I can feel the hope and anticipation in the air. Will the vaccine work? Will Covid numbers begin to decrease? Will it be safe to travel again soon? These are questions we don’t know the answer to quite yet, but what we can be sure of is that travel will look and feel different when it starts back up again. And when that time comes, we should consider what steps we can take to keep ourselves and those around us safe and healthy.
Personally, I’ve never been afraid of germs. I’ve been an elementary school teacher for twenty years. I’ve been sneezed on, coughed on, and cleaned up other things that I don’t care to mention. I’ve probably been exposed to more germs than the average person and have built up more than my fair share of immunity over the years. I’ve preached the importance of hand washing and covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough; but I've never really thought about ALL the ways viruses can be passed.
When you consider everything we touch on a daily basis that has been, or will be touched by other people, it can be overwhelming. However, we can’t live, or travel, in a bubble. So what can we do to minimize the spread of viruses like Covid, and be a little more aware of keeping our germs to ourselves? I've put together a list of items you should consider packing that will help you do this. Although some of the products listed have links to websites for purchase, I do not have affiliations with them. All products are suggested because I think they are good quality and I have personally used them.
Re-usable Water Bottles and Cups
Environmentally friendly and compact, these are perfect for traveling! You don't have to worry about what germs may or may not be on a glass that someone else gives you. Just clip one of these to your backpack or slide it into a jacket pocket or purse and it's ready for whatever you want to drink! Did I mention that these are also good for the environment? Every time you use it, that's one less plastic bottle being thrown away!
Just say no to plastic utensils! I've
been traveling with a re-usable cutlery set for a while now to be more eco-friendly, but using your own utensils can also help stop the spread of germs! I like bamboo utensils because they are durable and perfect for travel. This one even has its own cute little storage bag! When you do start to travel again, why not pack your own utensils?
Clip-on Hand Sanitizer Case
Don't we all carry around one of these tiny hand sanitizer bottles? Well, it only took one instance of the bottle cap coming loose inside my purse to have me looking for a way to clip it to the outside. I love these pouches because they come with a refillable plastic bottle AND their own tiny carabiner. You can clip it to the outside of your backpack when you travel and easily switch it to a purse, day pack, fanny pack, or even your belt loop if you want the quick draw approach to killing germs!
Yes, there are a TON of different hand sanitizing wipes out there to choose from. There are several reasons I like these the best. First, they are a family owned business. Any time I can support a local or family business, I always go for that over big companies! I really love the fact that they donate hygiene wipes to the homeless through their "Shower Sheets" program. I also really like these wipes because they are biodegradable, alcohol free, and they smell good! As they say on their website, "when you can't wash em, wipe em".
Microfiber Cell Phone Cloths
After doing extensive research on the best way to clean your phone, this is what I've learned. The jury is still out on UV light sanitizers. While the concept is cool, multiple studies agree that using the old school method of cleaning your phone on a regular basis is the best way to keep it germ-free. This is what the experts say. Do NOT use bleach. Do NOT submerge your phone or spray anything directly onto it. DO use a microfiber cloth to wipe excess dirt and dust off of your phone, then gently wipe it down with a disinfecting cloth, such as the TripWipes listed above or a lysol wipe.
Snacks and Food Containers
One way to minimize the spread of any type of germ or sickness is to pack your own snacks. While I absolutely LOVE to indulge in local eating whenever I travel, packing snacks for flights, road trips, or even walking around town, is a good option. I found these containers on Amazon.it, but you can find similar ones all over! Order from IKEA, Target, or Walmart online, or go to a local store and pick out the size that's best for you.
Reusable Shopping Bags
I am a HUGE fan of reusable shopping bags. In fact, I have so many I often wonder if I am defeating the purpose. The answer is no. No matter how many bags I use, or reuse, it's always better than using one that will then be added to a trash pile or landfill somewhere! In addition to helping the environment, reusable shopping bags are a great way to reduce the spread of germs when you travel too! Just pack one of these little babies in your purse or put it in your pocket, and you are good to go when you run across a produce stand, souvenir shop, or my favorite, a local market!
In all honesty, if I know I'm going to a flea market or plan to do other shopping I will usually take a more heavy duty canvas bag that can be folded up and put in my purse. The bags above are not meant to hold extremely heavy loads, but theyy work perfectly for a market stop or unexpected travel purchase.
This may seem silly, but think about signing a receipt at a store or restaurant with the same pen that has been used by hundreds, if not thousands, of people before you!!! It can make you never want to leave the house! Seriously though, you don't have to worry about passing or catching germs if you use your own pen. The Fisher Space Pen is absolutely, hands down, the best travel pen around! And you don't have to carry around the fancy case, just put it in your bag.
Masks that Meet Airline Guidelines
While the United States requires the wearing of masks on flights, they do not specify what type of mask. Just that it covers the important parts. In Europe, most airlines require a medical mask in order to fly and in most cases, to even enter the airport. Disposable masks like the one shown here can be bought on Amazon in bulk. No one LIKES wearing masks, but if and when we are allowed and feel comfortable to start traveling again, we are all just going to have to suck it up and put the dang masks on.
That being said, make sure you get a mask that is comfortable, and meets the guidelines for the airline you choose to fly on. Honestly, the plane ride is the part of traveling that scares me the most, due to the confined quarters and recycled air. So even if a non-medical mask is acceptable on a flight, I will probably continue to wear the disposable ones. My suggestion is to keep a supply of the disposable masks above for flying, then switch to a comfortable and more stylish one when reaching your destination. I love this one by NxTSTOP, but U.S. News put out a good list that I found helpful as well.
I hope you found this list helpful, and would love to hear about other suggestions if you have them. Here's to finding adventure, and traveling safely!
If you enjoyed reading this, you may be interested in one of the other posts in my Travel Tips and Tricks section.