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Rick's Travel Aid Kit is a MUST take Item

When in Paris it started to rain buckets while touring the Basilique du Sacré Coeur. I brought a lightweight raincoat but the zipper pull came off. Now what, get a new coat? In the Travel Aid Kit (TAK) I found an emergency zipper pull. While entering into the Metro the door closed and it broke a button on my pants. The TAK has a sewing kit. In Barelona I developed a blister on my foot. This he TAK has moleskin patches. The TAK is small, light, and is just $20. I don't leave home without it for any trip, period. Get one today.

Posted by
2528 posts

I carry all the essentials and assembled such for less than the kit. For example, a sewing kit from a stay at a hotel some time ago.
/s/ Frugal Always

Posted by
76 posts

Great reminder to have all these items just in case!

For many people, the convenience of having everything assembled and ready to go outweighs the price and the time it takes to get all the items and gather together. Nothing wrong with that.

Posted by
19118 posts

Let me be the devil's advocate here. In 13 trips to Europe I've never needed anything in that kit. To me it's just one more unnecessary thing to carry around.

Posted by
10344 posts

If that's the kit with the plastic corkscrew, mine broke first time I tried to use it. And what's worse, I didn't get my wine. Not until I went out and bought a real tire-bouchon.

Posted by
14 posts

The Travel Aid items in the 4.5 X 6.5" bag are moleskin, two bandages, antiseptic towelette, insect bite relief, earplugs, pill tube, clear 3" x 5" repair tape, emergency zipper pull, two zip ties, carabineer, and a complete sewing kit. Included sewing kit contains six colors of thread, three sewing needles, three straight pins, safety pin, two clear buttons, two snap repairs, needle-threader, tweezers, and mini-scissors — inside their own little hard-shell case. I added 2 suspender buttons, 2 more band aids, more safety pins, The kit is for me and my traveling partners that always need something.

Posted by
32228 posts

I assembled my own "travel aid kit" many years ago, and routinely pack most of the items in that kit. I agree, the items can be useful if needed.

Every traveler has specific needs. If the RS kit works for you, great. I made a medical type first aid kit. I can include a few twist ties from bread for a zipper pull. Most people are traveling in areas where supplies are accessible. I like a simple medical kit, because if I'm bleeding - I need a bandage or packing of some sort NOW. Hard to go shopping while bleeding. Camping kits can be helpful here. Too bad knives have to be checked, because a Swiss army knife can help a traveler. I don't carry one though because of flying, packing rules. I like carry-on.

Posted by
1068 posts

I'm sure the RS kit is fine. I must admit, I made my own kit and took it for many years without needing anything from it. I've used it (mine includes a sewing kit) either for clothing repair or minor injuries on each of my last 3 trips. I suppose you could run out to a store and buy a needle and thread, or antiseptic but it is nice having enough to cover you in your room. With something this light, my thought is better to have it and not need it than try and find a pharmacy in a strange city at midnight when you are ailing!

Posted by
7364 posts

I agree about having some bandaids with you. I cut my finger at the Minneapolis airport once and didn't have one. I asked at the counter - no help. Luckily a pilot was walking by at the moment and had one in his suitcase. I especially like to pack the flexible cloth ones because they don't fall off as easily.

Posted by
11 posts

Ever since my bag was searched in Canada (who knows why), I have tried to use clear zip lock bags for everything like that (e.g., first aid, misc. stuff, etc.). It makes a random search go so much faster if they can see everything inside and not have to pull it all out.

