My overall tip for packing for a trip is less is more. Most things can be purchased abroad. No need to bring everything.
The exception, for many reasons, are over-the-counter drugs.
This mostly applies to international travel or any types of travel where it may be hard to find a drug store, target, or CVS. But, it is still a good idea to pack some basics so you don’t have to go out in the middle of the night looking for something for your kid.
Why bring over-the-counter medication on your trip?
Difficulty finding over-the-counter medication
In some countries, you can’t get OTCs over the counter. You have to speak to a pharmacist. In many European countries, pharmacies are open regular shop hours. That’s not a lot. They could be closed on Sundays, some Saturdays, after 6pm. You just don’t know.
Difficulty finding English speakers or English instructions
Plus, there’s the language barrier. While everyone in the world will likely say, “don’t worry people who work in pharmacies KNOW English,” you can’t depend on this. In my city I have three pharmacies within a 5-minute walk from my apartment. My chance of speaking to someone in those pharmacies who knows English? Slim. (Side note: it’s ok because my German can usually get me by, but this is not the case when I’m outside of Germany.)
Even if you do get an English speaker, the instructions will likely not be in English. And you do not want to be up at 2:00am trying to understand the pamphlet of information using Google Translate.
Difficulty finding the types of medicine you have back home
Different types of medication. You flat-out get less for your buck in some places. This can be anything from less-effective medication, to fewer actual pills. You can definitely get stronger medication if needed, but those usually require a prescription, which requires a visit to a doctor, which requires figuring out how to make a doctor’s appointment, which requires paying for the doctor’s appointment, which requires more and more time – when you could have brought drugs that were probably just as effective with you and saved the hassle.
What kind of meds should you pack?
This depends on you, your kids, and the trip you are going on. Bring a few things for regular colds and fevers, something for allergies, diarrhea, bee-stings, anti-bacteria cream, and a thermometer is a good place to start.
For a more complete list of recommended items, check out the CDC’s website. They also have information about packing prescription medication.
Anabel is writing about some of her favorite places in the A-to-Z Challenge. Visit her blog today!