Healthy Travel: Your Travel Checklist

July 8, 2019 | Abby Caviness

For many individuals, summer is the perfect time to travel. The kids are out of school, the beaches are open, and your mind is due for a much-needed break from work. However, while traveling is meant as a stress-reliever, there is one thing standing in the way of a relaxing getaway: your travel checklist.

Especially if you or your children have issues with certain travel—seasickness, carsickness, or fear of flying—there are steps you must take to ensure your trip goes smoothly. For example, an over-the-counter medicine for motion sickness can help you or your children keep from being miserable on the trip. However, USHEALTH Group® recognizes there are other concerns with travel, which is why we are providing a list of tips and tricks to get you to the relaxing vacation of your dreams.*

Portrait of a young happy family with two children completing their travel checklist.

What to Pack

While each vacation and the mode of transportation warrants unique preparations, there are items you should keep with you regardless of your destination and how you get there. Adding some of these items to your travel checklist will ensure your trip is stress-free and fun! These items include:1


Both over-the-counter and prescription medicine should be packed with you on vacations. Some recommended over-the-counter medications include an antihistamine, motion-sickness medicine, pain relievers, and upset-stomach or diarrhea remedies. When traveling, you may experience different atmospheres and food, causing situations your body may not be used to. So, keeping medication with you to prevent these ailments will keep your vacation enjoyable.

Location-appropriate clothing

Make sure you research the weather of your destination before your trip so you know what kind of clothes to pack. Knowing what you are up against can help you stay comfortable and safe from any sicknesses you can catch if you are not prepared. Just imagine showing up to your destination, the weather is cold and rainy, and all you brought were shorts. That is enough to ruin a perfectly good vacation.


No matter where you go, the sun follows—even if where you are going is overcast. So, make sure to pack some sunscreen with you to protect your skin against those harmful rays!

Hand sanitizer

Whether you are in a plane, on a cruise, or in your own car, traveling will bring you into contact with millions of germs. Keeping some hand sanitizer with you will help you to keep clean and safe from catching any sicknesses from people who cross your path.


Long car rides and flights have you sitting for long periods of time in possibly uncomfortable seats. If you are a passenger in a car, you may want to take a nap during the trip, so a pillow will make you more comfortable. If you are on a plane, there are few places to lay your head, so a neck pillow may better suit your need.

Bringing some of these items with you on your trip can be the difference between a dream vacation and a disaster vacation. In addition, while car rides and cruise ships have similar packing suggestions, there are a few items you may want to bring on a flight to protect yourself from illness and stress.

A young woman with curly hair sits in a window seat on a plane. She has her earbuds in as she looks out of the window and smiles, because she has completed her travel checklist.

Packing for a Flight

Though packing for a flight is a bit restrictive because there are limits to what you can bring, here are a few items you may want to add to your travel checklist:2

  • Extra change of clothes in your carry-on
  • Decompression socks
  • Neck pillow
  • Collapsible water bottle with filter (do not pack it with water already inside)
  • Facial wipes
  • Location-appropriate clothes
  • Snacks
  • Sweatshirt
  • Travel-size toiletries
  • Noise-cancelling headphones

In any situation, doing some simple research on what to bring for your exact travel plans will save you trouble in the long run. Besides packing, there are also things you may want to do before you leave so your mind is not occupied while on vacation. If you put in the work before your vacation begins, you are more likely to enjoy yourself when your trip arrives. So, what can you do to ensure you are prepared when your trip rolls around?

Craft Your Travel Checklist

While spontaneous trips can be fun, the stress of under-planning can take a toll on your health. So, no matter where you are going or what you are doing, take some time to think through your trip and come up with a plan of action. For example, if you are traveling internationally and do not have an updated passport, getting one should be your first step and should be done months in advance. With proper preparation, you can save your mind from stress, and your vacation will be more enjoyable as well.

Additional travel checklist items you should consider before leaving for your trip include:2

  • Refill your prescription medicine
  • Make sure you are up-to-date on your vaccinations3
  • Check out a book from the library to pass time on a long flight or car ride
  • Arrange a ride to the airport ahead of time
  • Share your travel itinerary with a family member in case of emergency
  • Throw away perishable food in your fridge so you do not return to a mess
  • Research the weather for your destination so you can pack accordingly
  • Unplug electronics in your house while you are gone to prevent fires
  • Research your airline’s baggage restrictions so there are no delays on your trip

While this is not a comprehensive list of everything you should do before you leave, completing some of these tasks should help you have a fun time with your family and friends. Vacation is supposed to be a mental break for yourself and your family, so making sure you have prepared by packing and completing a to-do list will ensure your mind is at ease.


Of course, you know yourself and your family best, so if you know one of you has a certain issue with traveling, take the precautions that fit your family’s needs. For example, if a member of your family takes medication, make sure they have enough to last the whole trip. Additionally, if you are traveling to somewhere with a lot of allergens in the air, an antihistamine should be high on your list of items to bring with you. Whatever the need is, have the forethought to take care of it before leaving can help you and your family get the vacation they need and deserve—a stress-free one!

*This material is provided by USHEALTH Group for informational/educational purposes only and should not replace medical/clinical advice or direction from your health care provider.

  1. Krystal, Becky, “What to pack in your travel health kit,”, published January 17, 2013,
  2. McKay, Brett and Kate, “39 Things to Do Before Leaving on Vacation: A Handy Dandy Checklist,”, last modified May 28, 2018,
  3. NEA Member Benefits, “7 Things You Must Do Before Your Next International Trip,”, accessed July 7, 2019,
By |2019-09-23T11:14:08-05:00July 8th, 2019|Categories: Wellness|Tags: , , |0 Comments