Posted by
5837 posts

And if you are a Red Green Show Possum Lodge member, you would add a roll of duct tape to the travel aid kit.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMV-QuZCEuE

And if you are not into making a duct tape goose:
http://www.travelinsurancereview.net/tips-and-advice/travel-safety-tips/duct-tape-for-self-reliant-travelers/

7 Ways Duct Tape Makes A Self-Reliant Traveler

Uses for Duct Tape When you TravelThe very nature of being a ready
traveler means making sure you’re relatively self-reliant while
seeking new adventures in far-off lands. Most travelers have a small
list of things they will not leave home without, and for many
experienced travelers – even business travelers, duct tape is at the
very top of that list.

http://herpackinglist.com/2015/01/reasons-pack-duct-tape/

Whenever I go on big adventures that take me to places that are a
little outside of my comfort zone, I always tend to pack a few more
items that make me feel extra prepared should I be without easy access
to a shop, doctor, or other resources. A couple extra components fit
into my medical kit, a small multi-tool makes the final packing list
cut, and a tiny roll of duct tape gets tossed in my bag.

Yes, duct tape. It’s like the swiss army knife of the TSA-friendly
world. A guy even once brought it with him as his one survival item on
Naked and Afraid, so you know this stuff is good.

http://www.slice.ca/travel/photos/reasons-you-should-always-travel-with-duct-tape/#!201bb78b2af349de284c11bfec706ca2

22 Reasons Why You Should Always Travel With Duct Tape: You may know it as duct tape, duck tape,
gaffer tape or 100-mile-an-hour tape. But no matter what you call it,
it's a traveller's best friend. First developed in WWII to seal
ammunition cases, duct tape has been used everywhere from the moon to
the deepest depths of our oceans. We've put together 20 ways a roll of
duct tape can help save the day when you're travelling. You'll never
travel without it again.

Posted by
76 posts

Duct tape is my go-to fix for just about anything. For traveling, I spool some around an old pencil but the key card wrap is a good idea, too.

Now I'm off to fix a dresser drawer (again) with some duct tape...

Posted by
681 posts

I take my own "kit," too. One thing we've used a couple times that I didn't see above is a tiny eye glass repair kit with a miniature screw driver and extra screws.

Posted by
11613 posts

I throw a few band aids into a snack-size Baggie and call it a travel kit. Somewhere I will stay in a hotel that has a sewing kit in the amenities kit.

Love the Duct tape! Perhaps, 7 - 10 ft of paracord as well. For the casual traveler, even the cheap 5 strand, polyester paracord will do. For the outdoors, I would spend extra on military grade quality. Uses for paracord: clothes line, threads for sewing, lace for athletic shoes or boots, repair a backpack strap or luggage handle, secure an item to prevent loss or pick pocketing. Plus, you can get paracord in wristband form with even a watch or compass and whistle attached. Let the kids play with it and make bracelets, key chains, hair bands, etc. from it.
I like a pencil pouch with fabric on one side and clear vinyl on the other for travel kits. These are cheap and can be bought at office supply stores for $2-4. Nylon is a good material for durability, light weight, and water & tear resistance.

Posted by
15886 posts

We have a DIY kit in a lightweight nylon bag as well, with a sewing kit from some hotel room, moleskin, bandaids, little tube of Neosporin, tiny scissors (to cut moleskin), etc. I keep it roughly stocked all the time so it can just be thrown in the suitcase…with a few changes depending on type of trip. If we'll be backcountry hiking/rock scrambling, for example, I toss an ace bandage (for unexpected sprains) a small roll of gauze and a few other appropriate items in it.

Posted by
1068 posts

22 Reasons Why You Should Always Travel With Duct Tape: You may know it as duct tape, duck tape,
gaffer tape or 100-mile-an-hour tape.

"Duck or duct tape" and gaffer's tape are not the same thing. Although they both have a myriad of uses when you travel. I have used it several times on trips (I take gaffer's tape.) One of the uses is as an emergency bandage.

Posted by
15886 posts

We have a DIY kit in a small nylon bag with a sewing kit from some hotel room, tiny scissors, bandaids, moleskin, Neosporin, etc. that I throw in for every trip. Depending on what we'll be doing, I'll toss in an ace bandage (for sprains) and a roll of gauze, etc. for backcountry hiking/rock scrambling. It's so easy to customize that I'd be hard pressed to see the need for purchasing a kit.

