11 items to pack in your travel medical kit

What to put in your carry-on bag before you leave home

Published: July 05, 2014 06:00 AM

Find Ratings

When you leave home, it pays to be prepared in case you get sick. Although you might be able to find medication at your destination, you could fall ill late at night and pharmacies might be closed.

And if you're going abroad, consider that the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that as many as 50 percent of the drugs on shelves in the developing world are substandard or counterfeit. No matter where your travels take you, the CDC recommends bringing the following items in a carry-on bag that you keep with you.

  • Your prescription medications in their original containers with your name and dosing regimen on the label (take what you'll need for the duration of your trip, plus a few extra days' worth just in case).
  • Copies of your prescriptions, including the generic names of the drugs.
  • Pain medication, such as acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen.
  • An over-the-counter drug for diarrhea, such as loperamide (Imodium A-D and generic) or bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol and generic).
  • A mild laxative.
  • An antacid.
  • An antihistamine, a decongestant, and a cough suppressant for colds and allergies.
  • Medication for motion sickness.
  • A hand sanitizer (at least 60 percent alcohol).


Editor's Note:

This article also appeared in the June 2014 issue of Consumer Reports on Health.

Find Ratings

Airline travel Ratings

View and compare all Airline travel ratings.

E-mail Newsletters

FREE e-mail Newsletters! Choose from cars, safety, health, and more!
Already signed-up?
Manage your newsletters here too.

Health News


Cars Build & Buy Car Buying Service
Save thousands off MSRP with upfront dealer pricing information and a transparent car buying experience.

See your savings


Mobile Get Ratings on the go and compare
while you shop

Learn more