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What Medicines to Pack for a Trip Abroad

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I have a little bag of over the counter medicines that I bring with me when I travel abroad. I learned the hard way. There is nothing worse than getting sick when traveling and not being able to find the medicine you need. Medicines can be harder to find abroad, and language barriers add extra challenges. Today I am sharing a list of what medicines to pack for a trip abroad.

Advil or Alka Stelzer – I like to be prepared to treat a hangover. Sometimes a casual happy hour drink can turn into a night of partying. And aren’t those the best nights?

A Sleep Aid– This will help you fight jet lag. Sometimes even if you fall asleep easily, you won’t stay asleep. I struggle with this when I travel to Asia. For the first two nights I will take a sleep aid to help me sleep through the night. This helps me adjust to the time zone. I also take a sleep aid during the flight to help me adjust to the time zone before I even arrive at my destination. You can read more about tackling jet lag here.

Allergy Meds – My go-to is Allegra. Just because you don’t have allergies at home, it doesn’t mean that they won’t start bothering you when you travel. I always have allergy meds on me when I travel because some of them make me super loopy, and I want to have one that I like with me.

Sudafed – Buying medicine in foreign countries can be challenging. There can be language barriers, and in general, things like cold medicine are easier to find in the US because we have so many pharmacies, bodegas, convenience stores, and grocery stores that stock those types of things. Often times something like cold medicine is only sold at a pharmacy abroad, and if you are in a small town, there might not be a pharmacy. In the US, we are used to larger hotels selling basic convenience items, but this is less common outside of the US. I was so happy that I had packed Sudafed with me when I was in Serbia because I suddenly came down with a nasty cold.

Pepto Bismol, Immodium, and Tums – This is a “better safe than sorry situation”. You can buy Pepto in tablet form, and a sheet of the tablets takes up the tiniest amount of space in my bag. I also bring a mini roll of tums with me. You might try some new foods that might not agree with you when you travel, and I like to be prepared for the worst.

Cough Drops – I came down with a terrible cough when I was in Serbia and Bosnia and had the hardest time finding cough drops – even pharmacies and grocery stores didn’t have them. From now on I am adding a small package of cough drops to my travel bag.

Plus a few essentials that aren’t really medicines:

Airborne or E-mergenc – Charles and I like to take this after a long flight.

Tissues – I always have a couple travel packs of tissues with me. Sometimes I unexpectedly get a runny nose on a flight. I always have some tissues in my purse since I have been at rest stops and tourist sites that don’t have any toilet paper in the bathrooms.

Tampons – This falls into the category of something that is really easy to find in America, but it can be slightly challenging if you are in a remote area.

Contact Lens Solution and Extra Contacts – I ran out of solution while we were in Croatia and it was surprisingly hard to find. It isn’t sold at grocery stores or stores that sell other health products – you need to go to a pharmacy instead.

And as a sidenote, if you are on any prescription medicines, do your research before traveling. When I had an emergency tooth extraction 4 days before flying to Japan I was prescribed a narcotic. I didn’t take it, but I almost brought it on the trip just in case. Thank goodness I didn’t because you are not allowed to bring narcotics into many Asian countries. I am not expert on this topic, but bringing a narcotic into a foreign country probably isn’t the best idea.

Do you have some go-to meds that you bring when you travel? I know that this might sound like a lot – but I do take the pills out of their boxes and just bring one sheet of the tablets with me. They take up the smallest amount of space in my bag.

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