Save money on holiday medical costs 


Hello Dear Reader,

We first went on holiday to France in 2005, we had phrase book French and I got mild food poisoning. No sympathy needed as I was campsite cooking and may not have chilled something well enough. We found out to our cost that you can’t get anything medically stronger than a herbal teabag anywhere but a pharmacy. Also, you can’t just walk in, pick up meds and walk out and when you’ve made yourself understood then you won’t get them cheap either.

Don’t get ‘caught out’ like I did. Now, we save money by taking a few basic medical supplies…..just in case. Most of these are off the shelf and really cheap, not to mention small and lightweight to pack and take with us.

We take: first aid kit, pain killers, sprain bandages, antacids, migraine pills, anti- diarrhoea tablets, antihistamines (pills and sting cream) in fact an array of Mede we could need. Most have two year use by dates and I have them at home. We pay for our prescriptions and none of the meds costs more than a couple of pounds a go. We get a lot of meds in Poundland.  Everything neatly fits into an old plastic lunch box. 

You can pare this down and take half packs or just two or three items that are most important to you. An old makeup bag would squeeze into the car glove compartment and be a great place to keep them when you’re on your French holiday. There’s nothing worse than getting poorly whilst on holiday but it’d be a comfort to know some meds are at hand. 

Over to you Dear Reader, who else takes a meds pack on holiday (if you keep one at home, of course… may not) and does it save you money?

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx


20 thoughts on “Save money on holiday medical costs 

  1. We don’t take any over the counter meds but use essential oils to treat everything. I do have training in this so it is not guess work. We take all of our oils and some herbs and tinctures and a few vitamins that we are prone to need. The things with essential oils is that they are heavy to transport but we find it well worth it to bring them along since I can treat anything that way. In the heat of the summer we zip them all up in a soft side cooler to protect them against the heat.


  2. I’m visiting France later this year so that’s really good to know, I will be prepared. Our usual holiday destination is South East Asia where you can buy anything you like, even antibiotics over the counter.


  3. Hi, we holiday in the UK, but because I need daily meds we have a comprehensive first aid and medical kit, I also take the prescription for any meds needed just in case we have a misshap .


  4. I don’t go anywhere without a first aid kit and would add a little pot of tiger balm for itchy bites and headaches and citronella oil for midges etc.


  5. My first holiday to France and my new sandals rubbed giving me blisters. A trip to the chemist to get plasters turned into “Give us a clue”. Every trip since I have packed the plasters first. I take a first aid kit and all the other pills and potions we could possibly need. It seems to be guaranteed that any item I have forgotten will be required. I agree it saves money to take all your essentials with you. I usually buy pills etc when they are on offer or buy generic brands to save money.


  6. I don,t pay for prescriptions in Scotland. Saves the NHS millions as people do not pick and choose medication to take due to cost. GP,s prescribe paracetamol, anti sickness, anti diarrhoea tabs, sun cream, after sun, indigestion tabs, meds that people in other countries wouldn,t get on prescription as cheaper to buy in super drug etc.


  7. In addition to packing lots of bandaids and over-the-counter pain meds, I always pack an anti-allergy medication when we travel, in case one of us has a reaction to a new food. We always purchase travel health insurance when traveling internationally. It’s inexpensive, and will cover you in the unlikely event you need to be flown home in a medical emergency. My daughter became very ill when she was in South Africa and actually spent a day in the hospital, so I agree that it’s very important to think about how you will get medical care if you need it.


  8. If you check the list of “active ingredients” on the back of the packet you will very often find that the brand and the generic main ingredient are exactly the same. For example Zirtek, an antihistamine, contains 10mgs of Cetirizine and costs £9.39 for 21 tablets whereas you can pick up plain old “Cetirizine” 10 mgs in Savers, Aldi (or similar) for 79p for 14 tablets . Same with Loratadine 10mgs (Clarytin). Loperamide. . Supermarket plain paracetamol and ibuprofen as effective if the active ingredient and dose is the same , I.e. Like for like, as the well recognised brand name. Zantac 150mgs and Ranitidine 150mgs same. Check the back.


  9. Im in Australia, so our holidays haven’t yet involved another language. We do, as a general rule pack medicines when we go away, though.
    Our eldest child has anaphylactic allergies, so we always carry a small makeup bag with her epi-pen, antihistamine, bandaids and panadol. When we go away we make sure everything’s topped up and add a few other things that we may need for us or the kids.
    We’ve found in the past that you often need medicine at 10pm when it costs a small fortune as the only places open are the more convenient style chemists.


  10. We take OTC meds, much like your kit…plus basic homeopathy kits, essential oils, neosporin, herbal medicinal teas, and immunity shots (a great otc natural homeopathic med for colds). We purchase local honey at our destination when we travel as well. It is great for allergies, colds and as a topical for bad burns or other wounds.

    You can also buy antibiotics in fish packaging in the US for food animals, and I keep a stash on hand at home for a potential worst case scenario.


  11. When we leave Australia to fly to Europe, we take a first aid which contains medication for pain, flu and fever, colds, diarrhoea, constipation, vomiting, antiseptic cream, sore throat lozenges and band-aids and small bandages for any problems we may encounter. As well we also carry in the language of the country a page which describes our need for gluten free medicine. This worked well in Germany last Christmas where both of us ended up in hospital overnight. We never leave Australia without travelling insurance either. Packs can be quite small, even though you are taking a number of things, and they allow freedom to self medicate until you can get more supplies or medical help. It pays to be prepared!


  12. Yes we take even the generic Panadol for granted. Visiting the Phillipines last year with friends/travelling companions, my husband gave our one sheet of Panadol to some new Phillipino friends as it costs to buy just the one tablet….next day we needed some so we had to borrow another sheet from our travelling companions. It won’t happen again…next time we’ll take a box 🙂


  13. I always carry a small bag of essentials even when taking a day trip to London: paracetemol, travel sick pills, Imodium, tissues & antiseptic hand gel, together with a small (250ml) bottle of tap water.


  14. Hi Froogs
    We take a basic first aid kit and medications we need when we go on holiday. One thing to be careful about in France – when you are prescribed medicine or buy it in the pharmacy it can be at a higher concentration than we are used to in the UK so check how many milligrammes in each tablet before you automatically swallow the number of tablets you would normally take. Hope that makes sense!


  15. Unfortunately I have quite complex medical history. I always carry my medicines in packs prepared by my pharmacist. My general practitioner gives me quite a comprehensive letter to carry with me. I also carry my allergy meds and other general stuff. The only place where I have had trouble was in Shanghai this last March. There was a huge amount of fuss and bother about my mother’s special drink. It was not included in the letter from the doctor. Apparently this formula is only available from hospitals in China.

    In the last year I have travelled successfully through England, France, Switzerland, three South Pacific Islands, Malaysia, Vietnam, Hong Kong and lastly China.

    So my tips are:

    Always carry one week extra to allow for any small problems.
    Be careful if travelling to China. Their rules are so different and little things can bring problems.


  16. Hi there Froogs,

    Quick thing – you should never take anti diarrhoea meds for infective diarrhoea (ie tummy bugs) – you can risk severe bowel problems. Just replace fluid losses with dioralyte.

    Also please tell everyone to get insurance – I’ve had pts whose families have had to re-pat them here for £100000

    liz (Dr)


  17. We also have a second home in France and we arrived at exactly the same conclusions as you. We take supplies of over the counter remedies and our prescription medicines to France, keep a first aid kit in both homes and in the car.


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