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Travelling with medicine

Where you’re going on holiday and what’s in your travel medicine bag matters.

Did you know that nearly 65% of travellers to the developing world report a health-related problem during their trip?

Most of these health issues are small problems – such as skin disorders and respiratory infections. They might cause you a bit of inconvenience, but they won’t ruin your trip. That is of course if you have a travel medicine bag. For the major health issues you’ll have travel insurance, but for minor issues a travel medicine bag allows you to treat yourself without making a medical claim – or helps begin treatment before a medical professional arrives. Indeed, needing to seek medical care is still a real possibility, with 8% of travellers sick enough to do so.

Being prepared while on the road

Whenever you go on holiday, it is important to be prepared for all types of medical events. Combing your travel insurance with a travel medical bag is a great start!

What medication should you take on holiday?

Your Prescriptions

These are your essentials. If you have pre-existing medical conditions and you are currently taking medication, you will need to bring along enough of your medication to last your entire trip. You may be able to refill your medication at a pharmacy abroad, but the exact same medication may not be available. Also, you might not be able to access it without a doctor’s prescription from that country – or you could have to pay more for it.

Which means it’s best to bring all of the medication that you will need so that you don’t have to worry about trying to find your specific medication in a foreign pharmacy.

Basic First Aid Supplies

Stocking up on basic first aid supplies is great for two reasons: they cover a broad range of treatments, and you won’t have to look around for them in an unfamiliar place.

It is also a good idea to have some supplies in your suitcase so that you can be prepared for the most common ailments that might strike when you travel; such as headaches, colds, or an upset stomach. You could even keep them in a small first aid case within your luggage.

Here are some of the crucial things your travel medicine bag should have:

  • Plasters
  • Gauze
  • Surgical tape
  • Small scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Pain relief medication
  • Loperamide tablets (for stopping diarrhoea)
  • Antihistamines
  • Antibacterial cream
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • Aloe vera (for soothing sunburn)
  • Bug bite lotion

Additional information about your medical condition

It might be the case that your medical condition requires urgent attention. For example, if you have an allergy which causes anaphylaxis, or you’re susceptible to diabetic shock. In such circumstances where you are unaware of your surroundings, it is important that other people know how to treat you. If your pre-existing medical condition could cause this scenario, it is also worth keeping the following information in your travel medicine bag:

  • The name of your medical condition
  • A list your prescribed medication (including dosage)
  • Next of kin contact details
  • Your doctor’s contact details
  • Places on your body that are painful (if applicable)
  • Possible triggers of your condition
  • Symptoms of a decline in your health
  • Your travel insurance details

Taking your travel insurance documents

Keeping your travel insurance details in your travel medicine bag will remind you exactly which medical emergency assistance team to call in the event of an emergency. In addition, if you become incapacitated the details will also help avoid any confusion as to where you are brought for treatment. In fact, it’s a good idea to keep not only a printed copy in your travel medicine bag, but also a digital copy as a backup in your email.

Need to buy travel Insurance?

A travel medicine bag is a great tool, but you still need specialist travel insurance as well. If you are planning a trip why not consider AlClear?

Benefits of AllClear Cover

Gold Gold Plus Platinum
Emergency medical expenses and Repatriation costs Up to £10m Up to £15m Unlimited
Cancellation* and Curtailment Up to £2k Up to £15k Up to £25k
Travel Delay Up to £300 Up to £1,500 Up to £1,500
Recuperation stay
Personal Belongings Up to £2k Up to £2.5k Up to £3k
Personal liability Up to £2m Up to £2m Up to £2m
Legal protection cover Up to £50k Up to £50k Up to £100k
* If you buy a policy which includes cancellation cover
All these figures are per person and per trip

Simple 3 step quote process

1. Call us or click a quote button on our site

Once you are ready to start the quote process, the first step is to provide your personal details and information about your holiday plans.

2. Complete our simple medical screening process

You then declare the medical conditions for you (and any other travellers) and answer the specifically designed medical questions.

3. Get your quotes

You will then get your quotes and can either proceed to buy, or save your quote, at this stage.

Article sources:

The information in this blog post is not intended to replace professional medical advice. It is a general overview of a broad medical care topic. Blog posts are not tailored to one person’s specific medical requirements, diagnosis or treatment. If you do notice symptoms or you require medical advice, you should always consult your doctor or healthcare provider to obtain professional medical help. Read through our disclaimer for more information.

Author notes

Written by Lydia Crispin, MA Content Creator at AllClear
Edited by Letitia Smith, M.Sc. Content Manager at AllClear

Written by: Lydia Crispin | Travel Insurance Expert
Last Updated: 1 March 2022


† Based on Trustpilot reviews of all companies in the Travel Insurance Company category that have over 70,000 reviews as of January 2024. AllClear Gold Plus achieved a Which? Best Buy.