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Medicines to Carry While Travelling Abroad from India

Travelling abroad is an experience most people eagerly plan for. No matter how good a planner you are, there is always room for improvement. International travel means new people, new climate and, sadly, new risks. The risk of falling sick or facing minor health issues abroad is pretty high, so packing a few essential meds will go a long way.

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Plans for an individual of 30 years age travelling to USA for 15 days

Importance of Travel First Aid Kit

Travelling abroad can be for numerous reasons. You could be travelling urgently for a conference, or it is a much-awaited winter vacation you planned with your loved ones. Whatever the reason, everyone wants to have a memorable and relaxing time abroad.

Sadly, there is no telling when your health acts up. This could be because of a change in climate or sudden change in food intake. Your health can also suffer because of prior health issues or external factors beyond your control. Carefully packing an essential first aid kit can help with many such health issues.

A well-stocked emergency medical kit can save your carefully planned vacation from falling apart. A good travel first aid kit consists of common medical supplies you will most likely need abroad. They usually include a portable collection of stomach remedies, antihistamines, pain relievers, common cold medicines, antiseptic wipes, etc.

Even a small kit containing these medicines can help you during minor health emergencies. They also help save money in case of self-manageable medical emergencies. However, health comes first, and you should always have sufficient backup for emergencies. Along with your kit, make sure you buy travel insurance covering any hospitalisation and other expensive emergencies.

How to Pack your Medical Kit for an International Trip?

Anybody who has travelled a few times knows they can't bring the same things everywhere. Each trip differs with location, climate, season and activities. Just like your travel checklist, your list of essential medicines abroad will also vary. You must consider the following factors while packing your travel first aid box:

  • Activities you plan to Undertake: Hikers, trekkers, skiers, etc., may need pain relief patches, support bandages, ORS, etc.
  • The Busyness or Remoteness of your Destination: Metropolitan areas have better amenities, whereas an off-route location may not have medical care readily available.
  • Your Prior Health Conditions: Basic first aid is sufficient if you're healthy. However, if you have a prior health condition like
  • Your Dietary Requirements: If you have IBS or lactose intolerance, ensure you have sufficient enzymes/drops to manage your food restrictions abroad.
  • Geographical Health Risks: Asses the infections and related vaccination or precautions needed for the area you're visiting. For example, carry a portable water filter to places with water infection or scarcity.

You May Like to Read: Travel Without Compromising Your Dietary Needs

Travel First Aid Kit: Checklist

Considering the needs of different travellers, here are some essential medicines you must pack for your international trip.

Common Medical Supplies

  • Antacids
  • Diarrhoea medicines
  • Anti-allergens (antihistamine)
  • Motion sickness medicines
  • Cough drops
  • Pain and fever medicines (aspirin/paracetamol/ibuprofen)
  • Mild laxatives
  • Decongestant

Prescription Medicines

If you suffer from any health condition and need medication regularly, ensure you carry your medicines abroad. You must have enough supplies to last your entire trip.

  • All your ongoing prescriptions, if any
  • Antibiotics for traveller's diarrhoea
  • Insulin

Prescription medicines should be kept in their original packing to avoid any confusion during security checks. You should also carry a letter from your doctor, which states the name of the drugs, doses and other relevant details. Furthermore, check for drug restrictions in your destination country to avoid any issues later.

Pro Tip: If you have a pre-existing condition like diabetes or heart-related issues, then make sure to declare them to your insurer. You can buy international travel insurance plans with PED coverage for your foreign trip.

Preventative Medical Supplies

  • Hand sanitisers
  • Insect repellents
  • Sunscreen to avoid sunburns
  • Water purification tablets

First-Aid Supplies

  • Antibacterial and antifungal ointments
  • Cotton swabs
  • Sterile bandages
  • ORS (Oral rehydration salts)
  • Antiseptic wound cleaner
  • Insect bite cream or hydrocortisone cream
  • Tweezers
  • Sterile eye dressings
  • Crêpe rolled bandages
  • Medical tape and safety pins


  • Portable water filter if trekking or hiking in remote areas
  • Thermometer
  • Glucometer if you're diabetic
  • Asthma inhalers if you're asthmatic

If you have a special medical device, please confirm with your airline and the destination country regarding its legality/handling.


  • Important doctor's prescription
  • Any health certificate or vaccination proof as specified
  • Proof of travel health insurance from India to avoid any major medical expenses abroad
  • Your emergency contact details, along with details of the Indian Embassy of that country

Will Medicines Prescribed in India be Available Abroad?

Each country has varying rules and regulations when it comes to drug distribution. Medical supplies, including prescription drugs, can be easily purchased in many countries. Whereas many countries have a very strict drug control that requires a physician's prescription.

You can easily find over-the-counter common medicines like anti-allergens and pain relievers. To avoid any confusion, keep a list of their generic names and purposes in case you lose your medicines for reasons beyond your control.

In case your prescribed medicines run out, it is best if you coordinate with a licensed healthcare provider or a local pharmacist to find an alternative. They will help you select an effective alternative medication if available. However, please try to carry your own medicines for the trip. The risk of getting counterfeit medicines is higher abroad, especially if you visit a non-English-speaking country.

Wrapping it Up,

With some care, you can have a safe and relaxing time abroad. Make sure to follow these tips and pack your vacation bag carefully. At the same time, don't ignore your trip insurance. It is the ultimate safeguard for medical emergencies that a first aid kit may not always handle. Besides health emergencies, it will cover many travel emergencies like bounced bookings, trip cancellations and flight delays. In many cases, international travel insurance also helps meet mandatory entry requirements for your destination while ensuring your peace of mind abroad.

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*Price shown is for a 30 day trip to Thailand with 1 lakh dollar coverage for an adult of age 25 years

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