Last year Katina G., the 20-something daughter of a Teladoc member, came down with a sinus infection while snowboarding in Colorado. Because her mom registered her as an eligible dependent, Katina was able to use the Teladoc app for help while she was away from home. After getting back, Katina told her mom that she could have used a packing list when she was preparing for spring break. “I was so jazzed to go on the trip that I didn’t think about not feeling well, so I didn’t really expect it,” she said.

A couple things to keep in mind when traveling is that things sometimes go wonky, no matter how well you plan. You could get sick, like Katina did, or end up staying longer than you intended, or—knock on wood—get stuck at the airport or train station overnight. You’ll want to be prepared in case things go off the rails, so here are a few general tips:

  • Keep everything you absolutely need in your carry-on bag. This includes prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses (and solution), medications (always pack a couple extra days’ worth) and printed prescriptions, dental retainers, hearing aids and batteries, travel documentation, travel battery and chargers for your cell phone, valuables (like a GoPro), and a small first-aid kit.
  • A good rule of thumb regarding toiletries, clothing, and accessories is to pick items that fulfill multiple needs. For example, Vaseline® works as a first-aid ointment as well as a skin moisturizer, lip protectant, and makeup remover. A large scarf can double as a blanket, head covering, a towel, and even a travel pillow.
  • We’ve included a flashlight on the packing list, and a smart way to keep track of it is to drop it into your shoe before you go to bed. If an emergency occurs, you’ll know exactly where the light is and will be able to find your way in the dark (remember to put on those shoes too).

Tools

Depending on how you’re traveling, you may be able to pack a nail care set. Include a pair of tweezers, a blunt-tipped metal file, and a large clipper. You also may want to stow a combination bottle opener/corkscrew with your checked gear. Why? Glad you asked: to protect the squad from injury if they try to open a bottle without the proper gadget.

Cold weather travel

Dealing with colder areas? Since the best way to stay warm is by trapping air between layers rather than dressing in a single thick layer, resist the temptation to take that trendy sweater. The thinner the clothing, the more you’ll be able to cram into your bags (they also dry faster). If you simply must take something thick or bulky, don’t pack it—wear it (think puffy coat and sheepskin boots). Bonus: If you have to go outside before hitting your final destination, you’ll be prepared even if you don’t have all your stuff. Organize your clothing into four groups:

  • Base: thermal layer, including tights and lightweight socks
  • Second: street clothes, fashion socks, and shoes
  • Top: rain- and wind-proof coverings
  • Specialty: gloves, hats/earmuffs, neck gaiters, ski socks, boots, and other gear specifically made for snow and long periods outdoors in cold weather

International travel

We have a section on the checklist for overseas travel. Reminder: Well before your departure date—ideally, six weeks to eight weeks out—make sure you have the proper immunizations for where you’re going. Also, check with the State Department about what you may need to get into, around, and back out of places you’re visiting.

Packing checklist

Pin or download this packing guide so you’ll be able to go on vacation without worrying whether you left something important at home. When you’re finished packing, drop the list in your luggage. It’ll help you repack so you don’t leave anything behind when it’s time to come home.

One of the most important things to remember about travel these days is that keeping everything on a cellphone can work against you if you lose your phone or have to keep it turned off. Print four sets of your itineraries, tickets, boarding passes, emergency contact information, passports, and photo ID. Leave one set at home with your emergency contact, pack one in your checked bags, give one set to a travel companion, and keep the last set in your carry-on bag.

Get the guide

We wish you a happy, safe, and healthy trip; and remember: If you get sick, Teladoc is only a tap or two away 24/7 wherever you are in the U.S. If you have a sore throat, stuffy nose, or strange aches, our board-certified doctors can help diagnose your condition, recommend treatment, and—if medically necessary—send a prescription to a nearby pharmacy. Be sure to update your medical history before you head out of town. Have a great time!

This portion of the Teladoc website occasionally offers health, fitness, and nutritional information and is provided for educational purposes only. You cannot rely on any information provided here as a substitute for or replacement of professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Teladoc cannot assure that the information contained on this site always includes the most recent findings or developments with respect to the particular subject matter covered.

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If you are in the United States and think you are having a medical or health emergency, call your healthcare professional, or 911, immediately.

The COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly evolving. While we are continuously reviewing and updating our content, some of the information in this article may not reflect the most up-to-date scientific information. Please visit the online resources provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and your local public health department to stay informed on the latest news, or reach out to Teladoc to speak with one of our board-certified physicians.