First aid + kit advice for traveling the world please


May 10, 2004
As others have said... work out what "might" happen and prepare for it.

The size of your FAK will need to be relative to how far off the beaten track you intend to go.

Replacing stuff you have used is fairly straightforward, just walk into any local pharmacy and even if you dont speak the language they are educated and helpful people, the pharmacist will see you right.

Foreign pharmacists are geared up to help with local conditions, do use them as much as possible.

Situations like Everest base camp you mention, I assume you will go as part of a group and the party organisers should have suitable medical provisions.

So cover the basics for the usual travellers sickness and dodgy local food, minor injuries etc etc. And stock up on the local stuff as soon as you arrive somewhere new.



Oct 26, 2008
Others have mentioned sterile sharps/syringe kits so will add that anti diarrhea tablets can be very useful but making your own rehydration fluids from a clean source of water is very useful.
I used a mix of bottled water, sugar,salt and some orange juice after a bad case of food poisoning (the type where you can't decide whether to stay sitting on the throne or kneeling before it!)
Electrolyte mixes are easy to carry but making your own from what is available can really help.



Nov 20, 2011
Dental repair kit is cheap but great to have when you need it. The little tubs of ready to use dental putty are easy to use for a temporary repair and will often ease pain too.

Steristrips, dumbell plasters, hydocoloid dresssings, tick removers and tweezers.

A travel sink plug (the type that fits any sink)...great for less than luxurious accommodation.

Travellers door lock is a great idea...a couple of plastic door wedges can also be great to keep in your toiletries bag with a few feet of paracord for securing doors, especially bathroom.toilet doors.

...and possibly a much larger pack to carry all these things :lmao:


Full Member
Apr 16, 2009
I spent a good few months in S.E Asia. Took a basic first aid kit,a Medical Adventure .5. The bag it comes in allows for a few additions to be made. In Thailand I added Betadyne solution, which proved essential on a cut foot in a tropical climate, still use the stuff. No scare stories please, it's just iodine solution and works well under the extra pressure of heat and high humidity. Decent tape, such as Transpore, is worth adding.

I took all sorts of other stuff that wasn't needed, syringes, antibiotics, bandages etc. I'd get a kit, Medical Adventure are well thought out, and add to it as needed. Put a Swiss Army Knife in it (toothpick, scissors, tweezers) and pack it as hold baggage.

From the UK end, it's easy to overthink it, but trying to cover every eventuality is impossible. Talking to fellow travellers on the way is where the knowledge comes from.
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Full Member
Nov 21, 2015
Just out of range
read the book where there is no doctor. Can get it as a free ebook
I have a copy of Where There is No Doctor and its certainly an interesting and informative read but more aimed at informal health care workers and midwives living in rural third world communities than a young westerner just travelling through. As an example, hopefully the OP's lad already knows (a) how to avoid getting STDs and (b) that if he does get one, eating a dead vulture is not going to cure it (Page 10 if you were wondering!).

There is some useful info in the chapters on Prevention (esp parasites), Common Sicknesses and Skin Conditions and by all means take it as a free ebook but it is no substitute for a basic first aid course and kit to deal with likely scenarios and an evacuation plan (using all or any of cash, credit card, insurance policy and consulate) to get to decent medical care in the unlikely event of (a) having a serious problem that (b) cannot be dealt with locally.

It may seem to the OP that his lad is going to the ends of the earth but sadly, even in remote rural areas where doctors may be thin on the ground, it is becoming harder to get away from mobile phone coverage, wifi and internet cafes so he may well find that the umbilical cord is being stretched a bit rather than severed. :)


Full Member
Dec 31, 2005
Avoid Larium as an anti-malaria drug. Do a course, get dehydration powder and D&V medicine, suncream, mosquito repellent, theres a natural remedy for dental problems and the kit you already mentioned. Trust me on the Larium.


Full Member
Apr 23, 2016
I took loads too much on my gap year, subsequently I have had some proper 1st aid training and have unfortunately had experience of delivering real life first aid to a variety of injuries.

The first thing to pack is the normal "bathroom cabinet" stuff. Sunscreen, moisturiser, paracetamol, Berocca and dioralyte for hangovers, and a packet of condoms. That should deal with the most likely issues of a gap year traveller.

