What follows might very well be the least sexy story we’ve ever run, but it’s hands down one of the most useful. Here’s the truth: I am not a great traveler. I am an amazing explorer who loves nothing more than discovering new places, people (and food!), but I’m a disaster when it comes to the actual travel part. I overthink, overpack and over organize to the point where I’ll forget half of what I actually need and end up with 12 pairs of shoes, a curling iron and no underwear. My best friend, on the other hand, is the opposite. While she may fall into some of the same traps (but really, who doesn’t overpack?), she is always, and I mean always, prepared for every single event that life on the road might throw at her (and life in general, actually). And while I always knew this about her, it became even more evident on our recent family trip to Morocco (more on that soon) when I discovered what I have aptly named her Emergency Kit.
Make no mistake — this is no ordinary first aid thing. It’s a triumph of preparedness that I was so envious of, I actually made her unpack it so I could take copious notes, purchase every single thing in it, replicate it at home and then — because I’m a good person — share this incredible travel gem with you all. So whether it’s overindulging, bug bites, a sudden cold, sleeplessness or any other malady that has you feeling not quite right while you’re heading out for your next adventure, read on. I promise — you’ll thank me later.
— Pamela Schein Murphy
LeSportsac Extra Large Cosmetic Case
I’m a huge fan of LeSportsac and always have been. Nothing compares to their cosmetic pouches - they’re lightweight, super durable and relatively inexpensive. The extra large is the perfect size to fit everything you’ll need.
The XL Pill Bag
I know we're not supposed to be using so much plastic, and I totally agree, but these pill bags make so happy, I just can't help it. Perfect for carrying any pill anywhere, and large enough to hold an entire bottle of motrin], which you’ll see is perfect for this kt.
Neosporin to Go Spray
For cuts, scrapes and bruises on the go.
Neosporin + Pain, Itch, Scar
When that cut, scrape or bruise is more serious. Great on bug bites, too.
Because you ALWAYS need band-aids.
Benadryl Extra Strength Itch Relief Stick
Extra soothing for extra itch.
Benadryl Dye-Free Allergy Relief Pills
Careful — these will knock you out. Which might be a good thing? Seriously though, these are great for any unknown allergies — food or otherwise — that might pop up.
Allegra 24-Hour Allergy Relief
I like Allegra for regular seasonal allergies because it doesn't make you feel jittery the way so many allergy pills can.
Visine Eye Drops
For when the rubber hits the road and the road gets in your eyes.
Supergoop Refresh Setting Mist, Travel Size
Great for setting makeup and for SPF touch-ups on the go.
Supergoop! Super Power Sunscreen Mousse, Travel Size
Best sunscreen ever. It’s light as air, glides on and has SPF 50. Plus it comes in a travel size, which is heaven.
Gas-X Extra Strength Chewable Tablets
Because your stomach might take some time to adjust.
Traveler’s Diarrhea (I told you this story was unsexy) has nothing on Imodium. Seriously — it’s a miracle drug.
Calms any acid reflux you might get from overindulging a hot minute.
Tums Chewy Bites Extra Strength Antacid Assorted Berry Flavor
Tums but make it candy.
Nuun Active Hydration Variety Pack
Kind of like a liquid IV. Because who has time for a hangover when you’re on vacay (ps: there’s also a version with added caffeine when you REALLY need the help).
Pop one before a long haul flight for its blood-thinning magic
These don’t need to be in the actual kit, but you shouldn’t fly any long distance without them.
I admit I’ve never tried melatonin, but people swear by it, so might as well have it with you!
Take one (not two) for a good night’s sleep. But be warned: If you tend to get that weird druggy hangover from things like Nyquil or Benadryl, this will do the same.
Not sure why, but I prefer Motrin over Advil for regular headaches and body aches.
Cold-Eeze Zinc Lozenges
If ever you feel even the slightest hint of a cold coming on, these will knock it out asap.
I’m not a huge proponent If using Afrin, but there's no better way to clear a stuffy nose pre-flight.
Perfect non-drowsy decongestant.
Airborne Effervescent Tablets
Used in conjunction with zinc and your cold doesn’t stand a chance.
For wiping down everything from airplane seats to toilet seats.
Never. Travel. Without This.
Kleenex Slim Packs
Cutest tissues you ever did see. ANd they take up far less room than the traditional single packs.
Travel Hairbrush with Mirror
So very 70s, but you’ll be happy you have a brush on hand, I promise.
Because life is messy.
Because is there anything worse than having food stuck between your teeth?
Not the best, but amazing in a pinch when you really want to brush your teeth but you don’t have your toothbrush or potable water.
Because you are almost guaranteed to forget one, so keep one in your kit and you’ll never run out of juice again.
Regular Earphones with Jack for Airplane
We all love our bluetooth earbuds, but until airlines get hip to wireless, you’re going to need to plug in.
Speaking of which. I always travel with one of these — just in case. You need a prescription, but it’s worth it. I once had an allergic reaction to something I ate and it literally saved my life.
No judgements please. I use xanax sparingly when I really need to sleep, but that's it — I swear. It’s a really good night’s rest with no hangover.
Zpac (Zithromax Antibiotic)
It’s prescription only, but I highly recommend keeping one in your kit for any serious emergencies that regular OTC meds can’t handle.