Per a 2017 report, Californians forfeited 97 million paid days off. Almost half of people in the U.S. do not use all of their time off, and there are five reasons why this is so common.

  • Don’t need all of the time off they get.
  • Don’t want to fall behind at work.
  • Don’t want to push work onto a coworker’s to-do list.
  • Time away may impact their hopes for a promotion.
  • They fear time away will lead to their termination.

Vacations and time away are important for bonding with your family, reducing stress, and improving your mental health. It allows you the break you need to return to work with a positive, energized outlook.

If you have vacation time available, use them this summer but be safe when you’re away. You don’t want to have that vacation turn into a miserable time by not being prepared. Our checklist of the things you should pack in a first aid kit helps you go on vacation without putting your health or safety at risk.

Our Fresno Doctor’s Recommendations for Essential First-Aid Supplies to Pack

What should you pack in your first aid kit? These are the essentials to consider, though you may not need everything on this list. Pick and choose what fits your preferences. This list is comprehensive and designed to cover all potential vacation needs.

Insect Bites:

  • An insect repellent
  • Antihistamine
  • Calamine lotion
  • An EpiPen if you are allergic to certain insects
  • Hydrocortisone cream


  • Any prescriptions you take
  • Diabetic supplies like test strips, insulin, glucose tabs, if necessary
  • Vitamins and supplements that are recommended by your doctor

Pain Relief:

  • Hot/cold pack that can be frozen or heated in a microwave, depending on your needs
  • Muscle rub
  • Over-the-counter pain medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil)

Sunburns and Protection:

  • Aloe gel or spray
  • A broad-spectrum mineral-based sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher
  • Burn cream or spray
  • Unscented moisturizing lotion

Wound Care:

  • Ace (elastic) bandage
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Assorted bandages
  • Gauze pads and rolls
  • Hand sanitizers
  • Liquid bandage
  • Medical scissors
  • Medical tape
  • Tweezers


  • A digital thermometer, especially handy if traveling with children
  • Anti-diarrheal and anti-nausea medications
  • Eyewash
  • Face mask
  • Foil (emergency) blanket
  • Non-perishable protein bars and water in case you’re stranded for a day or two before help arrives
  • Tick removal tool
  • Water disinfection tablets

Tailor Your Kit to Your Specific Needs and the Destination

As you pack your first aid kit, make sure you tailor it to your destination and any health issues you have. If you’re heading to the beach and are allergic to flea bites, have an antihistamine packed in case you get bitten by a sand flea. Depending on the severity of your allergy, you may need an EpiPen.

With any severe allergy, have an EpiPen available. Check the date and the number of doses left before you go. If it’s almost expired or not enough left, see a doctor to get the prescription filled prior to your trip.

You’re planning on camping, so make sure you have a first aid kit that covers the medical emergencies you might face in the woods. Topical ointments for stings and insect bites are important. You should also have an Ace bandage in case you twist an ankle while hiking. Bandages for cuts and scrapes are also important. Burn cream is a must if you plan on building a campfire or using a charcoal grill.

Sticking on the topic of camping for a while, make sure you have a satellite messenger in case you get lost or injured and need help. Don’t rely solely on cellphone service as you might be remote enough that there’s no reliable service.

If you’re taking a cruise, as there are medical professionals on board, you may not need as many first aid supplies. You do need your medications, however, and you need to make sure they’re not expired or soon to run out.

Be Aware of Airline, Cruise, and Train Policies

Research the rules on bringing prescription medications and other necessary medical supplies with you when you’re flying, taking a train, or on a cruise. If you can’t find the information call and talk to a customer service professional to get the answers you need.

Most cruise lines allow you to bring medications and necessary first aid supplies, but they should be in your carry-on bags and in the original containers. Medical scissors are allowed per Royal Caribbean as long as the blades are less than 4 inches. 

Airlines also allow medications and things like medical scissors, but the scissors should be wrapped to protect anyone checking your bags from getting stabbed. Medications must be in their original packaging with a clearly legible label. 

There are limitations on how much liquid you can carry. Prescription medications are usually exempt, but liquids, sprays, creams, and gels are limited to bottles and cans of 3.4 ounces or less and they must fit in a quart-sized bag to go into your carry-on. Sometimes, it’s better to buy what you need when you reach your destination. Prescription medications go with you, but items like sunscreen you can purchase when you get there.

Amtrak allows you to bring medical supplies and prescription medication, too, but they are not responsible if it is stolen or lost. For that reason, they state you should carry it with you and not put it in checked baggage.

Make sure you tell people where you’re going and have a list of emergency contacts available as a precaution. A laminated card in your wallet or purse is a good idea. Note any allergies or health issues you have on that card, and don’t forget to include your doctor’s contact information.

See a Doctor Before You Go

Depending on your destination, it might be recommended that you see a doctor before you go on vacation. Do this a month before you leave. It’s the best way to ensure you have the recommended vaccines and medications. You’ll have a new prescription and enough refills to cover your time away. It also gives you time to get any recommended blood work before you go.  

Premium Urgent Care has your back if you need anything before you go on vacation. Heading to a country like Costa Rica where malaria pills are recommended? We can help. Get vaccinations updated, make sure you have enough medication to last your trip, and go away with peace of mind that you can focus on having a great vacation.