In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic brought non-essential travel plans to a complete standstill. Now that vaccination numbers are climbing and cities all over the world are beginning to relax their travel and mobility restrictions, people are raring to get on the road again. Hand in hand with this pervading excitement, however, the idea of post-pandemic travel also raises a lot of questions. People want to know what to expect, what safety measures they should take, and what they should pack.
Health experts generally agree that traveling in a post-pandemic world necessitates a few extra steps that most people wouldn’t have thought to factor into their pre-COVID travel plans. Naturally, one of these steps includes revisiting—and revising—your packing list. If you’ve got your first post-COVID vacation lined up but feel unsure about what to keep in mind while packing, just read on. We’ve got a few useful tips lined up that will help you keep yourself and others safe as you travel.
Build a Sanitation Kit
Good sanitation and hygiene practices are essential for post-COVID travel. Most major cities around the world, for instance, continue to enforce strict masking protocols, so be sure to bring either a large pack of disposable medically approved masks or a few reusable masks that you can wash regularly. For an extra-sanitary reusable option, consider looking up where to buy antimicrobial neck loop face masks, as antimicrobial material is designed to prevent bacteria and viruses from surviving on the fabric.
Most travel consultants now advise their clients to pack tissues, disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, disposable gloves, and Ziplocks or similar bags to safely dispose of used items. These can help you decontaminate surfaces like door handles, in-flight consoles and folding tables, and light switches before touching them. You’ll also want to regularly disinfect any valuables you’re likely to handle throughout the day, such as your camera, wallet, and phone.
Don’t Skip the Health Essentials
Many countries and travel companies require you to present a negative COVID-19 test before you fly, or upon landing. Consider adding at-home test kits to your packing list, especially if you’ll be traveling to remote areas where it may be difficult to find a local source. Just make sure that the tests you get meet your destination’s particular requirements.
Pack your own thermometer and take your temperature before going to the airport to ensure that it falls within the acceptable ranges stipulated by your airport or airline. Most travelers these days pack infrared digital thermometers to avoid skin contact. Do also keep in mind that old-fashioned glass thermometers may not be allowed on planes, especially those filled with mercury, which is a highly hazardous substance.
In addition to thermometers, pulse oximeters are increasingly popular devices to pack for post-COVID trips. A pulse oximeter clips onto your finger and measures your heart rate, as well as the levels of oxygen in your blood. Your temperature, pulse, and blood oxygen levels are all vital information to have in the event that you begin feeling unwell during your trip, as they can help you and any doctors assess your condition better.
Update Travel Insurance and Other Documents
Even with COVID cases falling, travel policies and requirements in many countries are still liable to change on a weekly basis. As you prepare for your journey, make sure you’re up-to-date on what paperwork you’ll have to present at your destination. It’s always a good idea, for example, to keep your vaccination card on you at all times during your trip. Some places may also require you to obtain travel clearance from a doctor or to show negative results on a specific kind of COVID test.
It may also be wise to consider upgrading your travel insurance from a regular “named perils” coverage to “cancel for any reason” coverage. The new policy may cost 10-12% of your prepaid insurance expenses and is nonrefundable, but it will come in handy if you have to change your mind about traveling for any reason. These insurance plans allow you to get anywhere between 50 and 75% of your trip expenses refunded—a useful safety measure considering how volatile the travel industry currently is.
Replace Old, Broken, or Expired Items
Most people taking their first post-COVID trips will not have traveled in a year or more, so it’s vital to go over your usual packing list for items that need replacing. Be sure to check the expiration dates on any medication, beauty products, and toiletries you intend to bring, and throw out and restock anything that has gotten too old.
Check your luggage for signs of wear and tear and see if buying a new set of suitcases might be in order before you hit the road again. Traveling coats and other clothes you don’t wear often may also have gotten moth-eaten or mouldy after long months in storage, so these may need replacing as well depending on their condition.
Even though you’ll now have to be quite a bit more careful traveling than you might have had to be in the past, it’s still possible to enjoy your travels post-pandemic. As long as you pack smart, stay vigilant, and keep abreast of health and safety guidelines at your destination, you’ll surely be able to make the most of any trips you take.