I have a small pack that I always carry with me when I am traveling; especially internationally, because there are some items you can not readily obtain while you are abroad. My little medical travel container holds: antibacterial cream, pepto bismal tablets, alcohol pads that are pre-moistened, band-aids, aspirin and ibuprofen, benadryl, cough drops, cold medicine tablets and alka seltzer. I may toss in other items too; however, the aforementioned products are always standard in my medical travel container. Since I rarely check luggage, I do have to place any of the wet items into my little zippy bag that holds the liquids you are allowed to check on, but once I arrive at my destination, I move the items back to my medical travel container so that all of the products are together in one place, and I slip it in my bag while I am foraging around in the new city.
I can't tell you how many times people who have been traveling with me have used the products, because they never thought they would need any of those items, so they never thought to bring them along. Yes, most people will bring any of their prescription medicines, contact lenses solution and vitamins, but rarely do they have other items that can come in handy while traveling.
There are a couple other "rules of thumb" that I try to abide by when I am traveling. First of all, I do NOT prefer to use the airplane restroom, and I typically only have to use the airplane restroom when I am traveling on an international flight; otherwise, I always use the restroom just prior to boarding, so I don't need to use the restroom on a flight. I am fortunate, in that, I do not have any medical conditions that require that I have to use the restroom frequently, and I don't have a small bladder, so I can do very well. Second, I caution all of my friends when we are traveling together that they probably shouldn't over indulge in the libations the night before we are to get on a plane the next day, because hangovers and planes just don't mix. Some heed the caution, and some don't, but those that don't aren't very happy that they didn't heed the warning. Also, while I may love to try exotic food when I am traveling, and I tend to try a variety of foods, I am hesitant to try anything too exotic when I know I'm going to be on an airplane for 7+ hours. If there is something I really want to eat, I'll do it at the beginning of my trip, so that if something doesn't agree with me, I have a few days on land to work through it, versus being stuck in a tiny airplane bathroom. And it sounds like the gentleman (who was the catalyst for this blog entry) did not enjoy his time being stuck in the airplane bathroom from Africa back to the U.S.