Travelling during a pandemic is certainly different, but we can help to make it as stress-free as possible. You’ll need to change your priorities when it comes to packing: a case of out with the old and in with the new. We’ve created a packing list to help you to protect yourself and others on your next trip.
How we experience certain sights or places might have changed, but that simply means there are a bunch of new reasons to fall in love with wherever you choose to visit next.
Before you leave for your trip, there are a number of travel essentials to tick off first. Where possible, check for official updates on the FCO website; find out who the British Ambassador is (such as an email or social media profile) in case of emergencies or for latest updates; and once you’ve booked, browse the best coronavirus travel insurance deals – it’s more important now than ever before, so make sure to look into this.
Take the time to research the social or cultural rules of the place you’re visiting and any safety measures you might need to take into account, such as wearing a face mask, self-isolation periods or any social distancing guidelines. Make sure your passport, insurance and EHIC card are all valid, and print off any copies of anything else. You can store them in a plastic wallet or save the PDFs on your phone.
The holiday butterflies used to start when you got your foreign currency, but many places now prefer contactless payments, so it might be worth using a prepaid cash card (a card you load up with money before your trip: Sainsbury’s Multi-Currency Cash Passport is a good option) or a card with minimal/zero transaction fees, like Monzo.
Remember that you are now a guest in another country, so act accordingly. If your research has told you that you’ll need to wear a mask, disinfect at certain points or respect social distancing regulations, do exactly that. You can visit a tourist information centre for their on-the-ground advice, but generally try to observe what others around you are doing.
When using public transport, it’s important to keep commuters in mind and try to travel during off-peak times, especially if you’re in a capital city. There’s nothing fun about being packed like a sardine on a busy bus at the best of times, let alone when everyone’s health is concerned. You could take this opportunity to opt for alternative walking routes or hire a bike to get around - not only does this allow you to embrace slow travel, but it finally gives you a valid reason for getting lost in your holiday destination.
Make restaurant bookings in advance, and skip the queue, and be more cautious when it comes to physically interacting with others (e.g.shaking hands).
It’s also worth finding out where your nearest pharmacy and supermarket/corner shop is, for any items you might need or for anything you forgot to pack.
Whether you usually pack lightly or bulk out the hold luggage, your packing list is going to change. Embrace it! It’s better to be safe than sorry – it might even be the difference between enjoying your trip and causing unnecessary panic. Here, we share what might you need to pack.
Suitable for carry-on and hold luggage:
Create your own mini first-aid travel kit:
These items can be packed on whatever type of trip for any length of time. If you’re travelling with hold luggage, then make the most of this extra room and prioritise function over style: you might want to try rolling your clothes to make space for other, important items. Meanwhile, if you’re only travelling with hand luggage, not only does this create a bit more room for everyone but it means you can be a bit more creative with your packing, too. Adopt the roll format but also opt for bars instead of liquids, and prioritise medicines and first-aid kit supplements as must-packs - you can always buy other non-essentials while you’re out there, if need be.