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Packing is never easy and it always requires some serious thinking about. But thanks to COVID-19, there are a few new items that you'll need to add to your packing list, for all 2021 trips.
Let’s start with facemasks. Most airlines are currently making it a requirement that you wear a facemask in order to board the plane. Many countries, hotels, and other businesses also have mask mandates in place.
Don’t count on face masks being supplied for you or that you will be able to purchase one when you arrive at your destination. Purchase a few well before your trip that are comfortable to wear, are reusable, and will last you the trip.
Hand Sanitiser and Sanitising Wipes
Hand sanitiser and sanitising wipes are other essential items to pack in both your carry-on and checked luggage. You’re looking for a brand that is ideally between 60% and 80% alcohol in order to be effective against the coronavirus and other nasty bugs.
You'll need to use this for your airline seatbelt, tray table, and personal entertainment screen as a start. Be aware that it can be hard to come by hand sanitiser in the shops in many countries at the moment, which is why it is important to travel with your own supply.
Pro tip: Bringing your own phone, laptop, or tablet for entertainment on flights is safer than using the supplied in-flight entertainment screens that many other hands may have touched. You never know for certain if they were cleaned in-between flights.
Your Own Stationary
Many hotels have stopped supplying rooms with items such as pens and notepads in order to avoid spreading the virus between guests. You should plan on bringing any office supplies you may need.
Contactless Credit Cards
When it comes to making purchases, contactless credit cards are the best way to go. This avoids having to swipe your card through the same machine that countless others have also done and you also won’t have to hand over your card to merchants. It’s all about avoiding contact with others at the moment.
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Packing a few rolls of toilet paper, while it might feel silly, isn’t that dumb of an idea seeing that many regions have experienced shortages due to people panic buying. You never want to be without.
And while we are on the topic of using the bathroom, be aware that public-use bathrooms may be limited at the moment due to many businesses being closed and in some cases city-operated public restrooms have been locked up in certain areas.
A Water Bottle
Many public drinking fountains have also been turned off, so be sure to pack a water bottle you can refill in your hotel room to stay hydrated when out and about.
Electronic Boarding Passes
Try to minimise contact with public surfaces whenever possible. This means doing things like pre-printing and packing your boarding passes ahead of time instead of using the machines at the airport which have seen a lot of traffic.
And lastly, as annoying as selfies sticks have become, it looks like they may actually have a place in the current travel climate. No longer can we rely on the kindness of locals to take our photos in front of monuments after we hand them our cameras.
In some cases it may not be allowed to make contact with others while in other cases people may just be apprehensive. A selfie stick will assure that you can continue to capture those special travel memories.