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What to pack during COVID-19: the ultimate travel checklist

backpack travel

The Coronavirus pandemic brought travel plans to a halt in 2020. Now, as the world begins to open up and regions like Australia and Costa Rica are decreasing their restrictions, travel is once again on the cards. And the world can’t wait to get back on the road! But, as travel resumes, it’s more important than ever that we prioritise good hygiene – to help keep ourselves and others safe. That’s why we’ve created a COVID-19 travel checklist with tips on what to pack for your next trip.

If you’re travelling with Contiki, we cover many of the items that you’ll find on this list. In response to the pandemic, we’ve updated our health and hygiene protocols with guidance from the World Health Organisation and government agencies. Some precautionary measures include:

Check out all of our health and wellbeing protocols here

You’ll also be sent information that’s relevant to your trip ahead of departure, which will include the latest guidelines and any restrictions in the country(s) you visit. The below COVID-19 travel checklist is our collection of recommended, rather than essential, items to help you plan ahead.

Face Masks

We’ve heard it all year long and it remains as true now as it was in 2020: one of the best forms of protection against germs is a face mask. You can either bring a large pack of medically approved disposable masks or bring a few reusable masks if you have a way to properly wash them after use. 

It’s important to pay attention to local guidelines: for example, Austria requires travellers to use FFP2 masks (ones with a filter built in). Although guidelines vary by country, as a general rule, you’ll be required to wear masks on planes and public transport, indoors, or anytime you’re unable to practice appropriate social distancing.

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Zip-Lock Bags for Face Masks

Throw a few extra zip-lock bags into your suitcase to help keep tabs on ‘used’ face masks. These come in handy if you’re bringing reusable masks; you’ll have somewhere to pop them before you clean them, rather than throwing them in your suitcase in and amongst your personal items.

Antibacterial/Disinfectant Wipes or Spray

After a day of exploring and sightseeing, it’s a good idea to wipe down any valuables like phones, cameras, keys and wallet – any personal items you might have touched throughout the day without clean hands. 

Bring along some antibacterial wipes or spray as an easy way to help keep your belongings clean day to day. They’re also a handy way to decontaminate surfaces like light switches, door handles and seat-handles on airplanes.

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Hand Sanitiser

We’ve all become familiar with hand sanitizer in recent months. Add a pocket-size tube to your COVID-19 checklist to stay clean on the road. The best way to keep yourself protected from germs is to wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds (or two choruses of the Happy Birthday song) but hand sanitiser is a great alternative. 

Contiki coaches, hotels and vendors will have their own hand sanitiser for you to use but it’s always good to bring your own as spare. You can use it for top-ups throughout the day or if you’re unable to wash your hands at the sink. 

The effectiveness of the product depends on its alcohol content so make sure you use a sanitiser that’s at least 60%. If possible, grab a couple approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) which contain 80% ethanol or 70% isopropyl alcohol content. 

hand sanitiser and face mask

Image source:Tai S / Unsplash

Hand Cream

As many of us learnt in the past year, when you’re washing your hands 30 times a day and using hand sanitiser regularly, your hands can get pretty dry. So it’s a pretty good idea to include a nourishing hand cream on your COVID-19 travel checklist. 

Look for ingredients like shea butter, petrolatum, lanolin or dimethicone for a super-moisturising hand cream. Apply it overnight to nourish your skin as you sleep, and help prevent any cracks and dryness. 

Disposable gloves

A nice to-have, a few pairs of disposable gloves can help ease any potential discomfort when you’re in situations where you’d prefer to avoid touching surfaces. Some travellers prefer to don disposable gloves when on airplanes or using public transport. For peace of mind, these can be a helpful addition. 

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Vitamin D Supplements

There has been some discussion among health professionals from the NHS around Vitamin D supplements helping to lower the risk of contracting COVID-19. Though the link hasn’t been entirely “proven” yet, many doctors say there is nothing to lose in adding more Vitamin D to your daily routine – especially when travelling. 

Reusable Cutlery, Straws & Flask

You may prefer to use your own cutlery or straws for eating and drinking instead of the plastic ones in cafes and restaurants. Although most food-outlets have pretty stringent hygiene measures in place, some use communal cutlery receptacles which you might not be comfortable with. Reusable products are of course always a positive tick when it comes to more sustainable travel choices. 

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Thermometer & Pulse Oximeter

Again, these suggestions are based on how comfortable you feel to travel, and the additional precautions you might want to take on top of those already in place depending where you’re travelling.

An infrared digital thermometer is a popular choice as it avoids skin contact and offers peace of mind if you’re worried about a fever. A pulse oximeter is an increasingly popular device that allows you to measure your oxygen saturation level. Because it can detect even small changes in your oxygen, it’s a handy tool for people who want to take extra precautions in monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms.

When you’re ready to travel, we’re ready to welcome you back

Watch our wellness video for more information on how we’ll be taking care of Contiki travellers on any future trips:

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