At the start of the year, our travel plans were bright and brimming with interesting itineraries… Fun times at the beach, roaming the crowded streets in night markets, and so much more. However, that all changed by February: deserted roads, stay-at-home orders and flight cancellations plagued our lives. Along with an actual plague-like pandemic, Covid-19.
But now, times are a-changing. Life is going back to a ‘new normal’, and with this comes the prospect of worldwide adventures. However, these must be done in a safe and hygienic way – no more mask-free airline departures, and no more cutting shortcuts when it comes to washing hands. To help you with these trying times, we’ve compiled a list of 10 travel essential items, all of which will help you – and the people close to you – experience happy, Covid-free trips.
1. A Pack of Reusable Masks
Although single-use masks work similarly in terms of efficiency, reusable masks are a travel essential for two major reasons. The first is that they are more cost-efficient, as you do not need to keep buying masks when you need them. They tend to come in packs, and the costs for washing and maintaining reusable masks are much lower than buying a few every alternate day. The second is that they are better for the environment, as they do not contribute to plastic pollution, and are often made of soft cotton fibres that are biodegradable.
Covid-19 has seen a rise of waste masks being disposed of in oceans, which in turn get caught in sea animals’ bodies – an undesirable phenomena. Buying a pack of reusable masks means that you can travel safe, without having to be concerned about when or where to buy your next mask (also a safety concern), and when or where to dispose of them.
2. Mobile/Electronics Sterilizer
Travel essential items don’t just involve bodily cleansing, but cleansing of that which you frequently touch as well. There are new sterilizers that disinfect your electronics, and often look like boxes or cages. Upon placing them in the sterilizer for a set duration of time, you can remove and use them. This comes without worry of the possibility of catching disease – from particles on your heavily-used devices. This is especially handy on work trips, and places where you might meet more people. As the Covid-19 airborne droplets stay on surfaces longer than you’d think, it makes for a perfect way to remove them without exposing yourself further.
3. A Travel-Sized Sanitizer
Coming back to personal hygiene, this next travel essential is both necessary and obvious. Our daily routine involves sanitizer at least once a day, and this shouldn’t change on our travels – but there is one key thing to note. Sanitizer, although alcoholic and a widely used disinfectant, is not a replacement for hand-washing. If the place you wish to travel to does not have a well-formed water system, you may be able to get by with sanitizer at your disposal. Make sure to sanitize both your skin and the surface, eg. sanitize taps before and after you open them to wash your hands. Some sanitizers come as spray-ons, while others are more liquid in format. We recommend carrying a bit of both, for use in different situations.
4. Full-Length Clothing
Full-length trousers and sleeves are a great travel essential – theoretically. However, they can only be utilised in rainy/cold climates, where layering does not produce kilograms of sweat per hour. You can use sleeves (for your forearms or calves) instead, which are easily removable. They also do a good job of covering your body. These can be used in warm climates as well. The purpose here is to leave as little skin on show as possible – reducing the likelihood that you catch a disease through close proximity to your body. The particles will instead latch onto our clothing, which is easy to sterilise, disinfect and reuse.
Gloves are an emergency travel essential. These are generally not recommended for times when you are simply running errands or out in the open. However, they are important if you are doing any cleaning or are in contact with someone else who is sick. Both of these situations are a possibility on vacation, as anything from food poisoning to aerosol allergies is enough to trigger sickness. Hotels where you book your stay may not be as clean/hygienic as you had hoped: an unfortunate possibility. Sometimes it is not possible to change accommodation until a good day or two later. Therefore, carry gloves as an emergency item, and avoid using them outside of these situations to make sure they are ready for use when you need them!
6. Your Own Water Bottle and Reusable Food Containers
Carrying your own water bottle is a must on any travel expedition. You won’t know where the next source of clean water is, so it’s best to fill it once or twice in a trustworthy place and then move through the day without having to buy water from outside. Purchasing water bottles from local areas also carry the risk of infection through entering marts and being in contact with other support staff, so you can avoid this hassle.
Food containers are also a travel essential for similar reasons. You will not have to order takeaway, and can wash your own containers while being assured that they are properly disinfected.
7. Power Banks
Power banks can be charged in one spot, and stay with you through the trip. You will not need to use other’s chargers, or charging points in public areas. Often, our phones tend to die out on us in the most unexpected of times, and god knows how many people have touched the charging points in that one railway station you are stranded in. For this exact reason, power banks are a travel essential. Carrying a power bank allows you to minimise the contact between your electronics and other surfaces. This is because they can be charged on-the-go, in your bag, or at the hotel you stay in. The device will only need to be charged a few times throughout your trip: so not only is it more convenient, but hygienic too.
8. First Aid Kit + Thermometer
First Aid Kits are a travel essential on any trip – be it before or after the pandemic. However, they are often provided by your activity planners or hotel, and we want to minimise this contact as far as possible. Especially when it comes to injuries or open wounds, being treated by a kit that has been kept in the open (or a person who is in contact with many others) can be avoided if you carry your own. Carrying a thermometer and oximeter also helps, so that you can track yours and others temperatures to stay on the safe side.
9. Your Own Snacks
This travel essential tip goes hand-in-hand with our ‘reusable food containers’ one. Carrying your own snacks means that you don’t have to rely on aeroplane food. Let’s face it – we all know airline food to be tolerable at best, even without Covid-19. On top of that, it’s probably been handled by (at least) a dozen people on its way to your plate. And this is not just on flights – packaged food that you find in supermarkets are often imported, or at least their raw materials are. If you have to buy food to snack on, make sure you purchase fruits or other washable items. This way, you can make sure that they are disinfected yourself. It’s a win-win situation – good for your body, and your health!
10. Mini Bath Supplies
Bringing your own cleanliness supplies are underrated. Using hand towels, soaps, wet wipes, shampoos and other toiletries from hotels may have been acceptable before, but not anymore. If you carry your own items, you can rest assured that they’ve come into contact with you and you only. Worries about how clean it might be, how many people touched it before you, and where it came from are not a problem. These are travel essentials for another reason as well – not just in Covid times. You have the added advantage of being able to clean up on-the-go! Waiting for places to freshen up is a thing of the past now.
And there you have it! A comprehensive list of travel essentials for your next trip abroad. Of course, each trip comes with its own difficulties – but its own benefits, too! If you’d like to get a visa to ensure your travel is hiccup-free, check out our website at Visa2Fly.com! Check out our other blogs on solo travel and language learning platforms as well, if you’d like! So that you can further secure your chances of having an amazing trip 🙂