What to pack when it isn’t just YOUR health

In my travels, I’ve had my own share of migraines, heel blisters, and even some…let’s just say “tummy trouble”. But dealing with my own issues has always seemed simpler and less worrisome than helping a student when they aren’t well. Maybe because I want their once-in-a-lifetime experience to only have happy memories.

When traveling by myself, I am nowhere near as well-prepared. I think it comes form a cavalier sense of “Oh, I’ll be alright.” But when I take kids, I go into momma mode, and pack everything. I got a small first aid kit, somewhere, a while ago. It’s the perfect size for all the most vital essentials! Here is one on Amazon that looks pretty comparable.

Mine is pictured below, as well as the contents of it. My main audience is teachers, so I used a PaperMate Flair pen (not sponsored) for size comparison. It isn’t really fully stocked now, but you can get the idea.

Here are the top things that I travel with (or purchase abroad) to help deal with student maladies. It’s a good idea to bring these with you, or know where/how to get them (or if you’ll be able to get them) in your destination.

  1. Bandages, bandages, bandages. Bring the adhesive bandages, in a couple of different sizes, and some gauze pads.
  2. Tape. For the gauze pads. Tape isn’t a bad idea to have anyhow, we once jerry-rigged a bus microphone holder out of a clothes hanger, so you probably won’t hate having tape along.
  3. Pain reliever. I know some people avoid acetaminophen (Tylenol), so you may want ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen sodium (Aleve).
  4. Antiseptic wipes. Purell and other brands make individually packaged wipes, or even a small baby wipes container of antibacterial wipes is a good idea. I bring one of those, so I can wipe down the plane surfaces. If I’m gonna sit there for a few hours, I don’t want to bask in someone else’s germs.
  5. Tweezers.
  6. Tummy medicine. Imodium or Pepto, and also maybe Tums.
  7. Motion sickness treatment. I learned this the hard way on a bus ride through Costa Rica. ALWAYS bring this. And if kids have ever gotten car sick before, dose them all before a long bus ride. (Obviously taking any of their health conditions into account.)
  8. Sunscreen. It’s possible to get stick form, which is NOT a liquid and more travel-friendly, although it’s much easier to miss a spot with a stick than with spray. This might be a “buy it there” or checked luggage thing. This is sometimes one of the reasons I check my bag. Because you will want sunscreen.
  9. Sunburn gel. Yeah. Even if you have SPF100+, if you are like me and take a bunch of pale, sun-deprived midwestern kids to a tropical paradise, they’re gonna burn. And you know what feels REALLY bad on sunburn? That rough cloth of an airplane seat. Any sort of cooling gel or lotion is really helpful. Again, likely a checked bag thing. This can be harder to find while traveling, and if you buy it where & when you need it, you’ll probably end up paying hotel gift shop prices.
  10. Period products. Yes, even if you won’t use them. And yes, both pads and tampons. Because some young ladies only use one or the other. Not everyone is comfortable with tampons. Not all underwear is compatible with pads. And for those of you who are not period product users: ultra thin with wings. Trust me.
  11. Hydration packs. This may seem like an odd thing to recommend, but after motion sickness, dehydration has been the cause of almost all other student issues. Headaches, lightheaded feelings, stomach just feels weird, all sorts of things come down to dehydration. Airplane air is dry. Museums are dry. We often walk more while traveling. It’s hot and we sweat. Even if you constantly remind students to hydrate, it’s a good idea to have something that gives a bit extra power to a bottle of water. Because flying with Gatorade or Pedialyte is not practical, having some electrolyte powder packets that can be added to a water bottle helps that water get the job done faster.

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