5 Items to Add to Your Packing List for COVID-Era Travel
Updated: Mar 25
With COVID-19 vaccinations on the rise and travel restrictions easing up all over the world, there's a good chance you're looking to plan a trip after spending the majority of the past year at home. While you probably can't wait to visit friends and family that you've been social distancing from — or explore a new destination that you've been dreaming about — you may still have some reservations about how to get there safely.
Most airlines and other forms of public transportation are still taking safety precautions very seriously, but if you're looking for some items to pack that will help you feel better about traveling, you've come to the right place. We've put together a travel essentials list full of products that real travelers say help them feel safer while traveling during the pandemic.
If you're catching a flight and worried about germs, you may want to invest in a set of disposable seat covers or a travel pillow that prevents your head from slumping against the window. Or, if you're going out of state or out of the country for the first time in a while, you may want to get a card holder to keep your COVID-19 vaccine card protected, as you may have to show it at certain places to prove you're fully vaccinated.
No matter what type of trip you have planned, there's something on this list that you'll want to have packed. Each item, detailed below, has a near-perfect rating and tons of reviews from shoppers explaining how it helps them stay safe.
From reusable face masks to phone sanitizers to lightweight thermometers, these are the 10 essentials shoppers recommend for pandemic travel. Keep reading to learn more about them all, and shop one (or two) before your next vacation.
1. Maskc KN95 Mask Set
Face masks are still required for entry in most places, which is why you should have a few options packed in your travel bag. Shoppers love this KN95 set by Maskc because each five-layer mask is FDA-approved and blocks more than 95 percent of particles. The masks are sold in packs of 10, and each set comes with a reusable storage bag, so you can keep your mask safe and clean when you aren't wearing it. Even better, they come in a variety of colors, so you can match them with any outfit you have packed in your suitcase. "These masks look great and also are KN95, so I feel very comfortable and safe wearing them in crowded places," said one shopper.
2. Disinfectant wipes
Keeping high-touch surfaces clean is important, but don't obsess over disinfecting every surface you come into contact with, — you're not at all likely to acquire COVID by touching an infected surface. This is especially true when driving; there's no need to wipe down your car handles or steering wheel, for example.
That being said, high-touch surfaces on planes — armrests, tray tables, in-flight entertainment screens — can transmit germs, so it's wise to wipe down surfaces around your seat with a disinfectant wipe.
Be sure to clean your phone too — you might be surprised by how dirty it actually is. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for how to clean it and try to use it only with clean hands. (But be careful: Some cleaners can ruin your screen.)
3. Storage bags
When flying, carry-on storage is essential to make it easy to access hand sanitizer and other essential items. Ideally, your carry-on bag has multiple pockets so you can keep things like food and extra masks separate from dirty items. You can also use a small pouch to keep these essentials right on top.
We also recommend having a few plastic bags available to store dirty masks, in addition to things like used disinfectant wipes or tissues until you can find a trash can. You'll want one for your car and in your carry-on.
It's also helpful to have a designated clean storage bag where you can put your mask when you take it off to eat away from dirty surfaces or other people's breath. Avoid placing your mask on a table or your arm to minimize germ contamination.
You don't need to bring gloves with you traveling. First of all, COVID-19 is transmitted by breathing, not by touching things and then touching your face. Regardless, germs can live on the surface of a latex glove, the same as skin. Plus, "some people become too relaxed when they are wearing gloves. They do not realize they are at more risk for spreading [germs] because they are touching multiple personal items in between other things,"
Studies have suggested that people who wear gloves tend not to wash their hands as oftenor notice when gloves get dirty or damaged. It's also easy to contaminate your hands when removing gloves. Plus, we don't need any more COVID-19 waste than we already have.
5. Basic OTC Medicines
Hopefully no one in your family gets sick in your travels, but if anyone does, you want to be prepared with necessary medications. Over-the-counter fever reducing medicines like Tylenol/acetaminophen especially are smart to have with COVID-19 circulating. Be sure to bring the infant, toddler, or children’s versions if you have younger kids! Remedies for coughs and cold are important to have too.