Posted by
3428 posts

I, too, make my own "kits". My sewing kit has been used to: repair an umbrella where the cloth had separated from the rib; repair a day bag; create a temporary zipper pull until we could get back to the room and I could get to my twist ties; and yes- sew on buttons, mend hems, rips, etc. I added some seri- strips and butterfly bandages to my first aid 'kit' after I tripped in the Brighton train station and wound up with a rather deep gash on my face (didn't need to see a doc, no stitches needed, etc. but had to go to a Boots the Chemist to find seri-strips that time). I also take a few gauze pads, paper adhesive tape, and individual sized sachets of Neosporin and Cortaid. Small scissors (either nail scissors or nurses' bandage scissors are good), tweezers, and glasses repair screwdriver are also in my bag- have needed each at different times. A small roll of scotch tape and some duct tape are good ideas, too. Prior to 911, we had a great 'Swiss knife' 'thingy' that I loved. It was a roughly business card or sticky note sized plastic 'holder' for an ink pen, small knife, screwdriver, and a few other things. And the back was a mirror, I think.

But then, I'm the assistant principal that the teachers called "Mama Cat" (our mascot was a mountain cat) because they could come to me and I'd pull out just about any thing they need- from aspirin to that sewing kit (I kept extras of both in my desk and my purse). Hubby often turns to me when we are out somewhere and asks "do you have.........?" If my purse if with me I usually do, or I have something that can sub for whatever it is he wants. By the way, if you remember the movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding", I am about Chap Stick the way the Dad in that movie was about Windex. It is good for you lips, fixes and soothes a paper cut or a grease burn, softens cuticles and makes nails look great without polish. I ALWAYS have at least 1, usually 2 or more, Chap Sticks with me.

Posted by
19118 posts

The underlying philosophy behind light packing is to take only what you know you will need, not what you are afraid might need. So a TAK flies in the face of that philosophy. If the TAK weighs 6 oz, since I've never needed anything in it, I've saved over 71 lb-days in my travels.

I have an arthritic knee, and, in 2012. was taking one ibuprofen a day. I went to Europe with 14 ibuprofen for a 14 day trip, but because of all the walking I was doing, I used 2 a day. So I found a pharmacy and bought some more. No problem.

Posted by
1068 posts

The underlying philosophy behind light packing is to take only what you know you will need, not what you are afraid might need.

That may be your definition of packing light, but it is not the only one and not the one I use. For example, I don't need more than 1 extra pair of socks, but I pack them. I generally take a lightweight rain jacket which can double as a "warmth layer" yet on several trips, it was not needed. I continue to pack it Fortunately, my main credit card has always worked, yet I take a backup. A second card was never "needed." Here are some definitions of packing light which I prefer: "Your (one) bag will be small and light enough to carry without consequence, no longer of any meaningful concern."-One Bag.com; "The "Packlight Philosophy" emphasizes a never-ending commitment to (1) scrutinize packing habits in order to fine-tune minimum packing needs and (2) aggressively seek out the smallest, lightest-weight, highest-quality gear available to satisfy those needs. "-Backpacking.net. Many people who espouse the packing light lifestyle (see the Rick Steves Packing List, or OneBag.com Packing List for examples) advocate taking a first aid kit. The people who operate these websites are, IMHO, light packing experts. One website I perused about light packing for difficult (high mountain) hiking recommended taking a camera..... imagine that! I am fairly certain a camera doesn't help you reach the top of a mountain.

Posted by
518 posts

Ultimately, these "kits" and other similar backup gear/items, is a form of insurance, similar to your actual travel insurance policy. You'll have to weigh the cost of it against the benefits. For some, the size/weight of a kit is inconsequential and they like knowing they have it in case they need it, while for others, the size/weight is an overwhelming burden or at the least, an irritant, that is not worth ANY of the benefits they'd bring.