For the FAK proper, I get mine in a adventure medical systems 0.3 pouch. I carry the following:

Tiny tick removers (green plastic kind)
2 x soluble.aspirin for heart attack victims
Antihistamines (cut into pairs)
Tray of paracetamol cut into pairs for efficient packing
Two packs sutures
5 or 6 anti back wipes
Quick clot 25 sponge
3 5 x5 hydrocolloid dressings
5 x nexcare plasters
2 x sachets burn gel
Face shield
Roll of climbers finger tape
Pair of small tuffcuts elastic banded to the outside.

All available off amazon.

I have tried to emphasise the things that cannot be improvised, and enabling improvisation where possible. The roll of finger tape is invaluable in this regard. It is like old fashioned zinc pxide tape and can be used to tape up sprains, secure dressings, make slings, hold plasters on, etc etc. The quick clot is the only real 'dramatic' item for that highly unlikely arterial bleed scenario, but which is hard to deal with. Unless you are playing with guns or chainsaws israeli bandages and cat tourniquets are overkill..most commercial FAKs are full of bandages and cheap fabroc plasters; they are cheap and fill space but are not that useful.amd can be easily improvised as long as you have a sterile dressing.

A seperate sealed sterile kit is not a bad idea in case of a hospital trip somewhere dodgy. Good medical insurance to ensure a swift transfer somewhere less dodgy should go without saying.

As for personal security etc; getting ****** and making yourself vulnerable, along with making poor decisions about dodgy banana boat operators etc are the most likely causes of problems. There can be a bit of a tendancy to think thay everything is wonderful and "authentic" amongst first time travellers, leading to them taking risks they wouldn't contemplate at home. Guarding against that a little and applying common sense will work wonders.

Terrorism and kidnap are statistical outliers, and to a large extent it is down to chance if you are in that nightclub in Bali at the wrong time. If you follow the foreign office advice you should be ok.


Full Member
Jun 10, 2006
This ' ' although expensive is well worth it. A "resource for expedition medics and all well-informed travellers, including gap year students".

My edition covers most levels of intelligence: 'It's not appropriate to attempt CPR if the casualty has been decapitated'; 'If you are attacked by a lion you are advised you should fight for your life with anything you have to hand'. I suspect a level of medical humour.


Nov 7, 2013
This ' ' although expensive is well worth it. A "resource for expedition medics and all well-informed travellers, including gap year students".

My edition covers most levels of intelligence: 'It's not appropriate to attempt CPR if the casualty has been decapitated'; 'If you are attacked by a lion you are advised you should fight for your life with anything you have to hand'. I suspect a level of medical humour.
That's a good book, but for non medics should be read in advance.

The bit about epipens is a bit of an ironic embarrassment though.

Nothing beats hands on training though.


Full Member
Apr 23, 2016
Nothing beats hands on training though.
Exactly, and especially for the more traumatic end of first aid. What they don't seem to discuss on training courses is just how stressful dealing with a real RTA or serious accident is, and how this affects your ability to think things through and remember what you've been taught. I suspect this is because most instructors have never done it, and the remainder have done it so often they forget what it's like the first time.

Under stress we all default to what we have physically practiced.

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
McBride, BC
Hands on training is no way to deal with those who have life-threatening injuries.
Here, the teams are set up with mixed histories of training and experience.
Everybody is allowed to vomit. Wildlife collision or avalanche.

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
McBride, BC
Thinking of First Aid, WorkSafe BC (aka The Workers' Compensation Board of British Columbia) has assembled several kits, probably in association with The Red Cross and St. John's Ambulance people.
I just bought the Level One kit, there's a lot in it, short of CPR stuff and more technical items. Was $66, about 37BPS. Next step is to see if there's any training in the village. My intention is to learn enough to help until the real Paramedics, etc., arrive.

You see, little cars, "rice-burners," go under moose. The animal comes across the hood and smashes the windshield. So there's no shortage of broken glass = cut heads and faces. Bigger vehicles with pipe racks and the trains usually punt the critter off the road/rails.