Medicine to Bring on a Trip

By Sydney Tong on February 10, 2017. Read time: 3 mins.

I have had the worst diarrhea of my life at 3 am on a Sunday on a remote island in the Philippines. I've gotten some nasty blisters after exploring the busy streets of Havana, Cuba. I've also experienced some nasty acid reflux after eating some spicy pad thai in Thailand. Getting sick while in a foreign country is inevitable and I'm no stranger to getting sick while traveling. Over time I have built up my on-the-go medicine cabinet and it usually treats all my minor travel ailments.

In this article:

Before I tell you what I have in my kit I guess I should tell you why it is so important to have. Medicine is regulated differently in every country and the medicines you are familiar with at home may be different abroad. Pharmacies may not be open 24/7 in foreign countries and may not have the medicine you need. Also, if you can't read the language how can you expect to get the proper dosage or type of medicine. Stock up on the medicines you feel comfortable taking so you don't lose valuable travel time to being sick.

What's in the bag

All of this fits in a small pouch that easily fits in my carry-on luggage. I have used all of these at some point during my travels.


Traveler's diarrhea is the worst. This is often used in medications to decrease the frequency of diarrhea. Look for brand names like Imodium.


Ibuprofen is a medication used for treating pain, fever, and inflammation. Ibuprofen also goes by Motrin, Advil and Nurofen. Midol also has ibuprofen in it and is great for menstrual cramping.


Medicines containing acetaminophen are used to treat fevers and pain. Tylenol contains acetaminophen.


Decongestants are used to relieve nasal congestion. Active ingredients include pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine.


This is the latest medication added to my arsenal. They are microorganisms that claim to reduce gastrointestinal discomfort and strengthen the immune system. They are a new trend so read up on them if you are interested.


I use this a lot when I am traveling to fight jet lag. Melatonin is a hormone that helps to control your sleep and wake cycles. Your body makes this hormone in the pineal gland but supplements can be used to help acclimate to your travel destination.


Antacids neutralize stomach acidity which can be used if you have heartburn, indigestion or an upset stomach. Popular brand names include Tums.


Dimenhydrinate is a medicine commonly used for the symptoms of motion sickness. Dramamine is a common brand and has helped me out a lot when traveling on planes, buses and bumpy car rides.


You always need bandaids, so pack them in a variety of sizes and have them ready when you need them.

Hydrocortisone cream

Hydrocortisone is a topical steroid. It reduces the actions of chemicals in the body that cause inflammation, redness or swelling. For pain and swelling from a bug bite it is an excellent anti-inflammatory.

Alcohol wipes

These are pre-moistened wipes with isopropyl alcohol and can be used for first aid and cleaning.

Vitamin c

Vitamin C may include protection against immune system deficiencies.


Simethicone is used to reduce bloating, discomfort, or pain caused by excessive gas.


This are always a nice treat when I have jet-lag or allergies.


These are popular to use against allergy symptoms. Look for Zyrtec or Claritin.

Triple antibiotic ointment

It is often sold as Neosporin and is an antibiotic cream that contains neomycin, polymyxin, and bacitracin. It is used to prevent infections.

medicine travel pack sick exploded

medicine travel pack sick bag

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