The age of COVID has changed nearly every aspect of life, including how we pack for a trip. Among some things to keep in mind is a selfie stick for snapping photos, since strangers may hesitate to offer a helping hand. (Metro Creative Connection)
If you and your family plan to travel soon, you may want to review your traditional packing list. Whether you will venture by car, plane or train the rules of the road have changed. Here are five ideas to consider.
1. The new essentials
Of course, you’ll want to make sure everyone has their own supply of properly fitting masks. Most airlines require them so be sure to discuss this important detail with the kids if you plan to fly. Pack sanitizing wipes for use on the plane and to give the high-touch areas of your hotel room a once over. Gloves and extra hand sanitizer are useful for pumping gas. Consider bringing your own supply of pens for those moments when you might have to sign a credit card receipt, a rental car contract or for making your own lists. And, don’t forget to sanitize after use.
2. Water bottles for all
You may find that drinking fountains have been closed in parks, restaurants and other public places. And, if a fountain is available, you may not be comfortable with cleanliness levels. Consider bringing your own larger bottles of water from which you can refill smaller bottles. Then resupply in your hotel room or other trusted location. Buying new bottles may be the most convenient option. It may not be the most eco-friendly solution, but better safe than sorry.
3. Bring a healthy snack supply
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention and other health officials continue to recommend that we avoid indoor or enclosed spaces for extended periods of time. Dining options may be limited or closed along your travel path. If possible, bring a cooler or backpack with as many healthy snacks as possible to avoid hungry (and cranky) travelers and the possibility of being forced into dining choices that are less than optimal.
4. Bathroom supplies
Finding easily accessible and pristine restrooms, including those with changing stations, may be a challenge. Many establishments have closed their restrooms to the public, given their own concerns about safe protocols. Consider stowing a supply of toilet paper and other personal supplies, including hand sanitizer, to take the stress out of finding a suitable bathroom stop.
5. Make the most of technology
Many hotels now provide contactless check-in, allowing guests to register in advance to avoid passing credit cards back and forth, signing documents and to minimize time in the lobby. Go online to access boarding passes, to order carry-out food and to reserve your space in line for any outing (think museums, some theme parks and golf tee times) that requires a guaranteed reservation. Of course, you’ll still want to capture your vacation memories on video or in still images. But it’s no longer advisable to ask a stranger to snap a family picture. You’ll have to take turns or bring along a selfie stick to ensure that the precious moments are preserved.
Lynn O’Rourke Hayes ( www.LOHayes.com ) is an author, family travel expert and enthusiastic explorer. Gather more travel intel on Twitter lohayes, Facebook, or via FamilyTravel.com.