Child throwing up in-flight? Been there. Fever at the hotel? Done that. Can’t find diapers? That, too! I’ve been lucky to travel a lot with my kids. There are some first aid items I have learned to always have with me. These go in my carry-on if we go by plane. It’s not always easy to find a pharmacy when you need it, and even harder to find what you want in a foreign country. Be sure you are aware of TSA limits for liquids on airplanes. Here’s what I include, in no particular order, plus three bonus tips at the end:
Nasal Spray: This is high on the list, because you can’t clear your ears for landing if your head is stuffed up. For this reason, I also carry…
Benadryl: If it’s in tablet form, it does not have to take up space in your TSA quart bag limit for liquids. Or, you can buy the single-dose packs to stay within the size limit for liquids. I do NOT recommend using Benadryl to make your child sleepy for the flight. I’ve heard it sometimes has the opposite effect, or in our case, can lead to projectile vomiting all over Daddy’s shirt.
Cheerios: Babies and small children don’t know how to clear their ears. Start dispensing 30 minutes before landing, so your child will start swallowing and clearing his/her ears before it gets bad. Warm milk is also helpful because of the heat, swallowing, and sense of security.
Children’s Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and Ibuprofen (Advil): Of course, these are not sold in airplane-size bottles. I use a smaller bottle and put a label on very, very securely in permanent ink. Include dosage info on the label. I bring one little bottle of each, because I like to alternate them. Let me emphasize that it is a BAD idea to put one medication in the bottle of a different medication. I confess, I’ve done it, and it is in my picture, but you can be smarter than I am.
Anti-itch gel: We like the Benadryl gel best, but it has to be transferred to a smaller bottle to meet the TSA limits.
Triple-antibiotic cream: To kill germs on cuts and scrapes
Chapstick: Airplane air is dry, so we use this often.
Bandaids: Not only for cuts and scrapes, but also if lots of walking gives you sore spots on your feet.
Powdered Pedialyte packs: Easy to carry, and don’t have to be put with your TSA allotment of liquids.
Shout (or other brand) stain remover wipes
Small pack of facial tissues: No mother should ever be without these, especially during travel. Restrooms, especially in foreign places, don’t always have toilet paper.
Plastic bags: Bring several for disposing of trash, separating soiled clothes and dirty shoes from other luggage, bagging a lunch on the go, or throwing up in.
Vapor rub pad: The kind you put on your chest to clear a stuffy head.
Disposable diapers, wipes and rash cream: You run out at the least convenient time. Plus, they’re not always easy to find overseas. I spent a couple hours searching for disposable diapers in Munich. They were not in the huge department store that had a large supermarket in the basement. I had to go to a pharmacy and wait in line to get them from a pharmacist. Luckily, I knew the language and knew my way around the city. For travel anywhere outside the U.S., just bring the entire amount needed for the trip. Then use the extra luggage space for souvenirs on the way home. Be sure your carry-on contains twice as many diapers as you think you need for the flight, or delays will be a nightmare.
Empty travel-size spray bottle: For ironing clothes, sort of. Simply fill the bottle with water and mist clothes. Wrinkles will fall out.
For myself: Feminine protection, just in case, and so I have the kind I like
Bonus vomit tip: Ground coffee masks the smell after you clean up. We learned this from a flight attendant who put ground coffee on my daughter’s seat after she threw up. Worked like magic.
Bonus foreign bathroom tip: Have small change in the local currency. Many foreign bathrooms, even at gas stations, charge around $0.50. I even encountered a bathroom in Turkey that charged for toilet paper by the square.
Bonus medication tip: Bring your prescription for any prescription meds, as these may be controlled substances. Even some over-the-counter drugs may be controlled at your destination, so do a little research.