a family packing the car for a vacation, including a red bag

Vacation First Aid Kit

Taste for Life Staff
This content originally appeared on 

Before you head off on a summer road trip, put together a first-aid kit. Think basic and then pack your first-aid supplies in a handy, portable case that will fit easily into your car or suitcase. 

Dealing With Bugs

  • Avoid Toxic Repellents

    Research highlights adverse effects of DEET, malathion, and permethrin (used alone or in combination), particularly among the young. 

    Look for safe, natural repellents using essential oils of cedarwood, citronella, eucalyptus, geranium, and pine.

  • Repel Ticks Naturally

    To help prevent tick bites—and lower the risk of Lyme disease—wear protective clothing in tick-infested grassy or wooded areas.

    Oils of citronella, cloves, and lily of the valley “possessed repelling activities of the same magnitude as the repellent DEET” against ticks, say researchers, but without DEET’s side effects.

    Removing a Tick

    Carefully remove any ticks you find with tweezers and disinfect bites with tea tree oil or other antiseptic.

    Report any bull’s-eye rash to your healthcare provider immediately.

Travel-Related Ailments

Diarrhea, heat rash, motion sickness, poison ivy, sleeplessness, and sunburn are nuisances at any age—but can make kids (and anyone around them) downright miserable.

  • Soothing Foods

    For carsickness, it’s best to drink a little ginger tea before you drive off—and to bring along a thermos of tea, organic fruit, nuts, and whole-grain crackers.

  • Soothing Tea

    Chamomile tea is a time-honored natural solution for sleeplessness.

  • Soothing Topicals

    After too much fun in the sun, aloe vera or calendula creams or gels can help soothe burns.

First-Aid Kit Essentials

Items to consider include:

  • adhesive bandages (all sizes)
  • adhesive tape
  • aloe vera gel
  • antiseptic wipes
  • arnica cream or calendula lotion
  • cleansing agent/natural soap
  • cold pack
  • cotton swabs
  • flashlight and extra batteries
  • nonpetroleum jelly
  • packet of tissues
  • rolled gauze bandages (3 rolls)
  • safety pins (assorted sizes)
  • saline eye drops
  • scissors, preferably blunt
  • sewing needle
  • sterile gauze pads
  • sunblock or sunscreen
  • thermometer
  • tweezers
  • zinc lozenges