With borders beginning to open up and yet another COVID-19 variant on the loose, we’re taking a look at the best travel essentials to help you travel safely during the pandemic.
Our most important recommendation is to get vaccinated if at all possible. Whilst it won’t prevent you from catching COVID-19, it will help reduce the likelihood of needing hospital treatment – a huge bonus when you find yourself abroad.
Aside from that, there are a few things to consider to ensure you can travel safely during the pandemic.
Things to consider
What restrictions are in place at home and in your destination?
Different countries and even different states have their own rules regarding COVID-19. Consider whether or not the local or state government require you to self-isolate after travelling. If they do, you might find your trip is significantly impacted by a couple of weeks in quarantine.
Do you have travel health insurance?
Some places will require you to have travel health insurance. It’s not a bad investment during a global pandemic and should help your trip go more smoothly. Worst case, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you’ve got cover should you need to fall back on it.
Can you afford to stay if travel is banned?
You might find that borders are closed while you’re abroad. If that happens, you’ll be unable to return home and will need to stay longer than initially planned. Ensure you have a plan prepared in case this happens to you.
Is COVID-19 spreading in your destination?
As COVID-19 works its way around the world, your destination might become a COVID-19 hotspot. Usually, this leads to potential travel bans, and you might find your travel either rescheduled or cancelled. You should pay particular attention to any flights you have booked.
Is COVID-19 spreading at home?
If it is, you may find travel from your country to your destination is banned, and your trip might not go ahead. Depending on the restrictions in place, you may need to provide proof of vaccination and up-to-date negative COVID-19 tests to prove you don’t have the virus.
Do you live with, or are you travelling with high-risk individuals?
Maybe you choose to postpone your trip or cancel it entirely. If you live with someone high-risk, you may want to quarantine once you’ve returned to your home country. Travelling with high-risk companions will require you to be a little more careful too, and you’ll need to make sure you’re on top of your hygiene.
Can you find a flexible booking option instead?
The easiest solution for many of the issues posed here is to find a flexible booking solution. If COVID-19 gets in the way, you’ll find it easier to rearrange your trip. Flexible bookings are becoming more common as companies try to find ways to continue to operate.
With all that covered, let’s take a look at the best travel essentials for travelling during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our 7 Best Travel Essentials During COVID-19 Pandemic
1. Vaccine passport
Vaccine passports have different names depending on where you come from, but they serve the same purpose. You’ll want a record of your vaccination status to ensure that you’ll be able to cross borders, use transport and enter venues.
In the UK, you can use the NHS COVID Pass, and there are a few apps available that offer a similar service; some airlines accept them as proof of vaccination. The most widely recognised two are CommonPass and VeriFly.
2. Respirators or N95 and KN95 masks
These masks make our list purely because of the increased protection they provide over your bog-standard cloth mask.
Respirators tend to be better fitting and protect against smaller particles. You may find the extra protection against COVID-19 particularly useful when you’re planning to spend long periods in enclosed spaces with a large group of other people, for example, on a long flight.
Generally speaking, there’s little difference between the two, so it’s more a case of where they’re certified. Depending on the mask you have, you’ll probably be disposing of the respirators after use, so carrying a multi-pack would be recommended.
3. Disposable masks
Although technically wasteful, you might not always be able to clean or reuse your ‘main’ face covering, or you could be travelling with companions that happen to forget theirs. In either case, having a few disposable masks with you would help rectify the situation.
They’re also safer than reusing a simple cloth facemask because you’re disposing of them after use rather than risking additional contact with the virus.
4. Soap, sanitiser & a refillable dispenser
You may expect soap to be a given when you’re travelling, but it’s more important than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic. Equally important is a hand sanitiser, which will enable you to clean your hands without needing to touch the faucet or hand dryer.
Consider carrying a small refillable sanitiser dispenser so you won’t need to lug a bottle around. There are plenty of funky designs out there that you can easily attach to a day pack or keyring.
5. Disposable disinfectant wipes
There are two types of wipes on this list, and the disposable disinfectant wipe is your go-to method of general cleaning.
If you’re travelling, you’ll probably be staying somewhere that you don’t have an input on the cleanliness. Using a few disinfectant wipes will give you peace of mind that the surfaces have been cleaned and are safe to use during your stay.
6. COVID-19 test kits & a no-touch thermometer
Some places have unique travel restrictions that require you to provide a negative COVID-19 test before you’re allowed to enter. Given that there are often shortages when an outbreak occurs locally, carrying a few test kits with you could help you out in a pinch.
The same goes for a no-touch thermometer, as venues are increasingly checking temperatures before allowing patrons entry, so you’ll have a way to verify your temperature and that of those accompanying you.
7. A personal cutlery set
A wild inclusion on the list of travel essentials for safely travelling during the pandemic is a cutlery set.
Again, it comes down to reducing contact with items that other people have used. Cutlery might not be as clean as you’d like, and with a single set being so small, it’s an easy thing to include.
Be wary that you’ll need to keep it with your main luggage, or you’ll need a travel-safe version to prevent it from being taken at customs checks.
8. Isopropyl wipes
Everyday life will see you opening doors, using handrails and generally touching things that other people have come into contact with, and you’ll likely use your electronic devices without having washed your hands previously.
Using a 70% Isopropyl alcohol wipe is considered a safe way to clean your mobile phone without damaging it, which reduces the risk of spreading COVID-19 and has the added benefit of giving you a nice clean screen to use.
That about concludes our list of the best travel essentials for travelling safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Remember to stay safe, plan well, consider those around you and get your vaccine if you can!