How to Make a Mini Vacation Pharmacy for Traveling

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Before you hit the road (or the air, or the high seas) for your next vacation adventure, consider making a DIY mini vacation pharmacy. After years of traveling and packing a haphazard pile of first aid supplies and medications for each, I finally decided to up my game before our last cruise. Check out this foldable, easy-to-pack, travel pharmacy and see how easy it is to make your own!

Travel Pharmacy Thumbnail

We have logged so many travel miles under our belts over the last 20 years. I have packing for the different types of vacations pretty much down to a science. If we are going on a camping adventure I know which supplies to stuff into our camper. Beach vacations? Theme park trips? Cruise travel? Each one of those trips requires a vastly different packing list.

One thing that remains pretty standard no matter which way you travel, is the need to pack first aid items for all of those “what ifs.”

Sickness Happens… Even on Vacation

Or perhaps, it can especially happen on vacation! Lack of sleep, extra germs, unfamiliar foods… you might be very familiar with all of the potential health issues and medical conditions one can encounter when traveling. Heartburn after a rich dinner or a cold after an airplane flight can really put a damper on your trip. Another big damper is the price that you will pay for a roll of antacids at the hotel gift shop. Have you ever tried to buy some pain relievers at a travel plaza? OUCH! That price tag is about 3 times what you might pay at your local pharmacy, but when you need the medicine, you don’t really have a choice.

Before our most recent vacation, I got to thinking about all of the different medical issues we have experienced while traveling over the years. It’s a long list but includes basic first aid care (minor cuts, blisters, scrapes, sprains), dehydration, fevers, headaches, colds, stomach bugs, motion sickness and indigestion!

Not only did I like the idea of not having to purchase any supplies we might need while away, I also liked the peace of mind in knowing that they were all in one place, and close by.

So here is how I filled and supplied my travel apothecary, as we are now affectionately calling it. It held a lot and we didn’t have to search for any of these items once we arrived at our destination. If someone experienced any symptoms, we simply grabbed the right dose of medicine from our travel kit.

Travel First Aid Kit

Let’s talk about the actual bag that I used! I saw this bag on social media where the user had put together a similar bag for her upcoming vacation. This bag is actually a double-sided hanging jewelry organizer.

The bag has 47 zipper compartments between the front and back sides. The compartments are various sizes and can hold a ton of different items. For my travel pharmacy, I used just one side of this organizer! You could used 1 or both sides for yours – it’s up to you.

I really liked the visibility of the clear windows on this organizer. It made it so easy to find what I needed in seconds. The bag does not take up a lot of room, it is very compact.  We rolled it up and put it in our rolling carry-on bag. Once we arrived at our destination, we hung the bag on the bag of the bathroom door.

Rolled up jewelry organizer

hanging organizer bag

We had a couple prescription medicines that we needed to pack as well, and for those pills I used these travel pill containers.

Travel Apothecary Essentials

I spent the month before our cruise collecting supplies to add to my apothecary. We had many of the medications at home already, including things like pain relievers, cold medicine and Dramamine for motion sickness. The same goes for things like bandages and band-aids. I rounded up many of the supplies at the Dollar Tree and then the rest I bought a couple at a time on amazon and at Walmart. Little by little, my travel pharmacy came together.

You will want to customize your kit to make sure that it includes anything specific that your travel party might need.

Don’t forget allergy medications, vitamins, prescription medications, etc.

Here are the supplies we added to our kit:

Travel Pharmacy HERO

Did we use any of our travel medicines or supplies?


Now of course, I had hoped that I would pack all of these supplies and need NONE of them, but by night one we had used our first item (Kids’ Dramamine tablets).

As our week-long cruise progressed, we used some bandages, several different medicines, Tums, and Chapstick. Poor Bob even needed to use that Wound Seal when he cut his nose while shaving and it would NOT stop pouring out blood.  I was about ready to walk him down to the medical area on the ship, when we got the powder to seal the cut.  This trip was the first time we ever packed that item and I can say with confidence, we won’t ever be without it on future trips!

When we aren’t traveling, we will keep this organizer in the house and use the supplies on a regular basis. This will help to keep the medicines and other items that have shorter expiration dates in regular rotation so that they get used. It will also ensure that everything stays at room temperature, so no need to worry about anything overheating, etc.

Other Uses for these Necessities

This lightweight travel pharmacy is so convenient, that it got us thinking about other events we would take it to.

The short list includes:

  • Travel sports games
  • Horse shows
  • Camping trips
  • Road Trips

I hope this post has been helpful to you as you plan your own DIY vacation pharmacy! What are some things that you might add that we didn’t have in ours?


Travel Mini Pharmacy PIN

2 thoughts on “How to Make a Mini Vacation Pharmacy for Traveling”

  1. I love this post! Times perfectly right before holiday travels. Where sis you find sample/travel sizes for these items? I didn’t think they made them anymore. Thank you!

    • Hi there! I found most of the travel sized meds at the dollar tree. For the other items like shout wipes, purex wipes, etc, I got them on amazon and they are linked in the post! :)


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