Twenty Essential Items Every DIY Travel First Aid Kit Must Have

Nobody plans for cuts, scrapes, or itchy rashes while on vacation. But if that slip on a gravel road leaves you with a cut up knee, or that walk through poison ivy has you frantically itching your leg, are you prepared? Or would you need to seek out the nearest store for bandages or anti-itch cream?

Must Have First Aid Kit

Don’t lose precious vacation time in search of the local pharmacy! Bring your own first aid kit instead. D0-It-Yourself (DIY) travel first aid kits are easy to make and easy to bring. You probably already have most of the essential items at home. The items you don’t have can be purchased at your local pharmacy, Target, Walmart, or other stores.

Not sure what to include in your DIY travel first aid kit? Here’s a peak inside my travel first aid kit, complete with my twenty essential first aid items. Use it as a guideline to build your own first aid kit. Then you too will be prepared for those minor first aid needs on your next vacation.

What’s Inside In My Travel First Aid Kit?

My travel first aid kit is an essential item on my “must have” travel gear list. It has bandaged up many a cut and scrape along our adventures. It has stopped the itch from a wasp’s painful sting while hiking trails. And most recently, it helped fix up a little toe that experienced an unfortunate encounter with a large rock.

My kit is well stocked with items essential for cleaning and bandaging cuts and scrapes. Even when luggage space is limited, there is always room for these wound care products.

  • Bandages of different shapes and sizes
  • Blister packs or bandages
  • Wound cleaner
  • Cleansing wipes
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Wound glue
  • Gauze pads

DIY First Aid Kit

Cuts and scrapes aren’t the only on-the-go first aid needs this traveling family has run into. So my travel first aid kit also includes the following items, essential for other minor first aid needs such as splinters, bug bites, and poison ivy.

  • Self-sticking first aid tape
  • Saline eye drops
  • Adhesive first aid tape
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors
  • Bug bite and anti-ich lotion
  • Cortisone cream
  • Latex free examination gloves
  • Alcohol swabs

DIY First Aid Kits

Last but not least are a few extra “just in case” first aid items. I find them very useful in the heat of the moment, or when that jaunt down the hill results in a twisted ankle.

  • Burn gel
  • Instant cold pack
  • Wrap for minor sprains
  • Hand sanitizer

First Aid Kit for Travelers

List complete! That’s the twenty essential items I stock in my DIY travel first aid kit.

First Aid Supplies Shopping Tip: Most items can be purchased in either small, travel sized tubes or single use packets, which I highly recommend. Travel sized tubes and single use packets will help keep the overall size of your kit to a minimum, and should pass TSA liquid requirements when packed in a carry-on bag.

And don’t forget the instant cold pack! It’ll come in handy more than you think.

Now, let’s get all this first aid gear packed up and ready to travel!

Packing Up Your Travel First Aid Kit

Your travel first aid kit doesn’t need to be anything fancy, nor does it need to be large. A simple, small zippered container works just fine. I prefer a container that has see-through windows, which enables for quick and easy location of items in a moment’s notice.

Travel First Aid

My travel first aid kit is a recycled bi-fold bag with a carabiner clip. It’s just the right size to hold nearly all my twenty essential items and allows me to see inside so I can easily find what I need in a flash.

DIY Travel First Aid

Once it’s zipped closed, the bag is quite compact, measuring a mere six inches by five inches, making it small enough to fit in a day bag or backpack. The attached carabiner clip is perfect for clipping the first aid kit where it’s needed most.

First Aid Kit Packing Tip: If your kit isn’t quite large enough to hold a roll of elastic wrap (mine isn’t), either pack it separate from the kit, or unroll it and fold it flat to fit into the kit.

Do You Have a Travel First Aid Kit?

And there you have it. A walk through my DIY travel first aid kit. Now go on and make your own so you too are well prepared to handle for those minor bumps, cuts, scrapes and bug bites that might occur on your next trip!

Do you travel with a first aid kit? What do you consider essential items in your first aid kit? Let us know in the Comments section below.


Non DIY First Aid Kit Option:

Don’t want to build your own, but still need a travel first aid kit? You can purchase a pre-made first aid kit from most outdoor and sporting goods stores, as well as online at websites like Amazon, REI, Cabelas and Campmor.

Images from C.Biederman and Softpedia (First Aid Sign)


  1. says

    Hi Carol, This is a great list of what to include in an emergency travel first aid kit! I always feel so unprepared when I travel, I would feel much better having a travel kit along with me.

    I’m not good about assembling a kit so I bought the one you linked to on Amazon. I will be much better prepared for our family vacation this summer!
    Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently posted..How to Use Group Pinterest Boards to Make Your Pins Go Viral!My Profile

    • carolbiederman says

      Hi Carolyn, glad I could help! And glad that you found a kit at Amazon that suits your needs. The Amazon kits are great “starter-kits” from which you can add to down the road, or if there is a specific item not included that you want. For example, most don’t include the on-the-go wound cleanser, which I find invaluable.

  2. says

    I just restocked my first aid kit tonight, so this was a great check list. I had forgot the tweezers, but added a few homeopathic items you don’t have.

    • carolbiederman says

      Hi Rhonda, thanks. I’m curious … what homeopathic items do you use? I’m always on the look-out for better ways!

    • carolbiederman says

      Hi Christina, thanks for sharing. Glad you got yourself a handy travel first aid kit! Ours has proved quite useful. It’s even helped other travelers who didn’t have one and needed a few band aids.
      Happy Travels!

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