Skip to main content

BEACON Senior News

Pack like a pro: 12 must-have medications for travel

May 29, 2024 07:00PM ● By Suzy Cohen

For peace of mind while traveling this summer, it’s important to be prepared to handle the little things. 

From my own experiences, I’ve compiled a list of the 12 most important medications and supplements to bring on your next trip. I like to take unit-dose pills or capsules to save valuable suitcase space and prevent the hassle of hunting for pharmacies in unfamiliar places. You might even find some surprising items on my list that you hadn’t considered before.

Antihistamine - For mild allergic reactions or itchy rashes. Use Claritin during the day for non-drowsy relief and Benadryl at night.

Cold medicine - A nasal spray can clear up congestion or relieve a sinus headache.

Anti-itch cream - Hydrocortisone cream relieves itching from bug bites, rashes or other minor skin irritations.

Sleep aid - Not sleeping on your trip will cause misery! Melatonin is recommended for adjusting to new time zones and combating jet lag. Benadryl can also be used as a secondary option for its sedative effects. 

Eye drops - Redness-reliever eye drops can soothe eyes irritated by air travel or allergies.

Earplugs - Silicone earplugs are effective for blocking out noise and ensuring a good night’s sleep.

Pain reliever - Ibuprofen or acetaminophen can address pain from headaches, toothaches and muscle aches. Acetaminophen is also preferable for fever reduction.

Anti-diarrhea medication -  Imodium, coupled with probiotics, can help manage symptoms of traveler’s diarrhea.

Electrolyte solution - Pedialyte® or similar products in powder form help replenish fluids and electrolytes lost to diarrhea or vomiting, and they can also prevent leg cramps.

Antacids - Tums or Pepcid AC can relieve heartburn or acid reflux, especially after meals like spicy pozole rojo.

Bandages and antibiotic ointment - Essential for treating minor cuts and scrapes. Pack Neosporin and bandages to handle small injuries.

Ginger capsules - Great for nausea or motion sickness.

If you’re traveling with insulin and needles, inform the airline ahead of time and pack them in your carry-on luggage. Refer to TSA guidelines to ensure compliance with proper labeling and temperature control measures.

Packing these over-the-counter medications and supplements can prevent or alleviate many travel-related health issues, so you can focus on enjoying your trip. For those with chronic medical conditions requiring prescription medications, always pack them in their original packaging or prescription bottle to avoid any complications with security or customs.

Finally, consider the destination. Some countries pose a higher risk for diseases such as traveler’s diarrhea, cholera and typhoid fever due to varying levels of sanitation and water treatment. 


For more articles and advice, sign up for Suzy’s newsletter at

Sign up for our Newsletter

* indicates required
I am a/n...