With regards to our travels and kits, gears, spare socks and shoes, travel insurance, etc., I liken it to any other insurance you may purchase in life. For example, you may have never had a fire or any other kind of disaster happen in your house in the 30 years you've lived there, but most still purchase homeowners insurance. Why? because if a fire should occur, they know they don't have the hundreds of thousands of dollars at their disposal to rebuild. I'm not going to bring an extra pair of shoes on my travels because even if I lost my one pair of shoes or something happens to them (which "has never happened to me in 15 years of travel"), the loss would not overwhelmingly devastate me, especially in Europe I'm probably not that far away from a shoe store, and because the space/weight required for extra shoes is too high a price to pay for something that I feel has a very very low probability of happening to me.

Posted by
5837 posts

To carry or not to carry emergency stuff, that is the question.

While there is no answer universal to all, the general principle should be based on risk probability and the consequence of the improbable.

If an event is highly probable and the consequence is life-threatening or at the least a major inconvenience, the rational answer is to carry the stuff to mitigate the consequence. E.g. older tourist with a myocardial infarction history should carry medications and have a copy of prescription along with their travelers medical insurance card.

The other end of the risk-consequence matrix it a low probability of occurrence with minor or inconsequential repercussions. In that case, don't carry the mitigating item. Tourist visiting urban centers if first world Europe need not carry extra anything.

The challenge comes from the high risk/low(er) consequence and the low risk/high consequence quadrants. Then it becomes a question of individual risk-tolerance. The river boat gamblers may choose to pack light and not carry anything extra and plan on buying an umbrella if it rains. The cautious travelers may want to pack a few band aids and aspirins along with their card of duct tape.

Posted by
14 posts

As my original post on 04/30/16 stated, I have used several items from the TAK on my last trip to Europe. I take the kit with me in my car, and have needed and used those items on road trips too. It's not really an issue of space, money, or weight to me because of its importance and usefulness. I replace and add items as needed.

Posted by
27265 posts

A tip regarding duct tape: Do not assume you can find it easily in Europe. I saw it (I think) at a market in Rome last year, but that was before I needed some. When the time came that I needed to repair my suitcase, I had no luck locating duct tape. Other tape that was 2" wide, yes, but not as heavy as duct tape. I looked in multiple countries in both stores and street markets over a period of several months. I was never even able to determine the proper terminology. I think the product is unusual enough in at least some European countries that there isn't a specific local term for it. So for me duct tape is now in the same category as my prescription drugs--a must-pack item.

Traveling is about having fun. Band aids weigh next to nothing and are easy to carry. I had a bad experience once on a cruise ship trying to find a bandaid for my bleeding child. So, I now carry a small kit and have used it on children at theme parks. I also carry amoxicillin when traveling anywhere because of a couple of travel experiences and NOT having it.
Do whatever puts you at ease for traveling.
Here's a tip for a kit - visit your local dollar store. Great for travel supplies. You can buy a bandaid kit or buy an eyeglass case or other container/pouch and fill it with first aid supplies. You can also find microfiber towels, miniflashlights, pill containers, clips, tape, - etc.
Happy Travels Everyone.

Posted by
19118 posts

"Don’t pack for the worst-case scenario. Pack for the best-case scenario and simply buy yourself out of any jams. Bring layers rather than take a heavy coat. Think in terms of what you can do without — not what will be handy on your trip. When in doubt, leave it out. I’ve seen people pack a whole summer’s supply of deodorant or razors, thinking they can’t get them there. The world is getting really small: You can buy Dial soap, Colgate toothpaste, Nivea cream, and Gillette razors in Sicily and Slovakia. Tourist shops in major international hotels are a sure bet whenever you have difficulty finding a personal item. If you can’t find one of your essentials, ask yourself how half a billion Europeans can live without it. Rather than carry a whole trip’s supply of toiletries, take enough to get started and look forward to running out of toothpaste in Bulgaria. Then you have the perfect excuse to go into a Bulgarian department store, shop around, and pick up something you think might be toothpaste."

Guess who.

At home, if you go downtown for the day, do you take a TAK? (OK, I've seen some women's purses, and they even have defibrillators in them.)

