There’s nothing that ruins a holiday faster than sickness. You do all you can to stay well before you leave, even though you’re usually running around like a mad thing trying to get everything done. And then you hope against hope that no-one picks up a tummy bug or gets covered in mosquito bites or splits their lip or even gets a bad case of sunburn. You’ve waited so long for this holiday, you really REALLY don’t want anything to spoil it.
But of course things can and do go wrong frequently, so it’s always best to pack with your sensible hat on and make sure you find room in the case for the top 5 packing essentials for staying well on holiday.
1. Sun protection
Living in Australia we know the slip, slop, slap message, we know we have one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, but still, how many of us spend entire days out in the sun?
On holiday we are living different lives, often visiting warm, sunny places and walking around exploring them all day every day. Or perhaps, like me, you go wrong when you’re visiting somewhere cold yet sunny. I continue to forget that it doesn’t need to be hot to get sunburnt.
So wear a hat and sunscreen when out and about, and a rashie in the water. Especially given the amount of time the kids will probably want to stay in there!
1 Seafolly Goddess sunvest
2 Billabong Beachy rash vest
3 Billabong Surf dayz stripe wetshirt
4 Seafolly Coyote hat
5 Adidas Originals dark floral cap
6 Witchery Denim bucket hat
7 Invisible Zinc Face & body sunscreen
8 Cancer Council Peppa Pig roll-on sunscreen
9 Cancer Council Ultra sunscreen
2. Water bottle
Staying hydrated is so important. Did you know that if you’re feeling exhausted, it may not be just because you’ve been on your feet for hours, it may be because you’re dehydrated.
My kids have always got their water bottles with them, but I can be a bit slack myself and can’t be bothered carrying it around (water is heavy!). But it really is essential. You’ve got to look after yourself on holiday, especially when you’re having busy days. No-one’s going to be happy if mum falls in a heap.
3. Insect repellent
Being eaten alive by mosquitos and other insects is never fun, but when you’re on holiday you may come across different types of insects or they may carry different diseases than at home. Malaria for instance is still alive and well and being carried by mosquitos in more than 100 countries, mainly in tropical regions of the world, including large areas of Africa and Asia, Central and South America.
Generally products containing 10 per cent or less DEET are enough to prevent mosquito bites, but in higher risk areas insect repellents with 15-30 per cent DEET should be used. This handy table from the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne explains how much DEET is in some popular brands. Often the words “medicated” or “tropical strength” are used to indicate a higher percentage of DEET.
But even without the threat of malaria, you never know how your skin will react to the bite of a new variety of insect, so make sure you coat yourselves before sitting out for that alfresco dinner on a balmy evening in your tropical locale.
4. Hand sanitiser
In some parts of the world you need to be careful what you eat and drink so you don’t get sick, but one of the commonest ways of picking up a tummy bug is by having the germs on your hands when you’re eating.
Think of all the different surfaces you touch when you’re out and about. Washing your hands with soap before eating is ideal, but not always possible. Carrying hand sanitiser in your handbag is the best way of being able to ensure your hands are clean when you’re on the go.
Dettol has been killing germs since I was a kid (and probably long before!) and these days they even have disinfectant wipes, hand wash and household cleaning products. They are all awesome when you’re at home, but when you’re out and about it is the hand sanitiser that you need.
5. First aid kit
And for when things do go wrong, it’s best to make like a girl guide and be prepared.
Your family travel first aid kit should contain –
Please consult with your doctor or pharmacist, as some of these medications are not suitable for children.
1 Imodium just in case someone gets the runs
2 Nurofen, or whatever pain relief your kids are used to. Take something for the adults too
3 Kwells, or something similar if you think travel or sea sickness may be a possibility
4 Hydralyte to guard against dehydration
5 Stingose for treating insect bites
6 Thermometer – I love the ear thermometer that I use at home, but something smaller is more practical for travel
7 Dettol antiseptic cream for cleaning a wound before dressing
8 Bandage clip
9 Nail scissors – always handy
10 Tweezers for random splinters
11 Bandage – bandages and band aids have magical healing abilities
12 Band-aids – don’t leave home without them!
* Thank you to Dettol for gifting me their products.
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Is there anything else you like to take in your first aid kit?