Prevention & Recovery

How to build a first-aid kit tailored to your vacation

By: Natalie Bahadur

©iStockphoto/KLSbear Author: Canadian Living Credits: ©iStockphoto/KLSbear

Prevention & Recovery

How to build a first-aid kit tailored to your vacation

By: Natalie Bahadur
You've finally booked that much deserved vacation, but before you pack your bags and head out the door with your family, make sure you're prepared for whatever kind of vacation you've got planned. A first-aid kit will help make sure your holiday doesn't turn into a disaster.

First-aid kit must-haves
What should you pack in your first-aid kit? According to the Canadian Red Cross, a first-aid kit should contain the following:

• Emergency telephone numbers for EMS/9-1-1, your local poison control centre, and your personal doctors
• Home and office phone numbers for family members, friends, or neighbours who can help
• Sterile gauze pads (dressings) in small and large squares to place over wounds
• Adhesive tape
• Roller and triangular bandages to hold dressings in place or to make an arm sling
• Adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
• Scissors
• Tweezers
• Safety pins
• Instant ice packs
• Disposable non-latex gloves, such as surgical or examination gloves
• Flashlight, with extra batteries in a separate bag
• Antiseptic wipes or soap
• Pencil and pad
• Emergency blanket
• Eye patches
• Thermometer
• Barrier devices, such as a pocket mask or face shield
• Coins for pay phone
• Canadian Red Cross first aid manual

Safety preparation for 6 different vacations

Now that you've got these essentials packed and ready to go, here are some additional first-aid items you may want to keep on hand, depending on what kind of vacation you're taking:

1. Road trip
Make sure your road trip doesn't take a wrong turn! Here's a list of things you should have in the car before you hit the road:

• Bottled water
• Snacks
• Anti-nausea medication
• Blankets or warm jackets for everyone

• Spare tire
• Maps

• Reservoir of gas
• Candles and matches
• Flashlight

Page 1 of 2 -- Discover more travel essentials on page 2

2. Travel by air
Before you take your seat on the plane, make sure you've brought these travel essentials with you:

• Bottled water
• Chewing gum
• Anti-diarrhea medication
• Anti-nausea medication
• Tylenol
• Nose drops
• Eye mask
• Earplugs
• Hand sanitizer

3. Backpacking
Make sure your backpack is well stocked with these essentials:

• Antihistamine

• Bug repellant
• Sunscreen
• Compass

• Snacks
• Water
• Warm clothing

4. Cruise

These days, cruise ships are like mini cities, with shops selling anything you might have forgotten. But it doesn't hurt to stock up on these essentials, especially to help combat seasickness:

• Anti-nausea medication
• Anti-diarrhea medication
• Green apples, to ease nausea
• Ginger root, crystallized ginger, ginger tea or ginger tablets (to help ease nausea)

• General painkillers

5. Camping, or the cottage or cabin
Camping and cottage vacations are some of the most exciting getaways. Stock up on the following:

• Antihistamine

• Bug repellant
• Sunscreen

• Aloe vera
• Calamine lotion

• Hot water bottle

Tip: This family camping first aid kit from Canadian Tire is helpful.

6. Safari
Better safe than sorry! Make sure you've got these things handy when you head out on a safari:

• Malaria medication

• Anti-nausea medication

• Sunscreen

• Bug repellant

• Mosquito nets
• Bottled water

• Hat

For camping tips, expert advice and guides to some of the best campgrounds in Canada, visit our expert's guide to the great Canadian outdoors.

Natalie Bahadur is the senior editor of and is a regular contributor to

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Prevention & Recovery

How to build a first-aid kit tailored to your vacation