Posted by
76 posts

Knowing you can get items and having them when you need them are two separate things. Of course I can buy BandAids anywhere I'm going, but that doesn't help me if I'm bleeding on the train or late at night. Of course I can buy ibuprofen, but since I have a huge container at home that cost me very little and adding more to my container won't make any difference at all in my packing, why wouldn't I bring some extra instead of spending money on something I could have brought with no effort? Of course I could buy moleskin for blisters, but when I'm out on the trail or touring a museum, isn't it better to have some with me than to go in search of it?

The subject isn't about getting the every day items such as toothpaste and soap. It's about extra items that can be very useful when you need them. Each traveler has to decide for him/herself what those items are.

Posted by
518 posts

I think these two replies sum it all up:

"While there is no answer universal to all, the general principle should be based on risk probability and the consequence of the improbable. "

and

"Of course I can buy BandAids anywhere I'm going, but that doesn't help me if I'm bleeding on the train or late at night. Of course I can buy ibuprofen, but since I have a huge container at home that cost me very little and adding more to my container won't make any difference at all in my packing, why wouldn't I bring some extra instead of spending money on something I could have brought with no effort? Of course I could buy moleskin for blisters, but when I'm out on the trail or touring a museum, isn't it better to have some with me than to go in search of it?"

I don't disagree with RS' advice on giving yourself the opportunity to shop local for things, which is great if you have plenty of time in a destination (say several days up to a week), but if you're on a tour (and not necessarily an RS tour either), you have a maximum of what, 1-2 days per stop? Do you really want to use that precious time shopping for essentials? Again, not that that wouldn't be a good travel experience, but with minimal time, you don't want to have to choose between shopping for a bandage and seeing the Louvre, especially with things like a bandage (i.e., items for situations that can't really wait till the end of the day when you have more time to go shopping).

If you're "OK" with the consequences based on the low probability (whether real or perceived) of something occurring, then have at it, but most of the items mentioned here (bandages, moleskin, etc.) occupy VERY VERY little space and weigh very little.

Posted by
5837 posts

...the opportunity to shop local for things....

The experience of shopping local for what are day to day North American sundries can be an interesting cultural learning experience. We started our multi-week in Prague with a small TSA 3-1-1 very compliant tube of toothpaste. We learned that the grocery store/"supermarkets" near our old town location did not sell toothpaste. I forgot which kind of retailer did, but it did take several shopping stops to find a tube of Chezh toothpaste. Shopping for toothpaste was a memorable experience.

Posted by
1068 posts

True, but there is a difference between looking for a tube of toothpaste (common enough) and seeking a charging cord for your camera (which is specific to that camera) or meds. I have enjoyed the occasional shopping jaunt, however, in the space of about 45 minutes I became incredibly ill with travelers tummy when in Cusco. Now, I could have saved weight by not bringing cipro and imodium. However, I would not have felt like calling a doctor, getting a prescription, finding and going to a pharmacy in a strange city at night (which was in the midst of a strike at that time) when I felt the way I did. IMHO comparing bringing something like a few emergency medical supplies vs a bottle of shampoo is apples to oranges. Of course, everyone travels their own way. If that sounds like fun to you, have at it. I believe also, that the OP was referring to bringing some small emergency medical supplies and sewing items, both of which meet TSA requirements (generally) for carry on baggage. Large tubes of toothpaste do not. Again, we have apples and oranges IMHO.

Posted by
198 posts

I go with a carry-on as well, but I usually check it just for convenience.

So, I think of it this way:

My kitchen: a spork (with a knife edge--Eddie Bauer or Amazon) and a plastic flexible cutting board. It takes up nothing in terms of weight, but it's a clean surface for cutting and serving cheese and snacks when I want to eat in my hotel room. Which is at least once a trip.

My bathroom: bandaids in different sizes, neosporin, moleskin, aspirin. I once bought aspirin in France and thought: wow. I remember this: it was not buffered and was the old salty kind of aspirin. It worked, but it was just different. Also masques, as your skin will be stressed from different water and other regimens. Sephora has some that are inexpensive and portable.

