The Lifesaving Items That Doctors Always Pack On Vacation

Medical experts recommend taking face masks, hand sanitizer, tweezers, tape and more whenever you travel.
Travel like a medical professional with this <a href="" target="_blank" data-affiliate="true" role="link" data-amazon-link="true" rel="sponsored" class=" js-entry-link cet-external-link" data-vars-item-name="radiation-detection keychain" data-vars-item-type="text" data-vars-unit-name="62f54abfe4b0da517ef6c2d1" data-vars-unit-type="buzz_body" data-vars-target-content-id="" data-vars-target-content-type="url" data-vars-type="web_external_link" data-vars-subunit-name="article_body" data-vars-subunit-type="component" data-vars-position-in-subunit="0">radiation-detection keychain</a>, a <a href="" target="_blank" data-affiliate="true" role="link" data-amazon-link="true" rel="sponsored" class=" js-entry-link cet-external-link" data-vars-item-name="compact roll of duct tape" data-vars-item-type="text" data-vars-unit-name="62f54abfe4b0da517ef6c2d1" data-vars-unit-type="buzz_body" data-vars-target-content-id="" data-vars-target-content-type="url" data-vars-type="web_external_link" data-vars-subunit-name="article_body" data-vars-subunit-type="component" data-vars-position-in-subunit="1">compact roll of duct tape</a> and a travel pack of<a href="" target="_blank" data-affiliate="true" role="link" data-amazon-link="true" rel="sponsored" class=" js-entry-link cet-external-link" data-vars-item-name=" NIOSH-Certified N95 masks." data-vars-item-type="text" data-vars-unit-name="62f54abfe4b0da517ef6c2d1" data-vars-unit-type="buzz_body" data-vars-target-content-id="" data-vars-target-content-type="url" data-vars-type="web_external_link" data-vars-subunit-name="article_body" data-vars-subunit-type="component" data-vars-position-in-subunit="2"> NIOSH-Certified N95 masks.</a>
Travel like a medical professional with this radiation-detection keychain, a compact roll of duct tape and a travel pack of NIOSH-Certified N95 masks.

My idea of travel preparedness doesn’t always take into account the many mishaps that could potentially occur when venturing away from home. Because of this, I often find myself scrambling to find items locally, all while cursing myself in the process. If this sounds like you, listen up, because we took a peek into the suitcases of doctors to see just what lifesaving items they keep on hand whenever they go on vacation.

This might go without saying, but according to Dr. Sterling N. Ransone Jr., president of the American Academy of Family Physicians and a full-time family physician in Deltaville, Virginia, having a really good grasp on your specific medical conditions or allergies and the medications needed to treat them is absolutely essential to vacationing safely. (The American Academy of Family Physicians does not endorse any products or services.)

“It’s important to include a one- to two-day day supply of medications taken for chronic conditions, like diabetes or high blood pressure. Things happen. You never know when your luggage may be lost or stolen. A small supply in your first aid kit will relieve worry until your doctor’s office can arrange for a refill near you,” Ransone told HuffPost.

He said that this list can include things like epipens, inhalers, glucose kits or aids used to treat coronary issues.

Outside of the realm of medicine, Ransone also said that he packs copies of identifications, passports and health insurance cards for each person traveling. “You never know when you may need to seek care due to accident or illness. It’s also good to have extra copies on hand in case you fall victim to theft,” he said.

You can keep unpacking Ransone’s luggage in the list below, in addition to seeing the travel recommendations of a couple other physicians, too. (The AAFP doesn’t endorse specific products or services, so we’ve chosen products that align with Ransone’s advice.) This thorough yet travel-friendly lineup of products and gadgets takes into account every fall, scrape, sprain and cough that you might encounter whether you’re on the beaches of Tahiti or scaling the Rocky Mountains.

HuffPost may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Every item is independently selected by the HuffPost Shopping team. Prices and availability are subject to change.

A five-pack of NIOSH-certified N95 masks
Ransone cautioned that COVID-19 is still very much a risk in many places, so he always makes sure to pack plenty of protective face masks. These N95 respirator masks come in a convenient resealable travel pack and are made by a Florida-based medical device company. They have also been tested and certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health for filtering out at least 95% of airborne particles.
An economy pack of hand sanitizers and wipes made just for travel
For the same reason listed above, Ransone will also always travel with a germ-busting rotation of sanitizing wipes and liquid. Both of these options are extremely high-rated and trusted options for germ protection in addition to being perfectly packaged for travel. The mini alcohol-based sanitizer bottles come in a pack of eight and there are 10 packs of wipes, with 20 wipes in each pack.
A two-pack of pocket-sized strips of duct tape
According to Ransone, there's not much that he can't fix with duct tape, whether it be used to close wounds or secure splints. That being said, who wants to tote around a huge roll of duct tape around in their suitcase? These flat, pocket-sized mini rolls have 5 yards' worth of tape each and solve that problem instantly.

