sick while travelling or hurting yourself just prior to heading off on your day trip or (usually expensive) booked tour.
Great examples of these situations that I’ve managed to experience myself are getting sick after a plane ride upon getting to a new destination and then spending 2 days holed up, trying to shake a cold or hobbling around after spraining an ankle (damn you cobblestones!!) before a hike or day out type excursion. I find these niggling sicknesses or injuries just about the most annoying thing in the world. It’s not enough to stop you from doing things but just enough to take the fun edge off them in such a way as to tarnish the experience.
What I recommend doing is taking a small medical kit with you on your travels that can help with these sort of situations (and Odin, Thor and Loki forbid, more serious ones..) I find that just a small toiletries type bag is enough to cover most of the basics and even though it does take up a little of your precious packing space, in my experience, the peace of mind it brings has always been worth it. In fact, just being medically prepared to travel in general before you go is essential.
The below are the medical supplies I recommend taking on any extended trip to at least be prepared to the worst:
Band Aids – For those inevitable little cuts and blisters.
A Pressure Bandage – Just in case you need to strap something or pressure wrap something… just in case.
Tweezers – Not just for your raging mono-brow but also for splinters..
Needle & thread – Can be a double from a sewing kit. I use for popping blisters or getting out splinters and even I guess in the worst case, for stitching up open wounds..
Valium (Diazepam) – For those 18 hour bus rides, mortifying plane flights, and anyone traveling with kids…
Pain killers – For those less severe injuries, the usual day to day aches and pains of the road and the inevitable cold and flu. I’d recommend that you take some Aspirin and also cold and flu tablets along for the ride.
Anti diarrhea medication – For that dodgy kebab you just knocked back and the always uncomfortable travellers’ diarrhea that rears its ugly head before every 10 hour bus ride…
Ventolin (Albuterol) – Even if you don’t have asthma at home, I have known people to develop it as they travel foreign environments and it’s better having the option to breathe in your bag.. just in case.
Antibiotics – If you can get a short course of general antibiotics from a travel doctor, they can come in very handy for infections and other nasties you can get while abroad (don’t take them unless you really need to however and no.. they won’t help with a virus..).
That’s it; generally the above list only takes up a small fraction of my total packing space so in my opinion all are worth investing in before a big trip. They are also the kinds of things you hope you won’t have to use, but in many cases almost certainly will at some point, so be prepared!