There you are, with sand between your toes, the sun is shining bright. You’ve finally got your swim suit on, a fresh coconut drink in your hand… You are officially in paradise and your family vacation has begun! Unfortunately, one of the kids is not feeling well and asking to go back to the room. We’ve all been there! What do you do when your kids get sick on vacation?

With as much as we travel, this has happened to us many times. I’ve been through it all with my kids and even my husband (his was really bad in the middle of the rain forest). I’m no expert, but I now know how to prepare for these types of situations while we are traveling.

Of course, there comes times when your kids may need more medical attention, but for everything else I try to come prepared on every trip. Follow along to see what I do to make sure that I have everything you need to prepare for your kids getting sick on your next vacation.


Plan Ahead for Sickness

I’ve shared this in other travel posts before, as it is a very important part of my trip planning. If you plan for the worst, when it happens you will feel so much more empowered. I like to have every part of my time planned. I like to think that if I do that, nothing can or will steer away from that plan (even if it isn’t the case). The more prepared you are for your kids getting sick, the smoother the trip will go when they do. 

I always bring a just in case bag on all of our trips! Check it out here and see what we pack in it.

Prepare for your Surroundings

This goes hand in hand with the plan ahead. If you know the area you are going to visit then things will go smoother. You’ve already done the research into the best destination, resort and restaurants to visit during vacation. Do a little more digging and find a local health clinic or hospital that is near your resort or hotel. See what pharmacy is close by and their hours. In the event you need to make a late night run for some pain meds you will be happy you knew ahead of time. 


Check with your Concierge 

The concierge will be your best friend while you’re on vacation. Their job is to know the area, and help you! The concierge at Hilton La Romana was an amazing help when one of my girls got sick on our last adventure. They are there to help when the worst happens, they will make your lives so much easier. Don’t let the worry of asking for help scare you. That’s what they are there for.

Schedule a Call with Your Pediatrician 

Most pediatrician or doctor’s offices will allow you to call and consult them, or even have a video appointment. Going back to the planning ahead part… you can always check with your office before you leave to make sure this is an option. Also ask if they have a 24 hour phone number you can call with concerns. There is a chance that you may be in a different time zone when traveling and need to call in when would be in the middle of the night at home.


Rest, Rest, and more Rest 

I know this doesn’t sound like the best use of your time while on vacation, but it will help tremendously. Think about what you would do at home when your littles are sick, what do you have them do?  Yes!, you make sure they are getting plenty of rest. A lot of families try and power through and push their sick family member through the activities and hope that things will improve. In my experience, that doesn’t help and sometimes can make it worse. Let your kids rest, spend some quality time in bed and save up for the end of the trip when they’re feeling better.


Split Duties with the Group

How fair does it sound that everyone has to be stuck inside when the sun is shining and the beach is calling your name. Parents and older siblings should chip in by splitting time with the one who is ill. Take turns resting with them in the room so that the other kids, and other parent, can still enjoy most of their vacation. Hopefully it is over before the trip, and everyone will be able to enjoy!

things to do when your kids get sick on vacation 

Stay Away if You’re Contagious 

If you have any suspicion that your battling an illness that is contagious, make sure that you are staying in and away from others. I understand it is no fun that your vacation plans have changed, but you don’t want other families to have to go through it as well. This also means quarantine from the rest of the family if possible.


Drink Plenty of Fluids 

This goes hand in hand with rest. Drinking lots of clear fluids will certainly help the recovery process. Remember, being sick on vacation is no different than being sick at home. Wherever you are, we need to make sure they’re staying hydrated. Coconut water is extra-hydrating, so bring them some in a coconut so they can enjoy the festivities as well.


Pack a “Just in Case” Bag 

Even when you pack light like we do, I still make sure I have a just in case bag. This bag contains travel sized items that we would use on the regular and other things that I know may be hard to find if someone gets sick. Travel size and small bottles are the way to go. It’s a priority to always have a fully stocked bag with us, it’s saved the day on more than one occasion.

everything you need for when you're kids get sick on vacation 

Here’s what I usually keep in my “just in case bag”

  • Stain wipes
  • Metamucil
  • Tums
  • Ibuprofen for kids
  • Melatonin
  • Healing lip balm
  • Cold & flu tea
  • Oscilloccinum (I Love this stuff)
  • Advil
  • Airborne with elderberry
  • Benadryl cream
  • Meds for swimmers ear
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Dramamine
  • Natural remedy for upset tummy for kids
  • After sun aloe
  • Wrinkle spray
  • Clorox wipes


Whew!! I didn’t think that I kept that many things in this bag. I find that as different scenarios happen, I realize what else I need to add to this bag with each trip. I always keep it small though. I’m not prepared to bring a full size suitcase on each trip.


First Aid Kit 

Yes this is pretty  similar to your “just in case bag” but this is more band aids and ice packs and bandages. These are generally packed in a smaller container, often within my “just in case bag” or separate and easily available to take on day trips. If you’re planning to do a lot of hiking, adventure or camping in the woods, it’s a good idea to bring your full first aid kit.


Research the Local Pharmacy 

I’ve talked about planning ahead a few times now, but you can’t pack everything.. believe me, you don’t want to pay those baggage fees. Just about anywhere you go, you can always find a pharmacy nearby. The local pharmacy and the pharmacist can be a great resource while on vacation. Most prescriptions can be transferred from your regular pharmacy at home.


Time to Head Home 

Know when you’ve done all you can do and when you should head home. You can do everything right, rest, fluid and medicine. But sometimes as awful as it sounds, you may need to just cut your losses and go home. No one is going to have fun when you have someone that is really truly sick. There is no better place for them, then at home in their own bed or with your family doctor.


I really hope that you are never put in the position of having a sick loved one while on vacation. Yes, we can always make the best of it. No one wants to be sick, especially while you’re away from home. You spent so much time and money on this vacation and it’s no fun to see someone missing out on the enjoyment.

If you liked this post and want to be more prepared for your next trip with your family. Check out my post about 15 must have items for your next road trip with kids. This will help you be prepare similarly for a trip on the road.

Enjoy, and have a coconut drink for me! :) 

Come follow me on Instagram and Tiktok. I share our vacation as we’re experiencing it there. I also talk about our most recent vacation where we did in fact have a sick kiddo. Come follow me and see how we were able to make it work for our whole family.

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