The summer travel season is almost upon us and you better believe I’m doing my happy dance right now. In fact, I don’t know whose more ready for school to be over: Me or my eight- and eleven-year-old.
Right now I’ve got all our summer travel booked and organized, so this week before school ends I’ll be spending some time buying supplies, including cleaning out and restocking my first aid kits, which are indispensable items for families on the go.
What I pack in my summer travel first aid kit
Bandages, disinfecting wipes, and antibiotic gel. The beginning of summer is a great time to stock up on various bandages (and of course these days they come with a variety of fun cartoon characters on them, which eases the pain as much as a kiss) as well as first aid tape. I also make sure my kit has disinfecting wipes and antibiotic lotion to prevent infection in dirty cuts.
Sunblock of various varieties. I like to toss some broad-spectrum, chemical suncreen of SPF 30 or greater into the first aid kit so that I remember to reapply it. Usually I pack both the spray and cream variety.
Bug spray. Since both of my boys have had Lyme disease, I’m religious about always applying bug spray with 10 percent of DEET. Having it in the first aid kit means I can reapply after a swim or a particularly sweaty hike.
Kid-formulated pain relief and antihistamines. I pretty much always have some kid strength acetaminophen and ibuprofen in my bag, but in the summer I also add a kid-friendly antihistamine to the mix. On more than one occasion when my children have been stung by flying insects I’ve given them an antihistamine right away and the pain and swelling disappear much faster. If your kids have seasonal allergies, you might also want to add any over-the-counter medication that your doctor has recommended.
Tweezers. I don’t know about your children, but mine like nothing better in the summer than to remove their shoes, no matter what surface they will be walking on. Nothing comes in handier than a pair of tweezers when a splinter of wood or small stone has gone where it shouldn’t. They are also useful for removing stingers.
Instant ice packs. Nothing feels better for a kid who’s taken a tumble or been stung than applying some cold to the spot right away; this also helps with swelling.
An index card with important information on it. Our pediatrician’s phone number is programmed into my cell phone, but I also write it on an index card along with our insurance information and (when I’m really organized and think to look them up in advance – I’ll admit I don’t always think to do this) the numbers for the nearest urgent care clinics when I’m on the road. When I travel abroad, I also make sure I know and write down the equivalent phone number for 911.
Generally my approach at the beginning of the summer season is to buy both full- and travel-sized versions of the liquid items on this list; that way I can create a first aid kit that works for both road trips as well as carry-on airplane travel. I make one big kit for our car and another smaller one that can be tossed into a backpack for hikes or bike rides. Those plastic pouches you use to pack your toiletries in make great receptacles for traveling first aid kits.
Hopefully you won’t often need your first aid kit, but I’ve certainly found that the best approach to family travel is to be prepared. And now I’m curious – is there anything I’m missing here? I’d love to read any suggestions you might have. And if you’re interested in seeing more packing tips, please check out my post on how to pack only carry-on bags for family travel.
This post was written in conjunction with my relationship with VacationRoost as one of its ambassadors.