If you’re like most people, packing probably isn’t at the top of your list of favorite things to do when you’re planning a trip. From uncertainties about what to pack to fears of forgetting a critical item, it’s not an easy feat. In fact, it can be downright stressful. In COVID-19 (Coronavirus) times, however, things are even more complicated. The good news? We’re here to help with a handy list of eight essential items for any COVID travel packing list.
1. Hand Sanitizer
This one’s a no-brainer, but bears repeating. Per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations, hand sanitizers with 60 to 95 percent alcohol are preferable. Be sure to stock up before you travel in case hand sanitizer is sold out at your destination.
Worried about liquid limits? While the three-ounce limit remains in place for other liquids, travelers may now carry containers with up to 12 ounces of hand sanitizer in their carry-on luggage.
When you travel, you come into constant contact with frequently touched surfaces, including everything from airplane seat trays to hotel door handles. Disinfecting wipes and sprays are one of the best ways to neutralize germs from spreading and are a must-have for any ultimate travel packing list in the Coronavirus era.
The most effective disinfectants to use, according to the CDC? Products containing at least 70 percent alcohol.
3. A Mask
With more public places mandating masks, including many airlines, you’ll definitely want to have one with you at all times. Additionally, the CDC recommends wearing some type of mask whenever you’re in public to minimize the transmission risk. This is especially important when you’re traveling.
According to CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield, “We are not defenseless against COVID-19. Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus – particularly when used universally within a community setting.”
4. Extra Food and Water
One of the best ways to reduce your risk of coming into contact with germs is simple: come into contact with fewer things. One way to do so is to limit the number of stops you make while traveling by packing your own snacks and water.
Also, keep in mind that the COVID-19 situation is fluid, and can change at any moment. Stocking up on non-perishable food will come in handy if the situation takes a turn for the worst and local restaurants and stores close or have limited rations while you’re traveling.
If you do have to shop for food, meanwhile, avoid crowds by venturing out during off-peak hours.
5. Medications for Your Whole Trip
When you’re traveling, it’s always wise to make sure you pack enough medication to see you through your entire trip. However, during COVID-19, it is especially important to ensure that you won’t run out of something you need in the event of an emergency.
If you do have to refill a prescription or other item at a pharmacy, taking advantage of curbside pickup and drive-through options can help you avoid unnecessary contact with others.
Sure, tissues always come in handy, but they’re especially useful during a pandemic. Not only do they give you something to sneeze or cough into to avoid using your hands, but they can also be used to touch or pick up items, such as television remotes and hotel phones.
On a related note, while the CDC does not mandate gloves for everyday use, these are also handy for picking things up as well as for when you’re cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing surfaces throughout your journey.
7. A Portable Phone Charger
Veteran travelers never leave home without their trusty phone chargers, but there’s no better time to pack a portable one – and to keep it juiced – than now. Not only will you be ready if an emergency arises, but you also won’t have to ask to borrow a phone or charger from a fellow traveler.
8. A Travel Pillow and Travel-Friendly Blankets
Many airlines have stopped handing out pillows and blankets on flights as a safety precaution. So, make sure you’re comfortable on your flight by bringing along your own. These can also be used at hotel and rental homes to further reduce your risk of exposure, and if you look for compact travel pillows and blankets, they won’t take up excess space in your luggage. Some even come with luggage clips for hands-free carrying.
One last thing to keep in mind? While packing may not be your favorite thing to do, devoting a few extra minutes to planning and preparing for your next trip is a worthwhile endeavor at this uncertain moment in time. This COVID-19 packing list can help ensure that you’ve got everything you need at your fingertips when traveling during a pandemic.