My "utility room": sewing kit (from a hotel), tiny scissors, a couple of clothespins, eyeglass screwdriver, spot remover, super glue (tiny)

None of this individually is heavy, and together it doesn't weigh much -- plus it fits in the "ribs" of the suitcase where the handle is.

I love shopping in hardware/drug/grocery stores where the locals shop because you never know when you'll find something cool. But I don't want to have an emergency that can be fixed with something that I can easily take. Especially if it's available at the Dollar Store!

Posted by
15340 posts

I never knew packing light was a competitive sport.

Some of you make it sound as if "I pack lighter than you so I win."

I pack light. I use my definition of "light." No one else's. I travel because I enjoy it. I take things with me that make my travels more enjoyable or better for me. No one else.

I don't understand the berating some people here give others because they take something you don't. If you aren't traveling with them, and you don't know them, how does it affect you? Do you have xray vision, see inside their bag, and think...."ugh, they took extra aspirin so my trip is ruined. I didn't take any aspirin so I'm better than you. I'm right and you're wrong. I don't need aspirin so you don't need aspirin. But if I do take something that you don't, it's okay because I'm right and you're wrong."

And by the way, when it comes to the packing light competition.....you all lose. Rolf Potts beat you.

http://www.rtwblog.com/about-the-challenge/

Take whatever makes YOU happy. It's your trip, your time, your money. You have to please no one but yourself.

Posted by
15886 posts

I'm in Frank's camp: we pack reasonably, do laundry (sink and laundromats) and check luggage. As long as we can manage the bags ourselves, it works for us. Obsessing about size and weight of every single item would cause us more rather than less stress! Have we always needed the Imodium? No, but it sure was nice to have at hand (immediately!) the one or two times it was.

It's not the Rick mantra but there's more than one way to skin the cat?
And (gasp) we don't use moneybelts either: there are other ways around those too.

Posted by
15886 posts

I hope you don't either, MrsEB! We travel independently so have some flexibility if Traveler's Tummy strikes but I can't imagine being on a tour - with a fixed schedule and no loo handy - with a deadly, early-morning case of that and no opportunity to hit a drugstore. A must, a must, a must….

Posted by
368 posts

I agree . Take what you need not what others think you need or don't. I suffer from bad allergies and always take Claritin, Sudafed and Benadryl in addition to the prescription asthma med. On most trips I don't need it, well the Benadryl for sleeping, but if I have an allergy attack I know that what I have works and works well. I don't want to try to find something similar that may not work as well. What I take does not weigh much nor does it take up much room, but if I have an allergy problem I know what I have will work.

I also take a small first aid kit, sewing kit, eyeglass repair knit, shout wipes and woolite paks. The one thing I take that is a little over the top is purse packs of Kleenex. I always take way to many. On one trip I ended up giving 5 to a person who had a bad cold because she could not find any in the local stores in France. I always take blister stuff. I have very little feeling in my right foot and after getting a huge blister on my heel (could not feel the pain from the shoe rubbing even though they were broken in) I always carry supplies with me.

So I guess it can be summed up by saying I take what makes me fell comfortable and prepared. Piece of mind is as important as a light suitcase.

Posted by
1068 posts

I don't understand the berating some people here give others because they take something you don't. If you aren't traveling with them, and you don't know them, how does it affect you? Do you have xray vision, see inside their bag, and think...."ugh, they took extra aspirin so my trip is ruined. I didn't take any aspirin so I'm better than you. I'm right and you're wrong. I don't need aspirin so you don't need aspirin. But if I do take something that you don't, it's okay because I'm right and you're wrong."

