Vaccine rollouts for COVID-19 are rapidly increasing around the world, and nations are gradually lifting restrictions throughout their jurisdictions. People in these countries are finally returning to more normal activities that they used to do and enjoy before the pandemic as communities come closer to achieving herd immunity.
While domestic travel activities are more common at the moment, some countries are beginning to reopen travel both out of and into their countries. And while there are still public health measures that are either recommended or mandated depending on the jurisdiction, there are certain personal items that, for individual travelers, are simply non-negotiable and must be brought with them no matter the destination.
Travel enthusiasts and adventurous souls should keep in mind this list of essential items to bring along when planning for their next trip.
Proof of Vaccination
Probably the most obvious of all is one’s proof of vaccination, especially because most countries today don’t allow people to cross their borders if travelers are not fully vaccinated beforehand. Most people use a domestically issued proof of vaccination for local or domestic travel activities, but for traveling internationally, a globally recognized certificate of vaccination is usually required to ascertain the legitimacy of a person’s vaccination.
An example of this is the Carte Jaune or Yellow Card from the World Health Organization, although individual countries are now also issuing official COVID-19 travel documents for international use by their citizens, like the International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate of Australia and the standardized COVID-19 Proof of Vaccination for Canadian citizens.
A Fabric Face Mask
Face masks became as common an accessory as shirts and shoes during the global pandemic, so it only makes sense to have some for travel. If you’re concerned about the impact that disposable face masks might have on the environment, you’ll be glad to know that fabric face masks can be a good alternative to surgical masks and N95 respirators if you’re visiting areas that are less crowded or have a low risk of transmission.
Fabric face masks are washable and reusable, so not as many of them end up in the waste stream. Using them also helps preserve the supply of medical-grade face masks for health workers and other people who need them.
Buying a face mask with antimicrobial properties is also recommended, especially if you don’t tend to launder your used face masks immediately. These products typically receive a special treatment that prevents microorganisms from thriving on the fabric, which means they are more hygienic than regular cloth face masks. If you’re unsure where to shop for antimicrobial masks, consider buying online from a reputable supplier.
Indeed, fabric masks are comfortable and functional enough for casual use, but they should be washed once a day. As such, it is a good idea to have two or more for cycling between washes.
Sanitary and Hygiene Products
The value of on-the-go hygiene has become unquestionable after the whole pandemic, so travelers must carry portable sanitary products with them. This can be a bottle of hand sanitizer, alcohol sprays, and other pocketable antiseptics. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend purchasing sanitizers that comprise at least 60% alcohol. It is also best to pack several of these in case your first bottle is emptied before the end of your trip.
Aside from that, a pack of disinfectant wipes could be handy for cleaning communal surfaces and other items like utensils before and after handling them. A small bottle of hand soap might also be a good idea for restrooms and wash areas that don’t have contactless soap dispensers. One can never be too wary of any surfaces that are accessible to the public.
A Fever Kit
This is not something that has to be carried about your person at all times like the other items; instead, it’s a kit to leave with your luggage for emergencies. It is important to remember that vaccination is not equivalent to total immunity from the virus, so catching the illness is still possible, with subdued effects.
This fever kit should include a thermometer for checking one’s body temperature on a daily basis while on the road or overseas. The rest of the contents will depend on how a traveler usually handles fevers, so they can vary from ready-made cold packs for the head to a pack of painkillers and antipyretics for reducing fever. If you could get a hand on some, commercial COVID-19 test kits could also come in handy, but only a few should be enough.
Often made of fabric, hand protectors are not an absolute necessity, but they are incredibly useful when you’re traveling because your hands will often come into contact with objects and surfaces that are also handled by a lot of other people. These scenarios range from using ATM keypads, opening doors at airports and stores, holding on to train and bus handrails, using a public ballpen for signing documents, and other public use cases. Just like an arm sleeve, you can wear a hand protector on your wrist when it’s not in use. When you need to use it, you can just pull it down to cover your hand and fingers.
It should go without saying that travelers should have a bag, pouch, or any means of carrying all of these items when on the move during their travels. These items can be cumbersome to carry in the pocket alone, and the proof of vaccination should be kept safe yet accessible for certain places that may require presenting it.
Having to carry all these items around may seem burdensome, especially for those who are already fully vaccinated. However, having them on your person can be very helpful at a time when the world is only beginning to open up again in the wake of the pandemic.