Do yourself a favor and pack some peace of mind. Especially if you have young kids, their illnesses are still unfamiliar territory. You’ll want to feel prepared with a set of essential medicines and toiletries in your kids’ medicine bag for vacation.

On one of my first trips with my oldest son, he was up late, uncontrollably crying in pain. It came out of nowhere and I was a new mom, still figuring out what symptoms are ‘normal’ and what should have emergency attention.

I was worried sick in an unfamiliar place late at night. Thank goodness that 1) we were in an English speaking country so finding what we needed at the pharmacy was a non-issue 2) my husband was along so I could send him out while tending to baby and 3) we had a car to make the errand as quick as possible. (Note: Children safe medications are not always available in hotel convenience shops.)

Ever since that nightmare of an evening, I never go on a trip without the following child medications on hand and pack even more generously when traveling abroad.

Prescription Medications / Medical Supplies

First and foremost, pack medically necessary supplies and medications. Prescription medicine, insulin, inhalers, epinephrine, etc.

Pain/Fever Reducers are Sanity Savers on Vacation

Knowing I can alternate between ibuprofen and acetaminophen for bothersome fevers, I pack both. TSA allows you to travel with liquid medications over 4oz in your carry on. Just let them know you have them before your bag is scanned. If you want to travel lighter, you can opt for 1 fluid ounce bottles as well.

I still travel with liquid medicine for my youngest and started bringing chewable Junior Strength Advil as well for my 4-year-old.

I also keep a small thermometer and 5 ML syringe in the kids’ medicine bag for vacation.

Children’s Melatonin (Helps with Jet Lag!)

Consult with your pediatrician. One of the best remedies for kid’s jet lag that we ever heard was from our kids’ nurse practitioner. Children’s Melatonin! We have had great success with it when we are crossing time zones and want to get our kids adjusted quickly.

The chewable kids’ tablets are 1mg, we end up cutting them in half for our 4-year-old (34 pounds) and it still does the trick. If your kids have a hard time waking up in the morning, you may be giving them too much. Again, check with your pediatrician if you’re intrigued to try it.

Bug Bite Supplies

Heading to mosquito territory or a beach known for noseeums (sand fleas)? Consider proactively packing itch cream/after-bite ointment for treatment. We usually pack Cortisone cream to apply to the bites. I’m still a big believer in ice cubes and marking with an “x” using your finger nail to immediately lessen the itch as well.

Knowing our kids are susceptible to big welts after being bitten, our pediatrician recommended a small dose of children’s allergy medicine daily on our trip to fend off serious reactions. Consult your doctor on the appropriate use and dosage.

For bug repellant on the kids, we use Babyganics DEET Free bug spray.

Cough Remedies

Check with a doctor before using any cough medicine that contains a decongestant or antihistamine.

In case cold symptoms creep up on vacation, we pack sore throat pops and Zarbee’s Natural Cough Syrup in the kids’ medicine bag for vacation.

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Bath Time Baby Wash

Knowing our kids have fair and sensitive skin, I veer away from using hotel/Airbnb provided soaps on them at bath time and travel with a small bottle of their usual baby wash. Not to mention, we need tear-free soap yet for our 1-year-old.


Make sure the Kids’ Sunscreen you pack is water resistant and bonus points for reef-friendly! For applying sunscreen to mini faces, I’m still a fan of solid sunscreen sticks to get the best coverage.

For dry climates, we keep Daily Moisturizing Lotion on hand.

If we are heading into cold/windy climate, I like to protect my boys’ lips and cheeks with a face balm. But really, why do we vacation somewhere with Wisconsin’s climate?

Treatments for Cuts/Scrapes

Inevitable, right? It is good to have various sizes of Band-Aids available and an antibiotic ointment like Neosporin. These usually stay in my purse.

Nail Care

Pack a small nail clipper or nail scissors for their little finger tips.

Confession time: I don’t cut my kids’ nails; my husband does it. I nicked my son’s skin once as a baby and have never done it since. Whew, good to get it off my chest.

Pink Eye Drops

We’ve never actually had to use this on a trip, but the bottle is so teensy I figure better safe than sorry; toss it in the suitcase.

We only used half a bottle when we last treated pink eye, so I keep the remainder in our travel bag just in case any of us contract it. (Be sure to check the expiry date.)

Diaper Rash Supplies

Our family is lucky to be passed the stage of frequent diaper changes and rashes so we travel with a very small tube of Aquaphor for a flare up. Also consider talc-free baby powder (for diaper changes or brushing off stubborn, sticky sand at the beach)

Dental Care

“Sparkle Fun” is the only toothpaste flavor (actually “color”) my son likes, sigh, so a small tube of it comes everywhere with us. I totally missed out on training toothpaste with my oldest, but apparently that is a thing so your little one doesn’t ingest too much fluoride before they can spit. So if you have a new brusher, pack that too.

We pack flossers in our adult toiletry bag so those are easy enough to use on the kids if we get a sudden urge to floss on vacation.

Interested in more packing tips? Check out Road Trip Ready for Adventures with Little Ones for a list of items to pack in your vehicle for your next long drive!


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