Exactly. While packing light is nice, doing that at the expense of your level of comfort/ease of movement etc. is (to me) just plain silly. Being talked down to because you take what you like is just plain annoying. You are traveling to have a good time. It is interesting that RS, as you watch his videos on packing and read his lists, doesn't do minimal packing. He takes stuff that makes him comfortable. While there are numerous examples of this the time it really hit me was watching him on video in Europe wearing jeans....... wait, they aren't quick dry and light..... doesn't he know what he's doing! %)

Posted by
518 posts

In the old days (and old days I guess is a relative for everyone), your suitcase had mainly clothes and your toothbrush/paste, razor, etc. When I pack these days though, I find that tech related gear and toiletries are taking up more and more space. The breakdown on my recent trips, in terms of percentage of space taken up, looks more like:

Clothes = 50%
Toiletries = 25%
Tech gear (i.e., chargers, batteries, camera, etc.) = 25%

Posted by
7364 posts

Frank, the airlines are going to start weighing all of the bags on international flights. People with the heaviest will all be assigned the middle seats in the plane; the winner with the lightest bag can be the first through Customs! Ha!

Posted by
15340 posts

Actually, Jean, when weight and balancing an aircraft, you want the lightest items in the back. So....with your idea....those with the lightest bags sit in the back and wait while everyone else gets their bags our of the overheads.

Posted by
5837 posts

FAA AC120-27E:
Passenger weight assumptions

The standard average passenger weights in Table 2-1 include 5 pounds for summer
clothing, 10 pounds for winter clothing, and a 16-pound allowance for personal items and
carry-on bags
. Where no gender is given, the standard average passenger weights are based on
the assumption that 50 percent of passengers are male and 50 percent of passengers are female.

TABLE 2-1. STANDARD AVERAGE PASSENGER WEIGHTS
Standard Average Passenger Weight Weight Per Passenger

Summer Weights
Average adult passenger weight 190 lb
Average adult male passenger weight 200 lb
Average adult female passenger weight 179 lb
Child weight (2 years to less than 13 years of age) 82 lb

Winter Weights
Average adult passenger weight 195 lb
Average adult male passenger weight 205 lb
Average adult female passenger weight 184 lb
Child weight (2 years to less than 13 years of age) 87 lb

c. An operator may use summer weights from May 1 to October 31....

Posted by
108 posts

Indeed. It is not a contest. I take a first aid kit that includes band aids, Neosporin, OTC pain killers, allergy meds, immodium, tums, Emergen-C, Pedialyte powder packets, and a few other things. I don't use everything on every trip, but I've been sick overseas alone, and the last thing you want to do when you're sick in a foreign country is to try to figure out what the local equivalent to X medication is and where you can find it at 2am.

And Lee, I've traveled with quite a few of them and even Europeans carry meds with them sometimes. A person is more familiar with the meds available in their native country, where to get them, what needs a prescription, how they'll react to said meds, etc. than the average tourist (or even someone who's lived there awhile). Sometimes, dosages are different, medications are combined a little differently, etc. which can cause an unknown reaction. Case in point, I spent a semester studying in Australia in college. I ran out of the sinus medication I brought with me but was still having some allergy trouble, so I went to a chemist to see what I could find. I brought the box of my U.S. sinus medicine and showed it to the pharmacist, who gave me a box of stuff that she said was pretty much the same. And it was, but with codeine (available over the counter there, at least at that time), which I'd never had before in my life. Unlike the U.S. cold medicine, the Australian stuff knocked me out cold because of the codeine. It wasn't problematic because I was a student and it was on a school break, so I could just sleep, but if I'd taken it while traveling or had a more serious reaction, it could have been a different story.

So, I carry some of the stuff I use often enough because it saves me the hassle of hunting down an anti-diarrheal at 2am in an unfamiliar city or running the risk of having an adverse reaction to a medicine I've not used before when I'm already feeling miserable. You can't plan for every eventuality and there are good quality doctors and pharmacies in Europe if you have an issue, but carrying a few things that I use often enough and are light enough to carry with me has saved my bacon on enough occasions in the eight years I've lived overseas and dozens of international trips that it's worth it to carry a small first aid kit.