You don’t have to be an expert to see that the way we travel has changed dramatically over the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And with the virus persisting, it doesn’t look like the travel and tourism industries will return to normal anytime soon.
That being said, some countries have started reopening their borders and letting people in, while others are taking new measures (such as quarantine periods) so that travel can resume as soon as possible.
Still, travel will look a little different in the era of COVID-19, and it is likely that some of these changes will remain long in the future. This includes the essentials that you should take with you when you travel.
Some of these items go without saying, but you also don’t want to leave the house without some of the less obvious items. That’s why we’ve put together this guide.
Below we take a look at some of the must-pack items for traveling in today’s coronavirus world.
Nowadays it is likely that you will not even be allowed to enter the airport without a mask. However, in the excitement of going on vacation, it can be easy to forget about some of the most obvious things (including your passport).
Because of this, we thought we’d start with the most obvious section, your medical must-haves. Below are the most important elements that you will need almost every day in a COVID-19 world. It’s important to have all of these things while traveling. Usually either in hand luggage or in a handbag.
Coronavirus medical must-haves include:
- Face masks – It’s best to have a couple of masks with you. Disposable masks are fine, but reusable masks are of course much more environmentally friendly and inexpensive
- Hand sanitizer – Make sure the alcohol content is over 60% as this is the recommended and most effective concentration
- Disinfectant wipes – We know that it is almost impossible not to touch anything. Disinfectant wipes can therefore help you clean objects or surfaces before touching them. This includes items like your phone and passport (if others have handled them).
- Travel detergent – to wash reusable face masks in your hotel room after wearing them a few times
- thermometer – To keep track of your temperature, a key symptom of COVID-19. Especially if you feel sick while you are away
- Disposable or reusable gloves – This is a great way to avoid touching potentially dirty surfaces, especially in public places
These important documents
Of course, you always need the right documents when traveling: your passport, boarding pass and confirmation of your hotel booking are most important. However, with many new rules and regulations in place, you may still need to take some other documents with you when you travel in the future. These include:
- Travel insurance documents – You need to be well protected in case you get sick while you are away. Insurance companies are now buying tailored insurance policies for coronavirus and you should have proof that you are insured for safety reasons only
- Evidence of a negative COVID-19 test – In some countries you need to have a coronavirus test 48 hours before departure and you need to be able to show that it was negative. You may need to show in the future that you received the COVID-19 vaccine to fly, but this has yet to be decided
- Proof of quarantine – In some cases, you will need to be quarantined on arrival and may need to prove that you have accommodation during this time, whether it is a hotel, apartment or your home
Items to help you minimize contact
To be safe in a COVID-19 world, the key is to keep contact as low as possible. This minimizes the time spent interacting with strangers or co-workers, allows social distancing, and reduces the need to touch public or communal surfaces.
To help you with this, there are several ways you can go contactless while traveling and reduce the risk of contamination. So remember to bring the following items with you as you prepare for the trip and pack your bags:
- A contactless card – Contactless payments have increased in recent years, but these have become even more important in the age of coronavirus. Using a contactless card can reduce the need to touch card machines or ATMs
- Printed IDs – Printing all of the above IDs and documents can minimize the use of check-in counters or equipment
- Your own pen – There could be a number of reasons why you need a pen while traveling and have your own resources to avoid picking up a potentially germ-rich community pen
Don’t forget your technique
While this is not strictly necessary for your trip, there are some technical details that will help ensure your safety while you are away. These are:
- Your smartphone or tablet – With many places now relying on apps to keep things contactless, your smartphone or tablet will be of vital importance. This allows you to perform tasks like pre-ordering groceries at restaurants or picking up and checking in at hotels or venues
- A charger for portable phones – If you want to rely on your smartphone and tablet more than usual for contactlessness, make sure you have enough battery to keep you going! You can also avoid touching public charging stations when the battery is almost empty
- A selfie stick (eye roll queue) – Gone are the days when it was safe to ask a stranger to take a picture of you with your phone. In the era of coronavirus, strangers may not want to touch your phone, and neither should you! So overcome the cringe factor and get yourself a selfie stick so you don’t have to miss any photo opportunities