Travel pharmacy - How to pack for the trip

Nasty viruses, vomiting, sunburn or chafing. Regardless of whether you are planning a city break in Paris, sun vacation in Thailand, a long trip with children in Asia or a safari in Africa, it is always good to have a travel pharmacy with you to stay healthy on the trip. Sometimes headache tablets and chafing plasters may be enough, but not too rarely it may be worth bringing a slightly larger supply of medicines and consumables. If you must carry prescription medication, please take a printed prescription (in English) with you and store your medication in its original packaging in your hand luggage to facilitate customs clearance. Keep in mind, however, that you may not bring large amounts of liquid as hand luggage on the plane, you need to check in the liquid travel pharmacy.

A piece of advice on the road: If you are going to travel to Dubai, the rules are around medicines very harder than in Sweden. Make sure you are always well-educated about the country you are going to and, for example, do not take Otrivin with you to Dubai!

Travel pharmacy BAS - Always good to have with you

  • Hand alcohol - Having clean hands is key to staying healthy during travel, but it is not always easy to be able to wash your hands when you are on the move. Carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer or antibacterial wipes and clean hands and contact surfaces frequently.
  • Painkillers - Tablets with ibuprofen and acetylsalicylic acid are both anti-inflammatory and relieve pain, examples of tablets are Magnecyl, Ibumetin and Ipren. During the trip itself, pain relievers that melt in the mouth can be convenient, there are now lozenges for both children and adults.
  • Abrasion plasters - takes up no space and is worth its weight in gold when the bladders peek out after too much sightseeing. Elastic bandages and compresses are also good for stuffing down.
  • Wound washing - Extra important in the tropics, where a small wound quickly becomes large and scary!
  • Remedies for diarrhea - You never know when you will be affected, the good ice cream you just ate could have been a real bacteria bomb. An upset stomach during travel is a real pain, but Imodium, for example, stops the most excruciating diarrhea quickly and effectively.
  • Allergy tablets - If you have any kind of allergy, you should make sure you have allergy tablets with you. Although you may only be allergic to birch pollen at home in Sweden and your destination does not have birches, there may be other closely related trees or flowers in your destination that you react strongly to.
  • Tweezers and nail scissors (or multipurpose army knife) - It's easy to accidentally pat a cactus thorn in close proximity or get rattan sticks off a restaurant chair. However, don't forget that you may not have the scissors in your hand luggage.
  • A softening ointment/cream - Sun and a lot of water can make skin and lips dry and chapped.
  • Bandage - It can happen both in big cities and in the national park that you step crookedly. Bandages are good for those who have sprained their feet.

Travel pharmacy: Beach and hiking

  • Sun cream - There are two types of sunscreen, creams with chemical protection and creams with physical protection. The creams with chemical protection are easy to apply, unlike the creams with physical protection which often contain zinc paste and are harder to apply the higher the sun protection factor. However, our experience is that you can never trust the sun protection factor promised by the chemical preparations you buy in the supermarket - if it says 50, it might as well mean 10. However, we have never been disappointed and burned ourselves with the slightly more difficult physical creams that you can buy at the pharmacy. Good creams at Apoteket are CCS (physical UV filters) or ACO (chemical filters). When buying sunscreen, check that they protect against both UVA and UVB rays and how often you need to reapply the waterproof cream.
  • Fluid replacement - If you had a hard night at the pub and your tongue feels like sandpaper, drank too little on the beach or if you have stomach problems, it's easy to get dehydrated in the heat. Fluid replacement from Apoteket, for example Resorb, helps you regain the fluid balance in your body.
  • Cooling balm and hydrocortisone ointment - If you have been burned by the sun despite sunscreen, it is nice to have a cooling and soothing cooling balm or cooling fat-free gel with you. Sun eczema usually goes away after a couple of days if you avoid sunbathing, but if you have sun eczema, hydrocortisone ointment relieves it (available without a prescription at Apoteket).
  • Mosquito repellent - Mosquito repellent can be good to have with you, but you often find more effective (and probably more harmful) preparations at the destination. It is always better to try to avoid mosquito bites through clothing and mosquito nets than through preparations. Keep in mind that most mosquito repellents should not be used on small children!
  • Malaria prophylaxis - Are you going to travel to areas where there is malaria? Check out the latest information on, for example The vaccination guide about what kind of prophylaxis applies, it can change depending on the rainy season/epidemics. Make sure you are well-educated before going to the doctor to get malaria tablets. Not too infrequently, we have come across doctors writing out prescriptions for the common malaria tablet Chloroquine, DESPITE the fact that the malaria strain at the destination has known chloroquine resistance.

Travel pharmacy for children

  • Fever thermometer - It can be difficult to know if a child has a fever if you don't have a thermometer with you. Very young children quickly become seriously ill if the fever rises above 38,5 degrees.
  • Medicine for children - Don't forget to pack painkillers and nasal spray that are suitable for children. There are pain tablets for children that melt in the mouth, which are perfect to take with you on a trip!
  • Sun protection suit - Don't give your children a tan! Malignant melanoma is the fastest growing form of cancer in Sweden. There are lovely sun protection suits for children that are made for extreme sun, salt and chlorine.
  • Mosquito net for the pram and cot
  • Small kettle - Although bottled water is generally of high quality, it does no harm to boil the gruel water before use.
  • Blueberry and prune puree - A jar of each is good to take with you for small loose/hard stomachs.
  • Activated carbon - Good to use when the child has eaten something inappropriate. The carbon binds to substances and carries them out of the body. May not be combined with other medication, check with Apoteket.
  • Patches with princesses/superheroes/flowers/teddies - Don't underestimate how much comfort a nice plaster can give on a freshly scrubbed knee!

Want to read more of my travel tips? do not forget to like Rucksack on Facebook!


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Travel blogger, gastronaut, photographer and family adventurer with over 60 countries in his luggage. Eva loves trips that include beautiful nature, hiking boots and well-cooked food. On the travel site Rucksack she takes you to all corners of the world with the help of her inspiring pictures and texts.

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