Skip to Content

What to do when your child gets sick on vacation

It happened to us last year. Our child got sick on vacation! We hardly knew what to do, but now I do, and I’m telling you, so you don’t have to experience the drama and anxiety!

when your child gets sick on vacationThis is a sponsored post.

We were tent camping hours away from home, with no internet unless we drove into town. The second night, our little guy woke up in the middle of the night screaming about wanting to go outside. Outside. In the middle of the night in the middle of the woods. No thank you!

He must’ve had a bad dream. The night noises woke him up, we thought. Or, maybe he’s just being his very determined self and insisting we go out and play at 2 a.m. with the screech owls. Just, no.

Well, he cried and cried. My husband was trying to get him to sleep on the cot with him (which takes co-sleeping to all new levels), when I heard a tell-tale hiccup. Oh no. no no no no noooo! I jumped up and shouted, “Get him outside!” Too late. He threw up all over hubby, the cot, the sleeping bag. Just. Disaster!

And now what!? We were miles from anywhere! Nothing would be opened, even if we could find it. After cleaning up what we could, giving him ice water to cool him down, and chucking all the soiled items outside, we finally got back to bed. But I was worried about him of course! We woke early the next morning, and had another problem: I had a horrible migraine from the damp and chill, and not getting enough rest, and sleeping on a cot, and screech owls. If you’ve never had a migraine before, try to imagine seasickness combined with someone rapping on your head with a ball pin hammer. No fun.

So, our second day of camping involved driving into town to pay a fortune for migraine and children’s medicines, the laundromat, and looking up a chiropractor for me and hoping they took our insurance. Not fun, let me tell you!

How to pack for when your family gets sick on vacation

Not enough can be said for planning ahead!! We always pack things like bandaids and bug bite stuff when we camp. And packing your child’s daily medications if needed is a given. But nobody anticipated a throwing up run-of-the-mill illness! Or a migraine! Be sure to include these things to your travel medical kit:

  • Your insurance cards!! 
  • Children’s acetaminophen and/or ibuprofen in liquid form. You don’t want to pay gas station prices, and you’ll be lucky if they even carry it!
  • Migraine medications if you suffer from this ailment
  • Throw up bag or bucket. And keep it handy at night!
  • Large zip bags for stashing soiled laundry – the 2 gallon ones would work well for this.
  • Extra blanket and/or PJs, because why do all these things happen at night!?
  • Baby wipes for quick cleanup; disinfectant wipes for cleaning surfaces that have gotten soiled
  • Small instant ice packs for bringing down fevers
  • Small juice box and/or electrolyte drink, and a small package of plain crackers – camp/travel food just isn’t going to work for a sick kiddo

How to plan for when your child gets sick on vacation

So we had two illnesses on the same day, and both fairly common. But really, think of everything else that can happen when you travel! From bee stings, food poisoning, broken legs, and more!

In addition to packing a thorough medical kit, you should also pack medical information. Like where to go when you need medical attention!

  • Look up these six medical provider numbers and their locations if needed) before you travel.
  • Note whether these providers are in or out of your health insurance network.
  • Mark the mileage from where you are staying.
  • Keep them printed out rather than on your phone in case of battery loss or no signal.
  1. Your (and your children’s) Primary Care Doctor – get their numbers and find out their hours for phone calls. Know whether you need a referral to see another doctor or specialist.
  2. Sign up for a Virtual Doctor visit service. Great for things like pinkeye, seasonal allergies, and fever concerns. The advantage is they are 24/7, so for minor concerns, you get a consult right away.
  3. Similarly, and for no cost, have the NurseLine number handy from your insurance provider. This gets you on the phone with a medical professional right away to get direction for where to take your child.
  4. Walk-In Care Clinics are handy for minor medical treatment like cuts, flu, earache and more. A good choice when you’re too far to see your own doctor.
  5. An Urgent Care Center for fast care that isn’t an emergency. Minor burns, sprains, and infections can be handled here.
  6. Definitely go straight to an Emergency Room for anything serious like chest pain, shortness of breath, or major burns or breaks.

By keeping these medical provider numbers and locations handy in advance, you’ll be prepared and know where to go when your child gets sick on vacation (although praying that never happens to you!).

Hopefully you’ll never have to use this information you’ll now pack on your trip. But if you do, that’s one step ahead for you when your child gets sick on vacation.

when your child gets sick on vacation

Trip 21 Family Camping Tips That Will Ensure An Awesome Time - Lasso the Moon

Thursday 9th of March 2017

[…] Research the area. Note the nearest gas station, grocery store, and medical care center. Jot down phone numbers and addresses in case you don’t have a cell signal. And mark these on a printed map. It’s so important to know where to go if your child gets sick on vacation! […]

April Yap

Sunday 29th of January 2017

Thanks for the nice tips Julie! I agree getting your child sick while on vacation is the worst thing. I really appreciate your in-depth guide and will recommended this to my friends and relatives. Having a plan on this kind of things is really helpful as we often lose our focus on situations like this. Again thanks!


Sunday 5th of June 2016

Please accept my corrected entry for the name of the post over at June 2016 Dares + Giveaway, the Kona House