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Pack Smartly, enjoy your tripPacking for your vacation is one of the most important things you have to do before leaving.
It is essential to pack smart for your trip to make sure that you do not forget anything important. This will help ensure a safe, enjoyable and worry-free trip.

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Aside from your clothes, the following things will be useful to have during your trip.

  • Copies of your passport and travel documents. Place a copy of your passport and travel documents in each piece of luggage, in case you lose the original documents. Don’t forget to leave a copy with a friend or relative at home.
  • Items that might go in your travel health kit.


Read What can I bring when boarding a plane? to know permitted and prohibited items, including medicines that you are allowed to carry onto an airplane.

Keep in mind that some items may not be allowed in other countries. This is the reason why it is a good idea to check the Customs and Import Restrictions section of the U.S. Department of State Tips for Traveling Abroad.

What to Pack in Your Travel Health Kit

1. Packing travel health kit
2. Other important items

1. Packing travel health kit

Use this list to help you think of things to pack in your travel health kit. Be sure to think about where you are going and whether you will have access to health items and supplies.

A. Medicines


  • Prescription medicines you usually take- If you have a severe allergy and epinephrine has been prescribed by your doctor, bring your Epinephrine auto-injector (for example, an EpiPen).


B. Special prescriptions for the trip


  • Medicines to prevent malaria, if needed
  • Antibiotic prescribed by your doctor for self-treatment of moderate to severe diarrhea


C. Over-the-counter medicines


  • Antidiarrheal medication (for example, bismuth subsalicylate, loperamide)
  • Antihistamine
  • Decongestant, alone or in combination with antihistamine
  • Anti-motion sickness medication
  • Medicine for pain or fever (such as acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen)
  • Mild laxative
  • Cough suppressant/expectorant
  • Cough drops
  • Antacid
  • Antifungal and antibacterial ointments or creams
  • 1% hydrocortisone cream


D. Special note about prescription medicines


  • Pack your prescription medications in your carry-on luggage.
  • Pack copies of all prescriptions, including the generic names for medications.
  • Pack a note on letterhead stationery from the prescribing physician for controlled substances and injectable medications.
  • Leave a copy of your prescriptions at home with a friend or relative.
  • Check with the American Embassy or Consulate to make sure that your medicines will be allowed into the country you are visiting. Some countries do not let visitors bring certain medicines into the country.



2. Other important items

A. Supplies to prevent illness or injury



  • Insect repellent containing DEET (30%-50%) or picaridin (up to 15%)
  • Sunscreen (preferably SPF 15 or greater) that has both UVA and UVB protection
  • Antibacterial hand wipes or alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol
  • Lubricating eye drops


B. First-aid supplies


  • First aid quick reference card
  • Basic first-aid items (bandages, gauze, ace bandage, antiseptic, tweezers, scissors, cotton-tipped applicators)
  • Moleskin for blisters
  • Aloe gel for sunburns
  • Digital thermometer
  • Oral rehydration solution packets


C. Health insurance card


  • You can bring either your regular plan or supplemental travel health insurance plan) and copies of claim forms


D. Other items that may be useful in certain circumstances


  • Mild sedative or other sleep aid
  • Medicine to prevent altitude sickness
  • Water purification tablets
  • Commercial suture/syringe kits to be used by local health-care provider. (These items will also require a letter on letterhead stationery from the prescribing physician.)
  • Latex condoms
  • Bicycle helmet


To get more tips for senior travelers to help ensure a safe and worry-free trip, read Travel Tips For Seniors.


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