Travel is different this year. Wait, scratch that, EVERYTHING is different this year. I’m finding a ton of reasons to be grateful for more time at home (and with my husband), but let’s be real: I’m also eager for our typical travels to start up again.
We’ve taken a few trips to see family and maintain mental well-being since everything started this year, and while I’m not trying to promote unnecessary or unsafe travel, I do think that if you’re going to travel right now, it’s good to be prepared! So I decided to pull together a list of the most essential items to put on your COVID travel packing list. Here you go!
No matter where you go, how far you go, how long you go, or whether or not you’re traveling with others, there are some things that simply have to go with you:
Mask and Back-up Mask
I know. It’s irritating, hot, you’re not even sure if it’s making a difference, but it is the difference in whether or not you can board a plane, enter a building, or be closer than six feet away from the people around you. I always keep an extra in my purse because I may have been known to walk out the door and forget my mask until it’s too late to go back, so I recommend bringing a spare. Here is a variety of options!
Let’s be real: hand sanitizer in the age of COVID is shady! Sometimes it smells like straight tequila, sometimes it’s sticky (so, of course you feel the need to wash your hands after using it, which defeats the whole purpose), and sometimes it’s made with essential oils instead of 70% alcohol and you’re never really sure if it’s working. But the good news is, you can currently bring up to one 12-oz container of hand sanitizer with you through TSA!
If you’re flying, you may be handed a sanitizing wipe as you board. Use it! If not, you should still use one if you feel uncomfortable in your surroundings: in an Uber or other ride share, sitting down at a table in a restaurant, going into a vacation rental or hotel room, you get the picture. While I don’t think we need to go overboard, we should be able to ease our minds and feel as comfortable as possible at such a weird time of life.
Touchless Key Chain
This is a germaphobe’s essential for life! This keychain is a button-pusher, door handle-opener, phone-toucher, and probably more. All those “high traffic” surfaces you hear about—this keychain can take care of them for you! Think elevator buttons, “pull” doors, toilet flushers, phone screens, credit card machines, the list can go on and on.
If you do happen to be traveling by air, I might just shock you with this fun fact: This is the cleanest, safest time to fly, probably in the history of flight. In fact, it might be the cleanest way to travel this year, period! Between the scrubbed and filtered air, extra cleaning procedures, and general increased awareness of passengers, you can fly with peace of mind if you find yourself needing to fly.
You might get a cookie or some pretzels if your flight is more than an hour, maybe. Some airport eateries are closed, so you can’t necessarily depend on your go-to grab-and-go option. These days, it’s smart to bring some of your favorite snacks with you, just in case! Here are some of my favorites:
More here: The Best Snacks to Pack for Your Flight
Flying overnight in business class? BYOB: Bring Your Own Blanket! If that seems like a bit much to pack in your carry-on or personal item, think outside the box (or in this case, “outside the suitcase”), think of using what you’re already packing for double duty: use a large scarf, kimono cardigan, or travel towel instead!
The same goes for pillows. Until the virus is under control, you won’t be given a pillow in business or economy on long, overnight flights. It’ll be best to bring your own for a while.
Road trips are a pretty safe bet this year, and I imagine the RV industry is booming with all the people I know who have bought one this summer because of COVID! Here are a couple of things you might want to consider getting before you next road trip.
Just how sanitary is that gas station bathroom these days? How can you tell? A friend of mine and mother of three swears by her car potty! She originally got it for the kids to use on road trips, but she says she has used it herself and it’s fine. They clean it out with a disinfectant wipe after each use to prevent odors, and they don’t have to stop at shady gas stations on road trips!
What’s on YOUR 2020 COVID Travel Essentials List? Comment so we can all get in on the wisdom! And for more, check out my Travel Tips Page!
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