The COVID-19 pandemic has left many people cooped up at home for months on end. Now that the number of cases is dropping in many areas within and outside of the United States, a lot of people are looking forward to the earliest opportunity that they can get to enjoy a change of scenery.
However, take note that while travel is less risky these days compared to a few months ago, it’s still possible for the situation to change overnight. As such, travelers who are planning to go on a holiday for the first time after the COVID-19 pandemic started should adequately prepare themselves.
If you’re planning to take a bit of a breather and spend a few days or so away from home, make sure you’re ready to safely navigate airports, terminals, and roads. On top of your typical luggage, here are some essential items that you need to take with you on your upcoming holiday:
- Two- or Three-ply Masks
Mask mandates differ from one state to another, so the best move would be to play it safe and pack a few pieces of two- or three-ply face masks in your luggage. At this point, bringing a face mask with you wherever you go should be as natural as putting on sunscreen when going to the beach or wearing Burlix Socks for men if you’re staying on your feet all day. Even if you’re using a cloth mask, bring more than one piece. You can use the replacement when you’re washing the cloth mask you just used or in case you lose it.
- Hand Sanitizer
While traveling, it’s unavoidable that you’ll come into contact with surfaces and items that other people have touched. Protect yourself by having a handy bottle of sanitizer with you at all times. Keep one in your bag and make a habit of cleaning your hands after using public spaces or before getting back into the car.
- Disinfectant Spray or Wipes
If your journey will take more than a few hours of driving, you’ll likely have to stop over somewhere to eat, rest, or shop. In these instances, you’ll need a disinfectant to clean the spaces and items that you’ll use, like the table and chairs you’ll sit on as well as your groceries.
- Face Shield
If you want to be extra careful, you can also add reusable face shields to your luggage. These plastic shields shouldn’t take up much space, and they can serve as a reminder to not touch your face or mouth without disinfecting or washing your hands first. For best results, use a face shield to complement the protection offered by your face mask.
- Gadget Sanitizer
It’s highly likely that you keep your phone on your person at all times: while you’re out shopping, ordering food, or taking pictures, for example. As such, your phone is one of the many things that you should clean regularly, preferably with a specially formulated gadget sanitizer. In addition to your phone, consider cleaning your earphones and other electronic devices before and after you use them.
- Disposable Bags
For hygienic reasons, you’ll need a disposable bag where you can put all of your trash while you’re traveling. As such, prepare a sturdy waterproof bag where you can place used tissues, disposable masks, used disinfectant wipes, and other bits and pieces that you wouldn’t want to come into contact with your other belongings.
- Cold and Flu Medication
You also need to be prepared in case you or your travel companions start feeling under the weather. Bring a small bag of over-the-counter medicine for managing cold and flu, common gastrointestinal issues, pain, and allergic reactions. Don’t forget to pack your prescribed regular medications as well.
- At-home COVID-19 Test Kit
Detecting COVID-19 infections proved to be a challenge in the past. These days, however, there are reliable at-home testing kits that you can use to determine if one of your travel companions has caught the disease. Finding the result of the test right away will enable your group to immediately decide on the best course of action.
- Health-related Documentation
Last but not least, you should bring along any important health documentation that you might need to present to the relevant authorities upon arriving at your destination. This can include proof that you’ve taken a PCR test lately or documents that indicate your vaccination status.
Anticipate Last-minute Changes While You’re on the Road
Traveling can be a stressful activity in normal times, but it can be even more demanding now that there’s still an ongoing pandemic. It would do you well to prepare yourself for last-minute changes, like the implementation of more stringent safety guidelines at your destination. Make it a point to check for any advisories from your contacts in the area as well. Doing so ahead of time will allow you to enjoy your vacation even if there are places and activities in your itinerary that require stricter health and safety restrictions than you’d like.