Ransone also recommends what he calls "buddy tape," which are cushioned bandages that can be useful for stabilizing jammed or sprained toes and fingers.
An instant-dry mineral sunscreen stick with an ultra-sheer finish
Ransone advised always traveling with a sunscreen of at least SPF15 or higher (although most dermatologists will tell you that SPF30 and up is the best way to go). This particular stick sunscreen was previously recommended to HuffPost by board-certified dermatologist Dr. Alexis Young of Hackensack University Medical Center. It’s an instant-dry solid with SPF50 that utilizes zinc oxide (a dermatologist favorite for sun protection) and contains vitamin E for added antioxidant benefits. It’s also non-greasy, smooth and water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.
A radiation detection key chain
Dr. Jane M. Orient, executive director of Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, told HuffPost that she always carries a NukAlert radiation detector, a small portable device that constantly reads for dangerous levels of radiation around you. It has a battery life of 10 years or more and meets the Electromagnetic Pulse Protection immunity guidelines. Its maker says NukAlert is safe, effective and used by the Department of Defense. If you want to travel with this device, you may wish to check with your airline to see if it can get through security checks or if it should remain in your checked luggage.

For a more affordable alternative, Orient also said that she uses the RADTriage FIT card, which can fit in your pocket or wallet.
A miniature eyeglass repair kit
Whether you're an eyeglasses or sunglasses wearer or both, Ransone told HuffPost that having a mini eyeglass repair kit on hand when you travel can be very helpful. This universal set helps repair glasses, even if they are missing small screws, and comes with a helpful magnifying component to help make things a bit easier.
A 50-pack of DEET-infused towelettes for protection on the go
"I hate getting itchy bug bites when traveling. Insect repellent wipes really help. Plus, preventing bites can help you avoid certain infectious illnesses, like Zika and Lyme disease," Ransone said.

These towelettes each contain 30% DEET, one of the most reliable ingredients used to repel Lyme-carrying ticks, and can be rubbed onto exposed patches of skin to provide up to seven hours of protection. The water-based formula is low-odor, non-greasy and non-staining.

"Talk with your family physician if there are vaccines you should get before traveling to parts of the world where these infections are common," Ransone added.
An 8-pack of self-adhering bandages infused with antibiotic ointment
"It’s almost inevitable that someone will get cut or scraped during a trip. Be sure to pack triple antibiotic ointment ([such as] Neosporin) and assorted-size adhesive bandages," Ransome said.

These popular bandages are already conveniently infused with the infection-fighting power of Neosporin and offer a four-sided seal to offer even greater protection against dirt and germs.
A 100-pack of antibacterial soap sheets
"Sheets of camping soap are small, lightweight, and very useful. I use them to wash my hands or to clean wounds," Ransone said. These portable sheets of soap are antibacterial and formulated with nourishing plant extracts. All you need is a little bit of water to turn one of these sheets in a rich foaming lather!
A leak-proof collapsible water bottle
Ransone always packs a collapsible water bottle whenever he travels (especially if it's to warmer climates) because beyond offering hydration, it can also be used to store many of the items listed above.

This particular option comes highly rated on Amazon, is made with BPA-free plastic and features a leak-proof drink spout.
A compact kit with multiple safety uses
"A set of tweezers, nail clippers and small tweezers have multiple uses, especially when traveling with small children," Ransone said. "Tweezers are helpful for removing splinters and cleaning debris from open wounds. Scissors are often necessary for cutting gauze and tape."

This portable set features seven stainless steel tools and has nearly 10,300 five-star-ratings on Amazon. Some reviewers on Amazon have been able to fly with this this in their carry-on, however, you should check with your specific airline to see if you would need to pop this into your checked luggage instead.
A popular anti-itch hydrocortisone cream
Dr. Omer Deen, president of the Los Angeles County Medical Association, told HuffPost that he will often travel with hydrocortisone cream, a topical ingredient that can treat a number of itch-causing conditions from eczema to poison ivy exposure and insect bites. This maximum strength cream contains 1% hydrocortisone as well as soothing aloe to provide relief for up to 10 hours.
Thirty packets of a popular immunity booster that has 69,000 five-star Amazon ratings
Another essential that always finds its way in Orient's luggage is vitamin C. These individual powder sachets by Emergen-C contain 1,000mg of vitamin C and are chock full of antioxidants and electrolytes to give your immune system extra support –– which can be important when you're out traveling and possibly exposing yourself to more germs or viruses than usual. As is the case with any supplement, always take with caution and consult with your doctor first before consuming.
A 16-pack of anti-nausea tablets that are great for motion sickness
"Meclizine ([such as] Bonine) is an antihistamine that’s used to treat dizziness, nausea and vomiting caused by motion sickness. It’s effective for seasickness as well as motion sickness caused by long car and train rides," Ransone told HuffPost.

As always, first speak with your medical provider before taking these chewable tablets and closely follow the dosage instructions provided by the company.
A trusted antihistamine for allergic reactions
Nearly every doctor mentioned an over-the-counter antihistamine like Benadryl. Ransone told HuffPost that it could come in handy for managing allergic reactions, allergies and itching.

This 100-count bottle contains 25mg capsules and has an impressively high rating on Amazon. If you decide to add this to your shopping cart, be sure to consult with your doctor first before taking any antihistamine and closely follow the recommended dosage instructions.

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A luggage-mounted cup caddy

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