Skip to content

Information and Resources

Font Size

Packing for a Healthy Vacation

Want to stay healthy while traveling in the U.S. and abroad? Prepare before you leave and take some essentials along for healthy travel.

Step 3: Check Your Travel Insurance Coverage

Be sure to take your insurance policy identify card and a claim form with you. If you're traveling to another country, check with your insurer to see whether you will be covered if you fall ill or get injured while abroad.

If your insurance does not offer coverage, you may want to purchase supplemental insurance that does. Even if your insurer covers "customary and reasonable" hospital costs overseas, few companies pay for medical evacuation back to the U.S. The U.S. State Department estimates the cost at "$10,000 and up."

Note that Medicare does not cover hospital or medical costs outside the U.S. The American Association of Retired Persons has information for senior citizens about foreign medical care coverage with Medicare supplement plans.

Step 4: Check Your Packing List

The following is based on packing lists from the American College of Emergency Physicians and the Emory University TravelWell Clinic. You may not need every item on this list. Note that the first thing to avoid when traveling is back strain. Pack light! If you're traveling to a major city, you'll be able to buy just about any supply you can buy at home. If you have any doubt, take it along.

  • Prescription drugs, with a separate list in case you lose your luggage
  • Aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), or ibuprofen.
  • Antihistamine
  • Decongestant
  • Pepto-Bismol or a generic equivalent
  • Motion sickness medicine such as Dramamine or Transderm patches
  • Imodium for diarrhea
  • Sunscreen with at least 15 SPF, and a crushable, broad-brimmed hat
  • Insect repellent with DEET concentration of about 35%
  • Rehydration solution packets
  • 1% hydrocortisone cream
  • Water purification tablets
  • A mild sedative/sleeping pill such as Ambien
  • An anti-anxiety medication such as Xanax
  • A medical thermometer
  • Bandages of various sizes
  • Gauze pads and/or rolls
  • Adhesive tape
  • A small, sharp scissors with rounded tips (note: scissors are not allowed in carry-on luggage)
  • Tweezers to remove splinters or ticks
  • Antiseptic solution
  • Antacid
  • Mild laxative
  • Cough medicine such as Robitussin-DM or a generic equivalent
  • Antifungal lotion such as Lotrimin
  • Antibacterial ointment such as Bacitracin
  • Antibiotic for severe traveler's diarrhea
  • Antimalarial drugs, if prescribed by your doctor
  • Altitude sickness preventative such as Diamox
  • Hydrogen peroxide to disinfect and clean wounds
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizer
1 | 2
Reviewed on January 25, 2008

Hot Topics

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

Tips to help prevent clots.
checking blood sugar
Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.
acupuncture needle on shoulder
Live and thrive.
gloved hand holding syringe
10 preventable diseases.
lone star tick
How to identify that bite.
man eating meal
Folates, green tea and more.
brain scan with soda
Tips to avoid complications.
disciplining a boy
Types, symptoms, causes.
Woman with stressed, fatigue
Get relief tips.
restroom sign
Food and drinks that make you go.
two male hands
Understanding RA.

Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

It's nothing to sneeze at.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.