Headache, stomach ache, sunburn and other ailments are not life-threatening but they can definitely ruin your day, at home or on the other side of the world.

Here is what to include in your first-aid kit to get back on your feet as quickly as possible and make the most of your Working Holiday adventure.

Do I really need to carry a first-aid kit?

In short, yes, you do, for two main reasons.

First, travelling can be physically demanding and occasionally hard on the body. You may be introduced to foods that your stomach isn’t used to or face extreme temperatures, plus it’s easy to catch a bug when you’re tired, stressed out or a bit overwhelmed.

Second, the last thing you probably want to do if you have a headache or nasty stomach flu is to head to the local drugstore and realize you have no idea what to buy. If that case, you’ll be happy to have your own over-the-counter medicine from home because you’re already familiar with them.

What should I have in my first-aid kit?

Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  • Bandages (and bandages designed for blisters, you’re probably going to go for hikes or walk more than usual in your new environment!)
  • Antiseptic spray
  • Medication for motion sickness
  • Over-the-counter painkillers (ibuprofen or paracetamol)
  • Medication for stomach aches
  • Throat lozenges or cough drops
  • Sunscreen (especially in Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Chile, the hole in the ozone layer makes it easy to get sunburn)
  • Bug repellent and/or bug-bite relief (ever heard of sandflies in New Zealand and Australia?)
  • Your preferred contraception method (birth control pill, for instance)

Tip: It’s always a good idea to go see your family doctor before the trip for a checkup and to review what you may need. If you’re taking prescription drugs, make sure to carry the prescription with you to avoid any issues when entering the country.

What about prescription drugs?

If you’re on any prescription-only medication, the best solution is to bring enough supply for a full year. Some specific medications may not be available abroad. Keep your medication in the original box or container with your doctor’s prescription, as customs may ask to see it.

If you are unable to bring your medication with you for the duration of your stay, you can always go see a local doctor and ask for a new prescription. Make sure to have up-to-date health history info—the “go see your regular doctor before the trip” tip still applies.

What should I do for bigger health concerns?!

A bandage or over-the-counter painkiller might do the trick but sometimes, you do have to see a healthcare professional. Keep in mind that healthcare can be very expensive abroad, even for common illnesses like the flu—as a temporary resident, you won’t benefit from the health insurance system coverage typically offered to citizens and permanent residents.

The smart move is to buy health insurance coverage before the trip, even if proof of insurance isn’t required as part of your Working Holiday permit application.

On Pvtistes, we’ve heard from many travellers who didn’t have health insurance and ended up paying thousands, even tens of thousands of euros for healthcare.

Travel insurance offered by many credit cards won’t cover you—it’s handy for a holiday but long-term stays are usually excluded.  

Pvtistes.net has been recommending Globe WHV (through ACS) for more than 15 years. This solution meets the needs of Working Holiday permit holders for all destinations. 

Globe WHV covers Working Holiday permit holders wherever they choose to work and travel, but also during side trips to other countries. 


En PVT au Canada de novembre 2021 à 2023, je répondrai à vos questions avec plaisir. Pour le premier trimestre 2024, direction l'Amérique latine !

I moved from France to Canada on a WHV from November 2021 to 2023, followed then by spending the first quarter of 2024 in Latin America! Happy to answer all your questions.

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